Planting Calendar for Kittery, ME

For the Almanac's fall and spring planting calendars, we've calculated the best time to start seeds indoors, when to transplant young plants outside, and when to direct seed into the ground.

Planting Dates for Fall

On average, your first fall frost occurs on September 30 (at GREENLAND, NH climate station).
Crop Based on Frost Dates
Start Seeds Indoors by...Plant Seedlings Outdoors by...Start Seeds Outdoors by...
BeetsN/AN/A Aug 16
Bell Peppers Apr 17 Jun 12N/A
Broccoli Jun 19 Jul 17N/A
Brussels Sprouts Jun 9 Jul 7N/A
Cabbage Jun 9 Jul 7N/A
CantaloupesN/AN/A June 12
CarrotsN/AN/A Aug 11
Cauliflower Jun 19 Jul 17N/A
Celery Apr 8 Jun 17N/A
CornN/AN/A Jun 22
CucumbersN/AN/A Jun 27
Eggplants Apr 17 Jun 12N/A
Green BeansN/AN/A Jun 27
Kale Jul 9 Aug 6N/A
LettuceN/AN/A Aug 21
OkraN/AN/A Jun 22
ParsnipsN/AN/A Jun 27
PeasN/AN/A Jul 27
PotatoesN/AN/A Jul 17
PumpkinsN/AN/A June 12
RadishesN/AN/A Aug 26
SpinachN/AN/A Sep 5
Summer Squash (Zucchini)N/AN/A Jul 2
Swiss ChardN/AN/A Aug 21
Tomatoes Apr 22 Jun 17N/A
TurnipsN/AN/A Aug 21
WatermelonsN/AN/A June 12

Planting Dates for Spring

On average, your last spring frost occurs on May 15 (at GREENLAND, NH climate station).
Crop Based on Frost Dates   Based on Moon Dates
Start Seeds IndoorsPlant Seedlings
or Transplants
Start Seeds Outdoors
Basil Mar 20-Apr 3
Mar 24-Apr 3
May 15-Jun 5
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
BeetsN/AN/A May 1-22
May 8-21
Bell Peppers Mar 5-20
Mar 5- 9
May 22-Jun 5
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
Broccoli Mar 20-Apr 3
Mar 24-Apr 3
Apr 17-May 8
Apr 22-May 7
N/A
Brussels Sprouts Mar 20-Apr 3
Mar 24-Apr 3
Apr 17-May 1
Apr 22-May 1
N/A
Cabbage Mar 20-Apr 3
Mar 24-Apr 3
Apr 17-May 1
Apr 22-May 1
N/A
Cantaloupes Apr 17-24
Apr 22-24
May 29-Jun 12
May 29-Jun 5
N/A
CarrotsN/AN/A Apr 10-24
Apr 10-21
Cauliflower Mar 20-Apr 3
Mar 24-Apr 3
Apr 17-May 8
Apr 22-May 7
N/A
Celery Mar 5-20
Mar 5- 9
May 22-Jun 5
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
ChivesN/AN/A Apr 17-24
Apr 22-24
Cilantro (Coriander)N/AN/A May 15-29
May 22-29
CornN/AN/A May 15-29
May 22-29
Cucumbers Apr 17-24
Apr 22-24
May 29-Jun 12
May 29-Jun 5
N/A
DillN/AN/A Apr 10-24
Apr 22-24
Eggplants Mar 5-20
Mar 5- 9
May 29-Jun 12
May 29-Jun 5
N/A
Green BeansN/AN/A May 22-Jun 12
May 22-Jun 5
Kale Mar 20-Apr 3
Mar 24-Apr 3
Apr 17-May 8
Apr 22-May 7
N/A
Lettuce Apr 3-17
Apr 3- 7
May 1-29
May 1- 7, May 22-29
N/A
OkraN/AN/A May 29-Jun 12
May 29-Jun 5
OnionsN/AN/A Apr 17-May 8
Apr 17-21, May 8
Oregano Mar 5-Apr 3
Mar 5- 9, Mar 24-Apr 3
May 15-Jun 5
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
ParsleyN/AN/A Apr 17-May 1
Apr 22-May 1
ParsnipsN/AN/A Apr 24-May 15
May 8-15
PeasN/AN/A Apr 3-24
Apr 3- 7, Apr 22-24
PotatoesN/AN/A May 8-29
May 8-21
Pumpkins Apr 24-May 8
Apr 24-May 7
May 29-Jun 12
May 29-Jun 5
N/A
RadishesN/AN/A Mar 20-Apr 10
Mar 20-23, Apr 8-10
Rosemary Mar 5-20
Mar 5- 9
May 22-Jun 12
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
Sage Mar 20-Apr 3
Mar 24-Apr 3
May 15-29
May 22-29
N/A
SpinachN/AN/A Apr 3-24
Apr 3- 7, Apr 22-24
Summer Squash (Zucchini) Apr 17-May 1
Apr 22-May 1
May 29-Jun 12
May 29-Jun 5
N/A
Sweet Potatoes Apr 17-24
Apr 17-21
May 29-Jun 12
Jun 6-12
N/A
Swiss Chard Apr 3-17
Apr 3- 7
Apr 24-May 1
Apr 24-May 1
N/A
Thyme Mar 5-Apr 3
Mar 5- 9, Mar 24-Apr 3
May 15-Jun 5
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
Tomatoes Mar 20-Apr 3
Mar 24-Apr 3
May 22-Jun 12
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
TurnipsN/AN/A Apr 17-May 8
Apr 17-21, May 8
Watermelons Apr 17-24
Apr 22-24
May 29-Jun 12
May 29-Jun 5
N/A

