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Planting Calendar for Iowa City, IA | Almanac.com

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Planting Calendar for Iowa City, IA

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The planting calendar below tells you when to plant in the SPRING and also plant in the FALL, based on your zip code or postal code.

Fall Planting Calendar

When we say "fall," we really mean planting in summer in time for a fall harvest. Think of this as a second summer! It's easy to keep the crops going if you're already prepared the soil! 

Many crops that would be started indoors for a spring crop can just be plunked into the soil directly for a fall crop. Not only is the soil already warm but also there are less pests and it tends to be rainier so you don't need to water as often. Some fall vegetables need to be harvested by the first frost but also many are frost-tolerant—and even taste better after a kiss of fall frost!

See each plant's individual Growing Guide for more specific planting, plant care, and harvesting information.

Spring Planting Calendar

Our spring planting calendar starts with the very first dates that you can plant (based on the last spring frost). But if you've missed these dates, no worries! This is why we've added "last planting dates" to our spring calendar; this is meant to help new gardeners understand that if they missed the first spring planting window, they can still get crops in the ground.

In fact, many crops with short maturity times (such as radishes) can be succession planted all the way through the summer in northern areas. However, note that some cool-seasons crops such as kale and lettuce do not grow well in hot tempertures, which can cause bolting issues.  For some gardeners, especially in the South, a break to avoid summer heat is needed, but they can start once the heat has passed. 

The dates provided are based on the number of weeks before or after frost, so we can provide a unique calendar to every user in the country. Thus several crops (especially similar crops) may appear to have the same date. Kale and lettuce, for example, or dates for starting seeds, like broccoli and cabbage. 

Specifically, on the charts, there are different columns labeled as follows:

  1. Start Seeds Indoors: When to sow seeds indoors to get an early start on the season.
  2. Plant Seedlings Outdoors: When to put small seedlings that you grew indoors (OR starter plants that you bought at a garden nursery) in the outdoor soil.
  3. Start Seeds Outdoors: When to plant seeds directly into the outdoor soil.
  4. Last Date to Plant: You may plant any time from the "start seeds" dates until this "last date." Don't wait any longer, or the crop won't have time to get to harvest before fall/winter frosts.

The "Moon Dates" indicate the best planting dates based on Moon phases. You can learn more about this age-old technique below.

When N/A appears in the chart, that starting method is typically not recommended, although it is likely still possible. 

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Planting Dates for Fall

On average, your first fall frost occurs on October 13 (at IOWA CITY MUNI AP, IA climate station).
CropFrost Based on Frost Dates
Moon Based on Moon Dates
Start Seeds OutdoorsTransplantAverage Days to MaturityFrost Tolerance
ArugulaFrost Aug 25-Sep 29
Moon Aug 25-30, Sep 14-29
N/A40Frost-hardy
BeetsFrost Jul 21-Aug 18
Moon Aug 2-15
N/A50Frost-tolerant
Bok ChoyFrost Aug 4-25
Moon Aug 16-25
N/A50Frost-tolerant
BroccoliFrost Jul 14-21
Moon Jul 17-21
Frost Aug 4-18
Moon Aug 16-18
60Frost-tolerant
CabbageFrost Jul 14-21
Moon Jul 17-21
Frost Aug 4-11
90Frost-tolerant
CarrotsFrost Jul 28-Aug 4
Moon Aug 2- 4
N/A70Frost-tolerant
CauliflowerFrost Jul 7-14
Frost Jul 21-28
Moon Jul 21-28
75Frost-tolerant
ChivesFrost Jul 21-Aug 18
Moon Jul 21-Aug 1, Aug 16-18
N/A70Frost-tolerant
GarlicFrost Oct 27-Nov 9
Moon Oct 29-Nov 9
N/A120Frost-hardy
Green BeansFrost Jul 28-Aug 11
Moon Jul 28-Aug 1
N/A55Tender
KaleFrost Aug 4-18
Moon Aug 16-18
N/A60Frost-hardy
KohlrabiFrost Aug 11-Sep 1
Moon Aug 16-30
N/A45Frost-tolerant
LettuceFrost Aug 4-18
Moon Aug 16-18
N/A60Frost-tolerant
PeasFrost Aug 4-18
Moon Aug 16-18
N/A55Tender
RadishesFrost Sep 1-15
Moon Sep 1-13
N/A25Frost-tolerant
SpinachFrost Aug 25-Sep 15
Moon Aug 25-30, Sep 14-15
N/A30Frost-hardy
Swiss ChardFrost Aug 4-18
Moon Aug 16-18
N/A60Frost-tolerant
TurnipsFrost Aug 11-25
Moon Aug 11-15
N/A50Frost-tolerant

