When to Plant Vegetables in Erie, PA

Your vegetable planning guide for Erie, PA

On average, your frost-free growing season starts May 20 and ends Oct 29, totalling 162 days. You will find both Spring and Fall planting guides on this page.

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For the Spring:
Your Spring Planting Strategy
Cole crops like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage can be direct seeded into your garden around April 8, assuming the ground can be worked, but it's better to start them indoors around March 11 and then transplant them into the garden around April 30. Do the same with lettuce and spinach.

Plant onion starts and potatoes around March 21. Sow the seeds of peas (sugar snap and english) at the same time. If the ground is still frozen, then plant these as soon as the ground thaws.

Do you want to grow tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants? Start these indoors around March 11. Then, around May 16 you should start watching the weather forecast and, as soon as no frost is forecast, go ahead and transplant those into the ground.

Now, for all the summer vegetables like beans, cowpeas, corn, squashes, pumpkins, cucumbers, watermelons, gourds and sunflowers, you should plant those seeds directly into the ground around May 20, or if your soil is still very cold, once the soil is near 60° F in temperature. Having said that, we note that your location has a shorter than average growing season. Many summer vegetables need more days to mature than your area will provide. For that reason, we recommend you get a head-start by starting these summer vegetables indoors around April 30, and transplant those seedlings out after the danger of frost is past.

Okay, now here are the cold, hard numbers, along with specific plants:

Crop Sow seeds indoors Transplant seedlings into the garden Direct sow seeds
Asparagus n/a Apr 5 - Apr 20 n/a
Beans n/a n/a May 20 - Jun 17
Beets n/a n/a Mar 25 - Apr 8
Broccoli Mar 11 - Mar 25 Apr 22 - May 6 n/a
Brussel Sprouts Mar 11 - Mar 25 Apr 22 - May 6 n/a
Cabbage Mar 11 - Mar 25 Apr 22 - May 6 n/a
Cantaloupe n/a n/a May 6 - May 20
Carrots n/a n/a Apr 8 - May 6
Cauliflower Mar 11 - Mar 25 Apr 22 - May 6 n/a
Chard n/a n/a Apr 8 - Apr 22
Collards Mar 11 - Mar 25 Apr 22 - May 6 n/a
Corn n/a n/a May 20 - Jun 3
Cucumbers n/a n/a May 20 - Jun 3
Eggplants Mar 11 - Mar 25 May 20 - Jun 3 n/a
Gourds, Squash and Pumpkins n/a n/a May 20 - Jun 3
Kale Mar 11 - Mar 25 Apr 22 - May 6 n/a
Kohlrabi Mar 11 - Mar 25 Apr 22 - May 6 n/a
Lettuce Mar 11 - Mar 25 Apr 8 - May 6 Apr 8 - May 6
Mustard Mar 11 - Mar 25 Apr 22 - May 6 n/a
Okra n/a n/a May 20 - Jun 3
Onions Mar 4 - Mar 11 Mar 21 - Apr 20 n/a
Peas (English) n/a n/a Mar 21 - Apr 20
Peas (Southern) n/a n/a May 20 - Jun 17
Peas (Sugar Snap) n/a n/a Mar 21 - Apr 20
Peppers Mar 11 - Mar 25 May 20 - Jun 3 n/a
Potatoes n/a n/a Mar 21 - Apr 20
Radishes n/a n/a Apr 5 - Jun 3
Spinach Mar 11 - Mar 25 Apr 22 - May 6 Apr 5 - May 6
Sweet Potatoes n/a May 20 - Jun 10 n/a
Tomatoes Mar 11 - Mar 25 May 20 - Jun 3 n/a
Watermelon n/a n/a May 20 - Jun 3

For the Fall:
Your Fall Planting Strategy
Gardening in the fall can be much more challenging than spring planting, because you are in a race to get your crops mature and harvested before the winter frosts begin, around October 29. This means you need to consider how much time each variety needs between planting and picking. Those numbers vary widely between different varieties of the same kinds of plants! Usually the "Days to Harvest" are present on the seed packet.

