When determining the best planting dates in the spring for seeds, the date of the last spring frost is important to your success. NOTE: Our chart calculates U.S. frost dates only, based on historical data. Other factors can also influence planting dates, including soil temperature, altitude and slope of land, nearby waters, and day length. Keep records of your garden's conditions each year to plan more accurately.
- Seeds for plants with a long growing season should be started indoors during the periods shown below.
- Seeds for plants sown in the ground should be planted during the periods shown.
- When no dates appear in the chart, that starting method is not recommended for the particular vegetable.
- To start transplants, see our Best Dates to Transplant (by region).
Planting by the Moon?
Above-ground crops are planted during the light of the Moon (new to full); below-ground crops are planted during the dark of the Moon (from the day after it is full to the day before it is new again). Planting is done in the daytime; planting at night is optional!
This chart includes the most popular crops. For more information, consult your cooperative extension.
Click on the underlined crops below for free "how to" plant and grow guides!
50% probability of frost free after April 20 (at CHICAGO MIDWAY AP 3 SW, IL climate station).
|Crop||Start Seeds Indoors||Moon-favorable Dates||Start Seeds in the Ground||Moon-favorable Dates|
|Beans||Apr 20-May 4||Apr 29-May 4|
|Beets||Mar 30-May 11||Apr 16-28|
|Broccoli||Feb 22-Mar 8||Mar 1- 8||Mar 30-Apr 6||Mar 30-Apr 6|
|Brussels sprouts||Feb 22-Mar 8||Mar 1- 8|
|Cabbage||Feb 22-Mar 8||Mar 1- 8||Apr 13-27||Apr 13-15|
|Carrots||Mar 16-30||Mar 17-29|
|Cauliflower||Feb 22-Mar 8||Mar 1- 8||Apr 13-27||Apr 13-15|
|Celery||Feb 22-Mar 8||Mar 1- 8|
|Corn||May 4-11||May 4-11|
|Cucumbers||Mar 23-Apr 6||Mar 30-Apr 6||Apr 27-May 4||Apr 29-May 4|
|Lettuce||Mar 8-23||Mar 8-16||Apr 13-May 4||Apr 13-15|
|Melons||Mar 23-Apr 6||Mar 30-Apr 6||May 4-11||May 4-11|
|Onion sets||Mar 23-30||Mar 23-29|
|Parsnips||Mar 30-Apr 20||Apr 16-20|
|Peas||Mar 8-23||Mar 8-16|
|Peppers||Feb 22-Mar 8||Mar 1- 8|
|Potato tubers||Apr 20-May 4||Apr 20-28|
|Pumpkins||Mar 23-Apr 6||Mar 30-Apr 6||Apr 27-May 4||Apr 29-May 4|
|Radishes||Apr 13-27||Apr 16-27|
|Spinach||Mar 8-23||Mar 8-16|
|Squash, summer||Mar 23-Apr 6||Mar 30-Apr 6||Apr 27-May 4||Apr 29-May 4|
|Squash, winter||Mar 23-Apr 6||Mar 30-Apr 6||Apr 27-May 4||Apr 29-May 4|
|Tomatoes||Feb 22-Mar 8||Mar 1- 8|