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Cool-season Vegetables and Warm-season Vegetables: When to Plant?

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Plant cool-season vegetables like spinach and carrots in March-April and/or August-September in central Indiana. However, wait until the risk of frost is over in May before planting warm-season vegetables like tomatoes and peppers.

COOL-SEASON VEGETABLES

Cool-season vegetables grow best in cool weather. They are often planted in spring to mature before the hot weather or in late summer to mature in the cooler fall weather. Planting often occurs in March-April and/or August-September. Cool-season vegetables tolerate frost and are classified as either Very Hardy or Hardy.

Very Hardy

  • Very Cold Tolerant: Conditioned plants tolerate temperatures in mid-20’s (F) but are usually damaged by temperatures in the low-20’s.
  • Plant as Seed Directly into the Garden: collards, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, onion, peas, spinach, turnip
  • Plant as Transplants: Asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, horseradish, leek, onion, potato (using seed potatoes), rhubarb

Hardy

  • Cold Tolerant: Conditioned plants tolerate light frosts but are usually damaged by temperatures in the upper-20’s (F).
  • Plant as Seed Directly into the Garden: beet, carrot, Swiss chard, mustard, parsnip, radish
  • Plant as Transplants: cauliflower, celery, Swiss chard, Chinese cabbage, leaf lettuce, mustard

WARM-SEASON VEGETABLES

Warm-season vegetables grow best in warm weather. Warm-season vegetables do NOT tolerate frost and are classified as either Tender or Warm-loving. Tender vegetables usually have one planting to last all season (exceptions are bush snap beans & sweet corn with multiple plantings). Plant tender vegetables when danger of frost is past. Mother’s Day (second Sunday in May) is often used as a guideline in central Indiana on when to begin planting. Warm-loving vegetables usually have one planting to last all season (an exception is lima beans with multiple plantings). Plant warm-loving plants 1-2 weeks after tender vegetables are planted.

Tender

  • Intolerant of Frost: Plants are killed by frost but tolerate colder weather above freezing.
  • Plant as Seed Directly into the Garden: snap beans, dry beans, New Zealand spinach, summer squash, sweet corn
  • Plant as Transplants: tomato and summer squash (if transplanted with care)

Warm-loving

  • Intolerant of Frost: Plants are killed by frost and do not tolerate cold weather above freezing (plants grow best in the heat of summer). Plant 1-2 weeks after tomatoes.
  • Plant as Seed Directly into the Garden: cucumber, watermelon, muskmelon, other melons, winter squash, pumpkin, okra, lima bean, yard-long bean, southern cowpeas
  • Plant as Transplants: eggplant, pepper, tomatillos, sweet potato and cucumbers, melons, winter squash, pumpkin (if transplanted with care)

 INDIANA VEGETABLE PLANTING CALENDAR

For specific planting information on vegetables, consult Purdue Extension publication HO-186, Indiana Vegetable Planting Calendar.

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