When to Plant Vegetables in Reading, MA

Your vegetable planning guide for
Reading, MA

On average, your frost-free growing season starts May 13 and ends Sep 28, totalling 138 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 April 1, assuming the ground can be worked, but it's better to start them indoors around March 4 and then transplant them into the garden around April 23. Do the same with lettuce and spinach.

Plant onion starts and potatoes around March 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 March 4. Then, around May 9 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 13, 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 23, 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 Mar 29 - Apr 13 n/a
Beans n/a n/a May 13 - Jun 10
Beets n/a n/a Mar 18 - Apr 1
Broccoli Mar 4 - Mar 18 Apr 15 - Apr 29 n/a
Brussel Sprouts Mar 4 - Mar 18 Apr 15 - Apr 29 n/a
Cabbage Mar 4 - Mar 18 Apr 15 - Apr 29 n/a
Cantaloupe n/a n/a Apr 29 - May 13
Carrots n/a n/a Apr 1 - Apr 29
Cauliflower Mar 4 - Mar 18 Apr 15 - Apr 29 n/a
Chard n/a n/a Apr 1 - Apr 15
Collards Mar 4 - Mar 18 Apr 15 - Apr 29 n/a
Corn n/a n/a May 13 - May 27
Cucumbers n/a n/a May 13 - May 27
Eggplants Mar 4 - Mar 18 May 13 - May 27 n/a
Gourds, Squash and Pumpkins n/a n/a May 13 - May 27
Kale Mar 4 - Mar 18 Apr 15 - Apr 29 n/a
Kohlrabi Mar 4 - Mar 18 Apr 15 - Apr 29 n/a
Lettuce Mar 4 - Mar 18 Apr 1 - Apr 29 Apr 1 - Apr 29
Mustard Mar 4 - Mar 18 Apr 15 - Apr 29 n/a
Okra n/a n/a May 13 - May 27
Onions Feb 26 - Mar 4 Mar 14 - Apr 13 n/a
Peas (English) n/a n/a Mar 14 - Apr 13
Peas (Southern) n/a n/a May 13 - Jun 10
Peas (Sugar Snap) n/a n/a Mar 14 - Apr 13
Peppers Mar 4 - Mar 18 May 13 - May 27 n/a
Potatoes n/a n/a Mar 14 - Apr 13
Radishes n/a n/a Mar 29 - May 27
Spinach Mar 4 - Mar 18 Apr 15 - Apr 29 Mar 29 - Apr 29
Sweet Potatoes n/a May 13 - Jun 3 n/a
Tomatoes Mar 4 - Mar 18 May 13 - May 27 n/a
Watermelon n/a n/a May 13 - May 27

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 September 28. 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 June 20. 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 August 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 July 20, but because of the heat during that time of year, it's better to start them indoors around May 31 and then transplant them into the garden around July 10. Do the same with lettuce and spinach.

Sow peas directly around July 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 June 15.

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 Jun 15 - Jul 15
Beets n/a n/a Jul 15 - Aug 29
Broccoli May 4 - Jun 18 Jun 15 - Jul 30 n/a
Brussel Sprouts May 4 - Jun 18 Jun 15 - Jul 30 n/a
Cabbage May 4 - Jun 18 Jun 15 - Jul 30 n/a
Cantaloupe n/a n/a May 31 - Jun 15
Carrots n/a n/a Jun 30 - Aug 29
Cauliflower May 4 - Jun 18 Jun 15 - Jul 30 n/a
Chard n/a n/a Jun 15 - Aug 29
Collards May 31 - Jul 15 Jun 30 - Aug 14 n/a
Corn n/a n/a Jun 15 - Jun 30
Cucumbers n/a n/a Jun 15 - Jun 30
Eggplants Apr 19 - May 4 May 31 - Jun 15 n/a
Garlic n/a n/a Jul 15 - Aug 29
Gourds, Squash and Pumpkins n/a n/a May 16 - Jun 15
Kale May 4 - Jun 18 Jun 15 - Jul 30 n/a
Kohlrabi May 4 - Jun 18 Jun 15 - Jul 30 n/a
Lettuce Jun 30 - Jul 30 Jul 30 - Aug 29 Jul 30 - Aug 29
Mustard n/a n/a Jul 30 - Aug 29
Okra n/a n/a May 16 - Jun 15
Onions n/a n/a Aug 29 - Sep 8
Parsley May 16 - Jun 30 Jun 30 - Aug 14 n/a
Peas (English) n/a n/a Jun 30 - Jul 30
Peas (Southern) n/a n/a May 16 - Jun 15
Peas (Sugar Snap) n/a n/a Jun 30 - Jul 30
Peppers Apr 24 - May 9 Jun 5 - Jun 20 n/a
Potatoes n/a n/a Jun 30 - Jul 30
Radishes n/a n/a Jul 30 - Aug 29
Spinach Jun 15 - Jul 30 Jul 15 - Aug 29 Jul 15 - Aug 29
Tomatoes Apr 24 - May 9 Jun 5 - Jun 20 n/a
Turnips n/a n/a Aug 14 - Sep 13
Watermelon n/a n/a May 16 - Jun 15

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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