Vegetable Growing Guide

How to Grow Vegetables

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Different vegetables require different conditions to thrive. Plan your garden accordingly with our guidelines below for growing vegetables.

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Vegetables Growing Guide

Note: Each of the vegetables listed below links to a free planting and growing guide!

Vegetable Start Seeds Indoors (weeks before last spring frost) Start Seeds Outdoors (weeks before or after last spring frost) Minimum Soil Temp. to Germinate (°F) Cold Hardiness When to Fertilize When to Water
Beans Anytime after 48–50 Tender After heavy bloom and set of pods Regularly, from start of pod to set
Beets 3 before to 3 after 39–41 Half-hardy At time of planting Only during drought conditions
Broccoli 6–8 2–3 before 55–75 Hardy Three weeks after transplanting Only during drought conditions
Brussels sprouts 6–8 55–75 Hardy Three weeks after transplanting At transplanting
Cabbage 6–8 1 before to 1 after 38–40 Hardy Three weeks after transplanting Two to three weeks before harvest
Carrots 3–5 before 39–41 Half-hardy Preferably in the fall for the following spring Only during drought conditions
Cauliflower 6–8 1 before to 1after 65–75 Half-hardy Three weeks after transplanting Once, three weeks before harvest
Celery 6–8 60–70 Tender At time of transplanting Once a week
Corn 2 after 46–50 Tender When eight to ten inches tall, and again when first silk appears When tassels appear and cobs start to swell
Cucumbers 2–4 1–2 after 65–70 Very tender One week after bloom, and again three weeks later Frequently, especially when fruits form
Lettuce 4–6 1 before to 2 after 40–75 Half-hardy Two to three weeks after transplanting Once a week
Melons 2–4 2 after 55–60 Very tender One week after bloom, and again three weeks later Once a week
Onion sets 4 before 34–36 Hardy When bulbs begin to swell, and again when plants are one foot tall Only during drought conditions
Parsnips 0–3 before 55–70 Hardy One year before planting Only during drought conditions
Peas 4–6 before 34–36 Hardy After heavy bloom and set of pods Regularly, from start of pod to set
Peppers 8–10 70–80 Very tender After first fruit-set Once a week
Potato tubers 0–2 after 55–70 Half-hardy At bloom time or time of second hilling Regularly, when tubers start to form
Pumpkins 2–4 1 after 55–60 Tender Just before vines start to run, when plants are about one foot tall Only during drought conditions
Radishes 1 before to 1 after 39–41 Hardy Before spring planting Once a week
Spinach 4–6 before 55–65 Hardy When plants are one-third grown Once a week
Squash, summer 2–4 1 after 55–60 Very tender Just before vines start to run, when plants are about one foot tall Only during drought conditions
Squash, winter 2–4 1 after 55–60 Tender Just before vines start to run, when plants are about one foot tall Only during drought conditions
Tomatoes 6–8 50–55 Tender Two weeks before, and after first picking Twice a week


Reader Comments

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Vegetables for highland (3000 m above sea)

Dear Sirs,

We are an NGO trying to help poor farmers grow vegetables at high altitude in Ethiopia. WE are to use solar pumps to get water and irrigate the peasant fields (2-5) at different places.

We need high valued vegetables,
We need cold resisting plants
We need short sprouting days.

Please suggest the vegetables and the possible yields/ha.

Any other advice?


When which months to plant Tamotos, Brocoli,Spinich

Stay in die western cape. but my garden are covered with shade net
please help me this is the first time ever I started with a garden a pensioner now
Thank you


I live in WV when can I start planting

Last Spring freeze

Approx. when is the last Spring d=freeze for tomatoes? Also, when I have tomatoes growing, they have been getting rotten on the bottoms of the fruit. I cover the dirt with plastic, but I still get it! Any tips?

Sounds like "blossom end rot"

Sounds like "blossom end rot" i believe it is a calcium deficiency can be fixed with fertilizer
just give it a google.

I don't know the date

PLZ put the date

Can you advise me on what

Can you advise me on what kind of mulch works best in a vegetable garden? The nurseries seem to only have wood and I have read that wood is not the best to use.

Hi, J: The problem with bark

Hi, J: The problem with bark mulch in growing beds is that it takes a long time to decompose and thus interferes with following plantings. Most people use black plastic (provided it won't make things too hot), newspaper, straw, or untreated grass clippings. Good luck!

my grandmother plants by the

my grandmother plants by the signs,cant find where they are right now. I need help please?

On our Web site, we have

On our Web site, we have astrological best days timetable which includes planting dates. Click here:

I started most of my seeds

I started most of my seeds indoors in the little brown cardboard cups that deteriate in the ground a couple of weeks ago with seed starting mix. and they were growing great inside. I made (2) 4x4 garden beds and filled with them mushroom soil and after the weather was done with frost, I brought the plants outside and stuck them right in the mushroom soil. I water them the way their suppose to but it seems like they started fading and dying since outside??? Any idea or tips on how to bring them back to life or revive them. Did I do something wrong. Instructions on seed packets are never thorough enough. Hope to hear back.

