When Is the Best Time for Starting a Vegetable Garden?

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The best time for starting a vegetable garden from seeds is at least two months before you plan to transplant plants to the outdoors, or set them out in containers. It’s easy to start many vegetables in your apartment, but some vegetables take a shorter time to grow, and you can plant those outside from the start.

When to Plant Outdoors

When to plant outdoors will depend on the vegetable. Some vegetables thrive in cold weather, like spinach or broccoli. Others need average daily hot temperatures, like tomatoes. Make a list of all the vegetables you want to grow, and write down the month you need to plant them in. The easiest way to make your list is to contact your local Cooperative Extension Office. They will have a list of common vegetables grown in your area, the start planting date and harvest date, and they can mail it to you. These recommendations are proven, and you should follow them when starting your vegetable garden. However, if you have a later frost date than usual, or if something else doesn’t go according to plan, you will have to make changes.

Germinating Seeds Indoors

Seeds will germinate at the temperatures you set in your apartment. All you need is soil and compost, and seed germination will happen in small containers. Start seed germination at least two months before you plan to transplant your plants outdoors. You’ll save money when starting a vegetable garden if you can grow plants from seeds, instead of buying them from a nursery or garden center.

When to Plan Your Vegetable Garden

You need enough time to plan and get the seeds and other supplies you need for starting your vegetable garden. Write your plan at least five months before you plant your first vegetables outdoors, so that you have enough time to order what you need. You cannot find some seeds locally, so you’ll need to allow time to place your order, and for it to be shipped to you. That doesn’t mean that you should give up on starting once the major growing season is about to get under way. You may have to buy transplants instead of seeds for certain vegetables, but you should still try to grow vegetables if at all possible.

Plant When Its Sunny

Some of your vegetable plants need at least six hours of sunlight per day to grow. Seeds also need sunlight to germinate well. If you’re starting a vegetable garden from seed, plan a start date when you’ll get more sunshine throughout the day. For example, if you live in Alaska where it’s dark most of the day during the winter months, you’ll face an uphill challenge when starting a vegetable garden.

Keep a journal of everything that happens when starting your vegetable garden, so that you can learn from any mistakes next year. Much of gardening is trial and error, and recording your progress will help you improve your gardening skills.

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