The Q&A Archives: Planting time for Vegetable Crops in Northeast

Question: Please tell us, since we do not have a greenhouse, what vegetable crops are planted in the Massachusetts in early spring, in late spring, in summer, in fall. Please LIST by season and please name harvestime for each vegetable as well.
Thank you very much---

Answer: This could be a pretty tall order...there are lots of vegetables that grow in the Northeast! :~) I'll give a quick rundown so you can get started, but you can either find a complete list in bulletin form from UMass Extension ( or in any basic gardening book geared toward the Northeast (such as Lewis Hill's "Cold-Climate Gardening). Harvest times depend on the maturity date of the varieties you choose to grow as well as the growing conditions. For instance, leaf lettuce can be harvested as baby greens within a month of sowing, if the growing conditions are good, but head or romaine lettuces take longer to form. Seed packets and catalog descriptions list days to maturity for varieties.

Early Spring -- as soon as soil has drained sufficiently and can be worked, and while frost is still possible:

All but peas can be planted every two weeks throughout the growing season -- just make sure you sow the last batch in time for the crop to mature before weather gets too cold.

Cabbage and cousins (broccoli, etc.)
onions & leeks

You can start seeds of cabbage family crops again around the 4th of July for a fall crop.

After danger of frost has passed and soil is warming, transplant:

Sow seed for:
squash (summer and winter squash)
beans (plant beans every couple of weeks for a continuous harvest)

That should get you started, and a good book will round out the list. You'll also learn about techniques to stretch the growing season (using cold frames, cloches, row covers, etc.) Enjoy!

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