Hi Nick, First -be sure you

Hi Nick,

First -be sure you are planting the right seeds for the season- warm season plants vs cool season plants. Here in sunny CA most of our seed packets are offered year round, which makes for a lot of confusion as to what to plant when.

Second- there are some seeds that need to be planted directly into the soil..the transplanted seedlings just don't do well. Recheck the seed packets description.. those that say> plant directly into the soil after last frost, are most often the ones that don't like being sprouted then transplanted.

Third- you need to "harden off" your seedlings before they go into the garden. Meaning, move the sprouts in their flats outside in mostly shade for a couple of days, then move them into a bit longer time in sun after a couple of days and then move them into more sun etc. Make sure you protect them from the pests and birds -just as you do in the garden, after a week or so you can start to transplant.

transplanting plants started in peat pots and not thriving

I find those pots don't decompose properly if the top rim is exposed to the air. It seems to act as a wick, effectively drying out your seedlings. Also, the roots can't always escape so I pull loose the bottom of the pot before planting to give free reign to the nutrient-seeking roots. Hope this helps.

know which season best

know which season best vegetable yeild

IM growing plants from seed

IM growing plants from seed its been 32 weeks now. Have about 2oo plants and only a third have starting growing. Room temperature is about 50 degrees and its near a window. Any thoughts to get them to move along quicker.?? Thanks

Hi, Brian, There are many

Hi, Brian, There are many reasons why seeds do not germinate: too much or too little moisture, too high or too low temperature, oxygen (for example, too much water can hamper the amount of oxygen available), light (some plants like a lot and some like less; the amound of light a seed gets be affected by the depth at which it is planted); the medium into which a seed is planted. Different seeds may have slightly, or greatly varying, needs of all of these conditions. And, most seed suppliers know that very few varieties have 100% germination; that's why you get lots of seeds in packets. Some of your best guidance is on the seed packet.
All we can suggest is that you review/reconsider the needs of the specific varieties and see if you can better fulfill their needs.

hello, what can i do to my

hello, what can i do to my garden patch to make the soil more healthy so my veggies grow? i think the ground on my whole property is really bad, it wont even grow grass very well. but this yr. i would really like to grow a garden if possible. can u tell me what i can do without buying a bunch of exspensive stuff? thank you

You could try making ‘lasagna

You could try making ‘lasagna beds’, also known as sheet composting. Basically you add compostable materials like the layers in a lasagna—it takes a little while to work, but it is effective and you don’t need to make or buy sides for the bed (unless you want to). This article explains more:

St. Louis city has an area

St. Louis city has an area where they grind and compost all the collected leaf & lawn waste and the give it away for load your own gardeners. See if you have something like that close to you. Check craigslist for stables or chicken/rabbit owners who give away free manure...often city parks do this also if you have any mounted ( horse) policemen. I mix all the above with my soil in raised beds and add some each fall/winter to prepare my beds for the next year, with great results. Good luck!

what month do I start getting

what month do I start getting the ground ready for winter garden? " I am the registered user."

Before the ground gets too

Before the ground gets too hard, you'll want to remove any old plant debris and weeds to avoid overwintering insects. See our article on putting the garden to bed here:

I want to plant cabbage and

I want to plant cabbage and tomatoes

We moved our garden to a new

We moved our garden to a new spot for more room, our new garden plot has a slight incline & the top seems to stay drier. I thought we could plant according to the grade. Vegetables that are dry tolerant to the higher/drier end etc. Just wondering if someone could help me with that layout? Is there a rule of thumb to that planting layout? Ready to garden if it would quit snowing!

I too have that problem. My

I too have that problem. My garden is 120'x250' with a slight incline. I box bladed the low area to give me a water run off. Also, if you build your rows up with a row hipper, or disc row builder, any rain will run off between your rows. This will help keep your plants dry during heavy rain.

Some herbs such as rosemary

Some herbs such as rosemary or thyme will do well in a dry spot, and root crops such as carrots and beetroot will often cope with drier soil (for short periods, at least). If the soil is very dry, however, you may find installing irrigation easier to enable you to rotate annual crops in that part of your garden.

I planted three tomato plants

I planted three tomato plants last year 2013. I just let them run on the ground. They didn't do very good until Aug/Sept then we had so many tomato's that in Nov I pick all the green tomato's and pulled up my plants that were 5 and 6 feet long. I plan on doing the same this year.