Planting Dates for Spring

On average, your last spring frost occurs on April 28 (at IOWA CITY MUNI AP, IA climate station, elevation 649 feet).
CropFrost Based on Frost Dates
Moon Based on Moon Dates
Start Seeds IndoorsPlant Seedlings
or Transplants
Start Seeds OutdoorsLast Date to Plant
ArugulaFrost Mar 2-17
Moon Mar 2- 7
Frost Apr 7-21
Moon Apr 19-21
Frost Mar 31-Apr 7
Moon Mar 31-Apr 5
Sep 15
AsparagusN/AN/AFrost Apr 14-28
Moon Apr 14-18
Apr 28
BasilFrost Mar 17-31
Moon Mar 21-31
Frost May 12-26
Moon May 19-26
Frost May 12-26
Moon May 19-26
Sep 1
BeetsN/AFrost Apr 14-28
Moon Apr 14-18
Frost Mar 31-Apr 7
Moon Apr 6- 7
May 12
Bell PeppersFrost Feb 16-Mar 2
Moon Feb 20-Mar 2
Frost May 12-19
Moon May 19
N/AJul 21
Bok ChoyFrost Mar 17-31
Moon Mar 21-31
Frost May 12-19
Moon May 19
Frost May 12-19
Moon May 19
Jun 9
BroccoliFrost Mar 2-17
Moon Mar 2- 7
Frost Apr 14-28
Moon Apr 19-28
Frost Mar 31-Apr 7
Moon Mar 31-Apr 5
Aug 11
Brussels SproutsFrost Mar 17-31
Moon Mar 21-31
Frost Jan 19-Feb 2
Moon Jan 21-Feb 2
Frost Dec 22-Jan 5
Moon Dec 23-Jan 5
Jul 7
CabbageFrost Mar 2-17
Moon Mar 2- 7
Frost Apr 14-28
Moon Apr 19-28
Frost Mar 31-Apr 7
Moon Mar 31-Apr 5
Jun 30
CantaloupesFrost Apr 7-21
Moon Apr 19-21
Frost Apr 28-May 12
Moon Apr 28-May 5
Frost May 5-12
Moon May 5
Jul 7
CarrotsN/AN/AFrost Mar 31-Apr 14
Moon Apr 6-14
Aug 4
CauliflowerFrost Mar 17-31
Moon Mar 21-31
Frost Apr 21-May 5
Moon Apr 21-May 5
N/AAug 4
CeleryFrost Feb 2-16
Moon Feb 2- 5
Frost May 5-19
Moon May 5
Frost Apr 28
Moon Apr 28
Aug 4
ChivesFrost Mar 2-17
Moon Mar 2- 7
Frost Apr 7-14
Frost Apr 7-14
Aug 18
Cilantro (Coriander)N/AN/AFrost Apr 28-May 12
Moon Apr 28-May 5
May 19
CollardsFrost Mar 17-31
Moon Mar 21-31
Frost Apr 14-28
Moon Apr 19-28
Frost Apr 7-14
Aug 4
CornN/AN/AFrost May 12-26
Moon May 19-26
Jul 28
CucumbersFrost Apr 7-14
Frost May 5-19
Moon May 5
Frost May 12-19
Moon May 19
Aug 4
DillN/AN/AFrost Apr 21-May 12
Moon Apr 21-May 5
Aug 18
EggplantsFrost Mar 2-17
Moon Mar 2- 7
Frost May 12-19
Moon May 19
N/AAug 4
Fava Beans (Broad Beans)N/AN/AFrost Mar 31-Apr 7
Moon Mar 31-Apr 5
May 12
GarlicN/AN/AN/A
Green BeansN/AN/AFrost May 5-26