How to Use the Planting Calendar

This planting calendar is a guide that tells you the best time to start planting your garden, based on frost dates. Our planting calendar is customized to your location in order to give you the most accurate information possible. Please note:

  • The Frost Dates indicate the best planting dates based on your local average frost dates. Average frost dates are based on historical weather data and are the planting guideline used by most gardeners. Although frost dates are a good way to know approximately when to start gardening, always check a local forecast before planting outdoors!
  • The Plant Seedlings or Transplants dates indicate the best time to plant young plants outdoors. This includes plants grown from seed indoors at home and small starter plants bought from a nursery.
  • When no dates ("N/A") appear in the chart, that starting method is typically not recommended for that particular plant, although it likely still possible. See each plant's individual Growing Guide for more specific information. 
  • The Moon Dates indicate the best planting dates based on your local frost dates and Moon phases. Planting by the Moon is considered a more traditional technique. We use Moon-favorable dates at the very start of the gardening season. It's a little complex for a fall planting.

To plan your garden more accurately in the future, keep a record of your garden's conditions each year, including frost dates and seed-starting dates!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do You Start Seeds Indoors?

In the spring, starting seeds indoors (in seed trays or starter pots) gives your crops a head start on the growing season, which is especially important in regions with a short growing season. Starting seeds indoors also provides plants with a chance to grow in a stable, controlled environment. Outdoors, the unpredictability of rain, drought, frost, low and high temperatures, sunlight, and pests and diseases can take a toll on young plants, especially when they're just getting started. Indoors, you can control these elements to maximize your plants' early growth and give them the best shot at thriving when they are eventually transplanted outdoors. 

For most crops, you should start seeds indoors about 6-8 weeks before your last spring frost date. This gives the plants plenty of time to grow large and healthy enough to survive their eventual transplanting to the garden.

Read more about starting seeds indoors here

How Is Planting for a Fall Harvest Different? 

Planting in late summer for a fall harvest has many benefits (soil is already warm, temperatures are cooler, fewer pests). However, the challenge is getting your crops harvested before the winter frosts begin. When we calculate fall planting dates (which are really in the summer), we must account for several factors, such as the time to harvest once the crop is mature and whether a crop is tender or hardy when it comes to frost. The "days to maturity" of a crop and the length of your growing season also factor into whether you start seeds early indoors or directly sow seeds into the ground outside. Note:

  • Warm-weather veggies like beans, corn, squashes, pumpkins, cucumbers, cantaloupe, and watermelons are all sown directly into the ground.
  • Tender heat-loving plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants take a long time to mature and have a lengthy harvesting period, so we generally don't plant a second round of these crops for fall, as they won't ripen in time. (In regions with mild winters, this may not be the case.) These crops are typically started indoors early in the season and transplanted.
  • Root vegetables (beets, carrots) do not transplant well, so start seeds directly in the soil outside.
  • Peas are also best seeded into the ground; do not transplant.
  • Cole crops like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage could be direct seeded, but because of the heat of mid- and late summer, it's better to start them indoors and then transplant them into the garden.
  • We tend to direct-sow leafy greens such as lettuce, chard, and spinach, though some gardeners will also sow indoors. It depends on your climate.
  • Note that garlic is not included in our planting chart. It's a popular fall crop, but the dates vary wildly based on location and it's really best to gauge garlic planting dates with a soil thermometer. When the soil temperature is 60°F (15.6°C) at a depth of 4 inches, then plant your garlic. We'd advise checking our Garlic Growing Guide for more information. 

Read more about the "Best Vegetables to Plant in the Fall."

When Should You Transplant Seedlings?

When seedlings have grown too large for their seed trays or starter pots, it's time to transplant. If it's not yet warm enough to plant outdoors, transplant the seedlings to larger plastic or peat pots indoors and continue care. If outdoor conditions allow, start hardening off your seedlings approximately one week before your last frost date, then transplant them into the garden. Get more tips for transplanting seedlings.

What Is Planting by the Moon?

Planting by the Moon (also called "Gardening by the Moon") is a traditional way to plant your above- and below-ground crops, especially at the start of the season. Here's how it works:

  • Plant annual flowers and vegetables that bear crops above ground during the light, or waxing, of the Moon. In other words, plant from the day the Moon is new until the day it is full.
  • Plant flowering bulbs, biennial and perennial flowers, and vegetables that bear crops below ground during the dark, or waning, of the Moon. In other words, plant from the day after the Moon is full until the day before it is new again.

Old-time farmers swear that this practice results in a larger, tastier harvest, so we've included planting by the Moon dates in our planting calendar, too. Learn more about Planting and Gardening by the Moon.