Hello, Can anyone advise me

Hello, Can anyone advise me on the specific weather/climatic conditions required to grow Rocket Leaves/Arugula? I live in India and it is not very commonly available in the state I live. Would really appreciate the help. Thanks

we let our broccoli plants

we let our broccoli plants flower out and are now seeing green seed pods.we have never started our broccoli from seed we just get plants at the nursery in the spring when we plant our garden. we would love to save and just start them ourselves. When do we pick them for use next season? and how?

You can save broccoli seeds

You can save broccoli seeds though the seed takes a long time to mature. Let the pods dry and go brown. This can take a couple of months.
Once brown, crack them open and you'll see dark brown dots. Those are the seeds. Store in a cool, dry place until planting time. You can tie a paper bag over the pods so that the day that the dry pods shatter, you don't lose he seeds. Also, keep in mind that broccoli will cross with all members of Brassica oleracea so you want some distance between the plants for pure seed!

Last year my tomatoes were

Last year my tomatoes were great for the first third of the harvest. Then they started to have holes in them. Not tiny holes but holes big enough to see easily. Some even finger size. Since I did not know what was making the holes or why I threw them away. It happened to every tomato that I grew unless I picked then when they were so green that they were not very good. This was my first garden so unsure of what happened. Also my peppers never grew at all. Any thoughts?

We have all probably had this

We have all probably had this happen: something is eating your tomatoes. Tomato horn worms can devastate a crop. Tomato fruit worms can (also) bring you to tears. (These go by several names: tobacco bud, corn ear-, and cotton boll worm.) And those are just a couple possible pests.
Treatments get mixed reviews; some sources recommend insecticides with BT.
Peppers may be a different story, or not. This additional outcome--on plants that are generally considered companions to tomatoes--makes us think that you should check your soil's pH and quality/amount of compost.
Then again, the problem might have originated with the plants. The tomatoes could have carried worm eggs. The peppers may have been weak. Or planted too soon in season.
There are lots of factors that might contribute. Gardening is somewhat of an experiment. Keep at it.

From the information that you

From the information that you provided you may have "stink bugs" also known as "shield bugs". They break the skin of a tomato while it is green by sticking a tube from it's mouth into it. They will secrete a fluid from their organs into the tomato turning the flesh into a liquid that they will feed on. Try "Neem Oil" to spray on the plants and tomatoes. Neem Oil is organic and non-toxic to humans and pets.

I think you might have horn

I think you might have horn worms on your tomatoes plants. You have be able to see these worm. they are large and green in color. Just pick them off and squish them.

We're planning our first

We're planning our first veggie garden in over thirty years! I'm at a loss to know the number of plants or rows to provide for seasonal eating as well as canning and freezing for a family of six adults. We have limited space so figuring the size of the garden will be important. In consideration for the garden: tomatoes,green beans,sweet peas,summer squash,bell and hot peppers,pickling cukes,okra,sweet corn,leaf lettuce and radishes.Can you suggest a scource for this information?

Hi, Merimags, This free

Hi, Merimags,
This free Almanac Garden Planner might be really useful for you:
Also, did you check out the main Gardening Page? Right at the top, there's a beginner's gardening plot plan that might be helpful.

I have long white radishes

I have long white radishes that are putting on flowers. Do I pinch them off so the fruit grows bigger.

If your radishes have

If your radishes have flowers, they may need to be pulled out. The usual cause is cold temperatures that move them into their reproductive cycle.

I have a problem with my

I have a problem with my roses. Some of the branches look deformed. On more than 1 bush. But not all brances have done this.Anyone know what the cause is? Thanks.

It’s important to remove the

It’s important to remove the deformed branches. Here are some pruning guidelines for healthy rose plants.
Remove all dead wood and wood that is diseased, broken or injured. Also remove any basal shoots and branches that cross through the center of the plant or rub on other branches.
Prune to provide good air movement through the plant. Make the cuts above a strong bud that faces the outside of the plant using sharp pruning shears or knives.
See our Roses page for plant care:

I have been searching for the

I have been searching for the instructions for planting some vegetables that I could be harvest on my garden and I have got it. This Growing Vegetables table or sheet has included useful elements very wisely because here I have found various kinds of vegetables, its suite conditions & and useful information to harvest it with systemically. Actually I loved Cauliflower and I'm too much interested to plant it on my garden, also Celery and Tomatoes too. Last time I had try to plant Cauliflower, but it didn't harvest properly and all my Cauliflower became brown and wasted. All my hard works are had been become worse. Even now, I would be fertilizing Cauliflower properly with the help of this information.

My brussels sprouts are

My brussels sprouts are starting to develop and I plan fall harvest. Someone told me I should remove the leaves so that the sprouts get more nutrirnts. Is this true?

my tomatoes are wilting and i

my tomatoes are wilting and i dont know why,can you help me

Try watering every

Try watering every morning-early b-4 heat starts or in the early evening. In extreme heat I do both when possible.

Peidmont of NC

Peidmont of NC

I never water in the

I never water in the evenings, I've read it welcomes fungus.

