Planting Calendar for Red Lodge, MT

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 Spring

On average, your last spring frost occurs on June 9 (at RED LODGE, MT climate station).
Crop Based on Frost Dates   Based on Moon Dates
Start Seeds IndoorsPlant Seedlings
or Transplants
Start Seeds Outdoors
Thyme Mar 31-Apr 28
Apr 11-26
Jun 9-30
Jun 10-24
N/A
Rosemary Mar 31-Apr 14
Apr 11-14
Jun 16-Jul 7
Jun 16-24
N/A
Celery Mar 31-Apr 14
Apr 11-14
Jun 16-30
Jun 16-24
N/A
Eggplants Mar 31-Apr 14
Apr 11-14
Jun 23-Jul 7
Jun 23-24
N/A
Bell Peppers Mar 31-Apr 14
Apr 11-14
Jun 16-30
Jun 16-24
N/A
Oregano Mar 31-Apr 28
Apr 11-26
Jun 9-30
Jun 10-24
N/A
Sage Apr 14-28
Apr 14-26
Jun 9-23
Jun 10-23
N/A
Kale Apr 14-28
Apr 14-26
May 12-Jun 2
May 12-26
N/A
RadishesN/AN/A Apr 14-May 5
Apr 27-May 5
Cauliflower Apr 14-28
Apr 14-26
May 12-Jun 2
May 12-26
N/A
Tomatoes Apr 14-28
Apr 14-26
Jun 16-Jul 7
Jun 16-24
N/A
Basil Apr 14-28
Apr 14-26
Jun 9-30
Jun 10-24
N/A
Broccoli Apr 14-28
Apr 14-26
May 12-Jun 2
May 12-26
N/A
Cabbage Apr 14-28
Apr 14-26
May 12-26
May 12-26
N/A
Kohlrabi Apr 28-May 12
May 11-12
May 19-26
May 19-26
N/A
Swiss Chard Apr 28-May 12
May 11-12
May 19-26
May 19-26
N/A
SpinachN/AN/A Apr 28-May 19
May 11-19
PeasN/AN/A Apr 28-May 19
May 11-19
Lettuce Apr 28-May 12
May 11-12
May 26-Jun 23
May 26, Jun 10-23
N/A
CarrotsN/AN/A May 5-19
May 5-10
DillN/AN/A May 5-19
May 11-19
Sweet Potatoes May 12-19
Jun 23-Jul 7
Jun 25-Jul 7
N/A
Cantaloupes May 12-19
May 12-19
Jun 23-Jul 7
Jun 23-24
N/A
TurnipsN/AN/A May 12-Jun 2
May 27-Jun 2
Zucchini May 12-26
May 12-26
Jun 23-Jul 7
Jun 23-24
N/A
Watermelons May 12-19
May 12-19
Jun 23-Jul 7
Jun 23-24
N/A
ChivesN/AN/A May 12-19
May 12-19
Cucumbers May 12-19
May 12-19
Jun 23-Jul 7
Jun 23-24
N/A
ParsleyN/AN/A May 12-26
May 12-26
OnionsN/AN/A May 12-Jun 2
May 27-Jun 2
Pumpkins May 19-Jun 2
May 19-26
Jun 23-Jul 7
Jun 23-24
N/A
ParsnipsN/AN/A May 19-Jun 9
May 27-Jun 9
ArugulaN/AN/A May 26-Jun 9
May 26
BeetsN/AN/A May 26-Jun 16
May 27-Jun 9
PotatoesN/AN/A Jun 2-23
Jun 2- 9
Cilantro (Coriander)N/AN/A Jun 9-23
Jun 10-23
CornN/AN/A Jun 9-23
Jun 10-23
Green BeansN/AN/A Jun 16-Jul 7
Jun 16-24
OkraN/AN/A Jun 23-Jul 7
Jun 23-24

Planting Dates for Fall

On average, your first fall frost occurs on September 9 (at RED LODGE, MT climate station).
Crop Based on Frost Dates
Start Seeds Indoors by...Plant Seedlings Outdoors by...Start Seeds Outdoors by...
Celery Mar 18 June 30N/A
Eggplants Mar 27 July 7N/A
Bell Peppers Mar 27 June 30N/A
Tomatoes Apr 1 July 7N/A
Cauliflower May 29 Jun 26N/A
RadishesN/AN/A Aug 5
Kale Jun 18 Jul 16N/A
Cabbage May 19 Jun 16N/A
Broccoli May 29 Jun 26N/A
Swiss ChardN/AN/A Jul 31
LettuceN/AN/A Jul 31
SpinachN/AN/A Aug 15
PeasN/AN/A Jul 6
KohlrabiN/AN/A Jul 21
CarrotsN/AN/A Jul 21
TurnipsN/AN/A Jul 31
CantaloupesN/AN/A July 7
ZucchiniN/AN/A July 7
CucumbersN/AN/A July 7
WatermelonsN/AN/A July 7
ParsnipsN/AN/A June 9
PumpkinsN/AN/A July 7
ArugulaN/AN/A Aug 5
BeetsN/AN/A Jul 26
PotatoesN/AN/A Jun 26
CornN/AN/A June 23
Green BeansN/AN/A July 7
OkraN/AN/A July 7

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 nearest weather station 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 planting 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?

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 young, tender plants 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 that can be started indoors, seeds should be started 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

Which Seeds Should Be Started Indoors?

Not all vegetables should be started indoors! In fact, most are better off being started directly in the garden (aka "direct-sown"). The crops that should be started indoors are those that are particularly susceptible to cold temperatures or that have a very long growing season and need a head start. These include tender vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant, as well as crops with a long growing season, like broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. 

Most other crops do best when sown directly into the garden soil. Root crops, including carrots, radishes, and beets, are especially well-suited to being started directly in the garden, since they do not like having their roots disturbed after planting. The same is true for squash and watermelon, though care must be taken to plant them when the soil is warm enough. Read more about direct-sowing seeds 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.