Most tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, for example, require around 100 days to harvest, therefore you'd want to transplant those into the ground around July 21. Anyway, it's important to remember that the numbers in this fall planting guide are only a starting point for you! Good luck and good gardening to you.

Fall is the time to plant garlic. Around September 14, take your cloves apart and plant the toes about 3 to 4 inches deep. This may not be accurate! Garlic dates vary wildly around the country. The way to be sure is to use a soil thermometer. When the soil temperature is 60° at a depth of 4 inches, then plant your garlic.

Cole crops like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage can be direct seeded into your garden around August 20, but because of the heat during that time of year, it's better to start them indoors around July 1 and then transplant them into the garden around August 10. Do the same with lettuce and spinach.

Sow peas directly around August 15.

Now, for all the usual hot weather veggies like beans, cowpeas, corn, squashes, pumpkins, cucumbers, watermelons, gourds and sunflowers, you should plant those seeds directly into the ground around July 16.

Okay, now here are the cold, hard numbers, along with specific plants:

Crop Sow seeds indoors Transplant seedlings into the garden Direct sow seeds
Beans n/a n/a Jul 16 - Aug 15
Beets n/a n/a Aug 15 - Sep 29
Broccoli Jun 4 - Jul 19 Jul 16 - Aug 30 n/a
Brussel Sprouts Jun 4 - Jul 19 Jul 16 - Aug 30 n/a
Cabbage Jun 4 - Jul 19 Jul 16 - Aug 30 n/a
Cantaloupe n/a n/a Jul 1 - Jul 16
Carrots n/a n/a Jul 31 - Sep 29
Cauliflower Jun 4 - Jul 19 Jul 16 - Aug 30 n/a
Chard n/a n/a Jul 16 - Sep 29
Collards Jul 1 - Aug 15 Jul 31 - Sep 14 n/a
Corn n/a n/a Jul 16 - Jul 31
Cucumbers n/a n/a Jul 16 - Jul 31
Eggplants May 20 - Jun 4 Jul 1 - Jul 16 n/a
Garlic n/a n/a Aug 15 - Sep 29
Gourds, Squash and Pumpkins n/a n/a Jun 16 - Jul 16
Kale Jun 4 - Jul 19 Jul 16 - Aug 30 n/a
Kohlrabi Jun 4 - Jul 19 Jul 16 - Aug 30 n/a
Lettuce Jul 31 - Aug 30 Aug 30 - Sep 29 Aug 30 - Sep 29
Mustard n/a n/a Aug 30 - Sep 29
Okra n/a n/a Jun 16 - Jul 16
Onions n/a n/a Sep 29 - Oct 9
Parsley Jun 16 - Jul 31 Jul 31 - Sep 14 n/a
Peas (English) n/a n/a Jul 31 - Aug 30
Peas (Southern) n/a n/a Jun 16 - Jul 16
Peas (Sugar Snap) n/a n/a Jul 31 - Aug 30
Peppers May 25 - Jun 9 Jul 6 - Jul 21 n/a
Potatoes n/a n/a Jul 31 - Aug 30
Radishes n/a n/a Aug 30 - Sep 29
Spinach Jul 16 - Aug 30 Aug 15 - Sep 29 Aug 15 - Sep 29
Tomatoes May 25 - Jun 9 Jul 6 - Jul 21 n/a
Turnips n/a n/a Sep 14 - Oct 14
Watermelon n/a n/a Jun 16 - Jul 16

How accurate is all this? For nearly all locations, we are confident in the dates. There are, however, some difficult areas of the world that don't match up perfectly with the dates we have given. For that reason, we recommend you use this guide as a very good starting place, but don't interpret the dates as absolutely perfect for every location.

Did you find this useful? Garden.org has a vast array of useful features. May we recommend that you take a look at our excellent food gardening guide?

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