I just planted my tomato

I just planted my tomato plants outside on 5/30. They are staked, mulched, and have been watered at the roots 3 times. They looked great when I put them out, then wilted a bit the first day or so. Now they seem to have some new growth, but also have leaves that are light green with white splotches. What might be going on? Too much/too little water? Not hardened off enough? Please help, I'm a bit worried...

It sounds like your plants

It sounds like your plants have a bacterial disease that is causing the wilting. Often times this is due to over watering, but the disease also could have started in the seed. Unfortunately, you may have lost your plants for the season. Consult your local Cooperative Extension to get their opinion, they are the experts in your Zone, and may know if other plants have been affected in your area. Next year, practice crop rotation, and do not plant in the same spot. Good Luck!

Good suggestions.

Good suggestions.

You said they were

You said they were mulched.What were they mulched with? If it is a heavy mulch such as bark or garden rock you will need to water for a longer period of time to get water into the roots of the plant.
The"splotches",you could try a spray mist or wash of 1 teaspoon dishsoap in a gallon of water and spray for bugs,slugs,cutworms-those green catipillars.

Last year I planted 6

Last year I planted 6 tomatoes and the plants did great . they grew higher then my head. However, they had very few tomatoes on them and the ones they had were very small. I have raised a few tomatoes every year since I can remember and never has this happened before. Any help or clues as to what I did wrong will be most helpful this year??? Thank-you

Hi Pinky, Try regulating the

Hi Pinky, Try regulating the amount of fertilizer you use, or change the make-up. Too much nitrogen causes excessive foliage but little fruit. Also--it may just be the variety you are growing that produces small tomatoes. Talk with someone at your local nursery to get the variety you want. See our tomatoes page here for more tips and advice:

Sometimes "Leaf Curl" disease

Sometimes "Leaf Curl" disease will stunt the growth of your tomatoes. It will invade eggplant, cucumbers, almost any fruit-bearing vine. It is a monster. Before planting may I suggest you "study" the plant, the threats (insects and pests) and decide what type of control you will use? It beats being so very disappointed. This has happened to me a few times.
Read: and also about pesticides. Take a deep breath and prepare for next season. One good thing is that you planted them "well" since they grew so tall! Best wishes!

Lime soil before planting and

Lime soil before planting and add 1 tablespoon of epsom salts per plant location to add yield. It works great for me here in the Florida panhandle. Epsom salt is a plant nutrient. When the tomato blooms open, spray them with bloom set to allow more pollination time.

Try adding phosphorus and

Try adding phosphorus and less nitrogen to the soil. I added it last year to my flowering plants and I had the best yield I have ever had. I read that the phosphorus strengthens the blooms. A seasoned farmer friend call phosphorus the "mother's milk" of gardening.

It says to water tomatoes

It says to water tomatoes twice a week and I heard that they need 2 inches a week. If using a regular spraying hose how do you know when it is enough?

You should water your tomato

You should water your tomato plants 2 to 3 times a week, giving them about a gallon's worth of water each time. You can save an empty milk gallon and fill that each time you need to water your tomatoes so you know you're giving them the right amount.

I am told if you sprinkle a

I am told if you sprinkle a little sulphur at the base of the Tomatoes it will help the blight

My daughter (4 yrs.) and I

My daughter (4 yrs.) and I sowed seeds a couple of weeks ago and obliously went overboard. We have hundreds of sprouts coming up in every foot of each row. When and to what extent do I thin these for, turnips, radishes, turnip greens, chard, carrots, spinach? Everything else we used starters so it is not a problem. Please help, everything looks happy and I do not want to overdo it or do it to soon. (Louisiana)

I never thin my turnips,

I never thin my turnips, chard or spinach. let them grow and the healthy ones will overtake the weaker. If you decide to thin, use something to cut the seedlings and not pull them out as this may damage the roots of the ones you want to keep. The carrots need to be about 3" apart, spinach needs to be about 4" apart, Turnips 3", chard 4". I eat only the greens not the turnips.

Bell Pepper question: The

Bell Pepper question:
The fall cold mornings are settiing in, 40F and below. I have a great crop of bell peppers, but they are not quite ready to pick... maybe another 10 days. Should I pick or leave them out there?

Could have a blight

Could have a blight

I have used compost in my

I have used compost in my soil used water twice a week. My tomatoes are turning brown. I never scene nothimg like it before.

They most likely have a

They most likely have a fungus. Buy some fungicide made for veggies and follow the directions. The same thing happen my tomatoes and as long as I sprayed once weekly it was kept under control. Hope this helps.

What kind of compost did you

What kind of compost did you use and how much? Certain compost must be used sparingly and some must be used heavily. Depending on what you used it could have been to much.

Could be sunscald or any

Could be sunscald or any number of bacterial or fungal blights. Try