When to Plant Which Veggies

Especially in Nebraska, spring weather can be variable.  You might even say “very variable”.  Warm and cold, wet and dry and combinations thereof make for a challenging early planting season.  With this in mind as an overarching consideration, we still need to start somewhere, with some kind of guidance.  A basic planting schedule as the one below is a reasonable guideline for spring planting.  Of course, a little adjustment may be necessary, as after all this is Nebraska, and it can snow in early April, or even mid-April without the batting of Mother Nature’s eye.

 

In addition to the planting date, there’s the consideration of the working of the soil.  Veggie seeds don’t stand much chance of growing well if they aren’t well rooted in loose, friable soil.  When the soil dries to the touch, so that it’s moist, not soggy or dry, then it’s ready to be loosened.  Too much loosening such as roto-tilling heavy duty spading is a problem; a little pitchfork action and working in of a rich compost is all that is necessary in most cases.

compost sb

 

Planting Code A – Greatest Tolerance to Frost – earliest reliable planting in the last week of March or first Week of April

Leaf and Head Lettuce

Onions

Parsnips

Spinach

 

Between A and B

Radish

 

Planting Code B – earliest reliable planting in first or second week of April

Beets

Broccoli Transplants

Cabbage

Carrots

Cauliflower Transplants

Kohlrabi

 

Planting Code C – earliest reliable planting in mid April to late April

Beets

Swiss Chard

 

Planting Code D – earliest reliable planting in late April and early May

Sweet Corn

 

Between D and E

Snap and Pole Beans

 

Planting Code E – earliest reliable planting after May 10th

Lima Beans

Cucumbers

Eggplant

Muskmelons

Pepper Transplants

Pumpkin

Squash

Tomato

Watermelon

John Fech
Horticulture Extension Educator at Nebraska Extension
John Fech is a horticulturist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. The author of 2 books and over 200 popular and trade journal articles, he focuses his time on teaching effective landscape maintenance techniques, water conservation, diagnosing turf and ornamental problems and encouraging effective bilingual communication in the green industry. He works extensively with the media to extend the message of landscape sustainability, making over 100 television and radio appearances each year.
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