Cool Season and Warm Season Vegetables

Cool season vegetables are those that grow best during the cooler growing conditions of spring.  In some cases, a light frost will actually enhance their flavor.  Cool season vegetables can be planted/sown as soon as the ground can be worked in early to mid April.  The really terrific thing about cool season vegetables is that they can be planted again in late summer for a fall harvest.  Cool season vegetables include:

Cool Season Vegetables Direct Sow Seeds Set Out as Plants Comments
Beets               X   Young seedlings can also be harvested for fresh greens.
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage                X Side sprouts develop after main stalk is harvested.
Cauliflower                 X To blanch, tie leaves over flower head.
Carrots

X

   
Leafy Greens: Lettuce, Kale Spinach, Swiss Chard, Mustard  

X

  Leaf texture and flavor varies greatly.
Peas, Including Snow and Snap               X    
Potato     Cut up potato into chunks with one eye per piece.
Radish               X   Warm temperatures add to the “heat” of the flavor.

Of these, most can be directly sown from seed.  Others benefit from a jump start on the season, so you’ll want to set out plants of broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. Seed potatoes aren’t really seeds at all, but sets, which are cut up sections of potato, each having at least one sprouting area called an eye.

Warm season vegetables are those that do not survive frost and should be planted after May 10 to ensure no late frost damage.  If planted earlier, plants should be covered if frost is in the forecast.   There is no advantage to planting these outside extremely early as this affects plant vigor.  These plants grow and thrive during the heat of summer.

Warm Season Vegetables Direct Sow Seeds Set Out as Plants Comments
Beans              X   Many types
Corn, Sweet and Popping              X    
Cucumbers              X   Slicing, pickling, burpless types
Eggplant               X  
Okra              X   Harvest when small
Onion               X If planting bulb onions, start seeds around Christmas time.
Pepper               X Check the Scoville Scale for degree of hotness
Squash, Summer               X   Zucchini, patty pan, yellow crookneck
Squash, Winter               X   Acorn, butternut
Sweet Potato    

X

Suspend sweet potato over water.  Shoots will emerge that can be cut and rooted in water.
Tomato                X Tremendous variety
Kathleen Cue
Horticulture Educator at Nebraska Extension
Kathleen serves as the Horticulture Educator for Nebraska Extension in Dodge County. She educates people on making smart plant choices to reduce use of fertilizers and pesticides in their landscape which has a positive impact on air, water, soil and environmental quality, property values and people’s pocketbooks.

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