When to Plant Vegetables in Lancaster, PA

Your vegetable planning guide for
Lancaster, PA

On average, your frost-free growing season starts Apr 14 and ends Oct 21, totalling 190 days. You will find both Spring and Fall planting guides on this page.

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For the Spring:
Your planting strategy:
Cole crops like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage can be direct seeded into your garden around March 3, assuming the ground can be worked, but it's better to start them indoors around February 4 and then transplant them into the garden around March 25. Do the same with lettuce and spinach.

Plant onion starts and potatoes around February 14. 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 February 4. Then, around April 10 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 April 14, or if your soil is still very cold, once the soil is near 60° F in temperature.

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 Feb 29 - Mar 15 n/a
Beans n/a n/a Apr 14 - May 12
Beets n/a n/a Feb 18 - Mar 3
Broccoli Feb 4 - Feb 18 Mar 17 - Mar 31 n/a
Brussel Sprouts Feb 4 - Feb 18 Mar 17 - Mar 31 n/a
Cabbage Feb 4 - Feb 18 Mar 17 - Mar 31 n/a
Cantaloupe n/a n/a Mar 31 - Apr 14
Carrots n/a n/a Mar 3 - Mar 31
Cauliflower Feb 4 - Feb 18 Mar 17 - Mar 31 n/a
Chard n/a n/a Mar 3 - Mar 17
Collards Feb 4 - Feb 18 Mar 17 - Mar 31 n/a
Corn n/a n/a Apr 14 - Apr 28
Cucumbers n/a n/a Apr 14 - Apr 28
Eggplants Feb 4 - Feb 18 Apr 14 - Apr 28 n/a
Gourds, Squash and Pumpkins n/a n/a Apr 14 - Apr 28
Kale Feb 4 - Feb 18 Mar 17 - Mar 31 n/a
Kohlrabi Feb 4 - Feb 18 Mar 17 - Mar 31 n/a
Lettuce Feb 4 - Feb 18 Mar 3 - Mar 31 Mar 3 - Mar 31
Mustard Feb 4 - Feb 18 Mar 17 - Mar 31 n/a
Okra n/a n/a Apr 14 - Apr 28
Onions Jan 28 - Feb 4 Feb 14 - Mar 15 n/a
Peas (English) n/a n/a Feb 14 - Mar 15
Peas (Southern) n/a n/a Apr 14 - May 12
Peas (Sugar Snap) n/a n/a Feb 14 - Mar 15
Peppers Feb 4 - Feb 18 Apr 14 - Apr 28 n/a
Potatoes n/a n/a Feb 14 - Mar 15
Radishes n/a n/a Feb 29 - Apr 28
Spinach Feb 4 - Feb 18 Mar 17 - Mar 31 Feb 29 - Mar 31
Sweet Potatoes n/a Apr 14 - May 5 n/a
Tomatoes Feb 4 - Feb 18 Apr 14 - Apr 28 n/a
Watermelon n/a n/a Apr 14 - Apr 28

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 21. 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 13. 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 6, 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 12, but because of the heat during that time of year, it's better to start them indoors around June 23 and then transplant them into the garden around August 2. Do the same with lettuce and spinach.

Sow peas directly around August 7.

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 8.

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 8 - Aug 7
Beets n/a n/a Aug 7 - Sep 21
Broccoli May 27 - Jul 11 Jul 8 - Aug 22 n/a
Brussel Sprouts May 27 - Jul 11 Jul 8 - Aug 22 n/a
Cabbage May 27 - Jul 11 Jul 8 - Aug 22 n/a
Cantaloupe n/a n/a Jun 23 - Jul 8
Carrots n/a n/a Jul 23 - Sep 21
Cauliflower May 27 - Jul 11 Jul 8 - Aug 22 n/a
Chard n/a n/a Jul 8 - Sep 21
Collards Jun 23 - Aug 7 Jul 23 - Sep 6 n/a
Corn n/a n/a Jul 8 - Jul 23
Cucumbers n/a n/a Jul 8 - Jul 23
Eggplants May 12 - May 27 Jun 23 - Jul 8 n/a
Garlic n/a n/a Aug 7 - Sep 21
Gourds, Squash and Pumpkins n/a n/a Jun 8 - Jul 8
Kale May 27 - Jul 11 Jul 8 - Aug 22 n/a
Kohlrabi May 27 - Jul 11 Jul 8 - Aug 22 n/a
Lettuce Jul 23 - Aug 22 Aug 22 - Sep 21 Aug 22 - Sep 21
Mustard n/a n/a Aug 22 - Sep 21
Okra n/a n/a Jun 8 - Jul 8
Onions n/a n/a Sep 21 - Oct 1
Parsley Jun 8 - Jul 23 Jul 23 - Sep 6 n/a
Peas (English) n/a n/a Jul 23 - Aug 22
Peas (Southern) n/a n/a Jun 8 - Jul 8
Peas (Sugar Snap) n/a n/a Jul 23 - Aug 22
Peppers May 17 - Jun 1 Jun 28 - Jul 13 n/a
Potatoes n/a n/a Jul 23 - Aug 22
Radishes n/a n/a Aug 22 - Sep 21
Spinach Jul 8 - Aug 22 Aug 7 - Sep 21 Aug 7 - Sep 21
Tomatoes May 17 - Jun 1 Jun 28 - Jul 13 n/a
Turnips n/a n/a Sep 6 - Oct 6
Watermelon n/a n/a Jun 8 - Jul 8

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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