Moon May 5, May 20-26
Aug 4
Jalapeño PeppersFrost Feb 16-Mar 2
Moon Feb 20-Mar 2
Frost May 12-19
Moon May 19
N/A
KaleFrost Mar 2-17
Moon Mar 2- 7
Frost Apr 14-28
Moon Apr 19-28
Frost Mar 31-Apr 7
Moon Mar 31-Apr 5
May 12
KohlrabiFrost Mar 17-31
Moon Mar 21-31
Frost Apr 7-14
Frost Mar 31-Apr 7
Moon Mar 31-Apr 5
May 12
LettuceFrost Mar 17-31
Moon Mar 21-31
Frost Apr 7-14
Frost Mar 31-Apr 7
Moon Mar 31-Apr 5
May 12
OkraFrost Mar 31-Apr 14
Moon Mar 31-Apr 5
Frost May 12-19
Moon May 19
Frost May 12-26
Moon May 19-26
Aug 4
Onion SetsN/AFrost Mar 31-Apr 14
Moon Apr 6-14
N/AJul 7
OreganoFrost Feb 16-Mar 17
Moon Feb 20-Mar 7
Frost May 5-19
Moon May 5
N/AAug 4
ParsleyFrost Feb 16-Mar 2
Moon Feb 20-Mar 2
Frost May 5-19
Moon May 5
Frost Mar 31-May 5
Moon Mar 31-Apr 5, Apr 19-May 5
Jul 28
ParsnipsN/AN/AFrost Mar 31-Apr 7
Moon Apr 6- 7
Jul 7
PeasN/AN/AFrost Mar 31-Apr 7
Moon Mar 31-Apr 5
May 12
PotatoesN/AN/AFrost Mar 31-Apr 14
Moon Apr 6-14
Aug 4
PumpkinsFrost Apr 7-21
Moon Apr 19-21
Frost May 12-19
Moon May 19
Frost May 12-19
Moon May 19
Jun 30
RadishesN/AN/AFrost Mar 31-Apr 7
Moon Apr 6- 7
Aug 18
RosemaryFrost Feb 2-16
Moon Feb 2- 5
Frost May 12-19
Moon May 19
N/AAug 18
SageFrost Mar 2-17
Moon Mar 2- 7
Frost May 5-19
Moon May 5
N/AJul 28
SpinachFrost Mar 17-31
Moon Mar 21-31
Frost Apr 7-14
Frost Mar 31-Apr 7
Moon Mar 31-Apr 5
May 12
Sweet PotatoesN/AN/AFrost May 12-26
Moon May 12-18
Jun 30
Swiss ChardFrost Mar 17-31
Moon Mar 21-31
Frost Apr 14-28
Moon Apr 19-28
Frost Apr 7-28
Moon Apr 19-28
May 12
ThymeFrost Feb 16-Mar 2
Moon Feb 20-Mar 2
Frost May 5-12
Moon May 5
N/AJul 21
TomatillosFrost Mar 17-31
Moon Mar 21-31
Frost May 12-26
Moon May 19-26
N/AJul 28
TomatoesFrost Mar 2-17
Moon Mar 2- 7
Frost May 12-19
Moon May 19
N/AJul 14
TurnipsN/AN/AFrost Mar 31-Apr 7
Moon Apr 6- 7
Sep 15
WatermelonsFrost Apr 7-21
Moon Apr 19-21
Frost May 12-19
Moon May 19
Frost May 5-12
Moon May 5
Jul 14
Winter SquashFrost Apr 7-14
Frost May 5-19
Moon May 5
Frost May 12-19
Moon May 19
Jun 23
Zucchini and Summer SquashFrost Apr 7-14
Frost May 5-19
Moon May 5
Frost May 12-19
Moon May 19
Aug 11
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