When to Plant Vegetables in Palo Alto, CA

Your vegetable planning guide for
Palo Alto, CA

On average, your frost-free growing season starts Feb 3 and ends Dec 11, totalling 312 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 December 23, assuming the ground can be worked, but it's better to start them indoors around November 25 and then transplant them into the garden around January 14. Do the same with lettuce and spinach.

Plant onion starts and potatoes around December 5. 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 November 25. Then, around January 30 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 February 3, 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 Dec 20 - Jan 4 n/a
Beans n/a n/a Feb 3 - Mar 2
Beets n/a n/a Dec 9 - Dec 23
Broccoli Nov 25 - Dec 9 Jan 6 - Jan 20 n/a
Brussel Sprouts Nov 25 - Dec 9 Jan 6 - Jan 20 n/a
Cabbage Nov 25 - Dec 9 Jan 6 - Jan 20 n/a
Cantaloupe n/a n/a Jan 20 - Feb 3
Carrots n/a n/a Dec 23 - Jan 20
Cauliflower Nov 25 - Dec 9 Jan 6 - Jan 20 n/a
Chard n/a n/a Dec 23 - Jan 6
Collards Nov 25 - Dec 9 Jan 6 - Jan 20 n/a
Corn n/a n/a Feb 3 - Feb 17
Cucumbers n/a n/a Feb 3 - Feb 17
Eggplants Nov 25 - Dec 9 Feb 3 - Feb 17 n/a
Gourds, Squash and Pumpkins n/a n/a Feb 3 - Feb 17
Kale Nov 25 - Dec 9 Jan 6 - Jan 20 n/a
Kohlrabi Nov 25 - Dec 9 Jan 6 - Jan 20 n/a
Lettuce Nov 25 - Dec 9 Dec 23 - Jan 20 Dec 23 - Jan 20
Mustard Nov 25 - Dec 9 Jan 6 - Jan 20 n/a
Okra n/a n/a Feb 3 - Feb 17
Onions Nov 18 - Nov 25 Dec 5 - Jan 4 n/a
Peas (English) n/a n/a Dec 5 - Jan 4
Peas (Southern) n/a n/a Feb 3 - Mar 2
Peas (Sugar Snap) n/a n/a Dec 5 - Jan 4
Peppers Nov 25 - Dec 9 Feb 3 - Feb 17 n/a
Potatoes n/a n/a Dec 5 - Jan 4
Radishes n/a n/a Dec 20 - Feb 17
Spinach Nov 25 - Dec 9 Jan 6 - Jan 20 Dec 20 - Jan 20
Sweet Potatoes n/a Feb 3 - Feb 24 n/a
Tomatoes Nov 25 - Dec 9 Feb 3 - Feb 17 n/a
Watermelon n/a n/a Feb 3 - Feb 17

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 December 11. 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 September 2. 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 October 27, 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 October 2, but because of the heat during that time of year, it's better to start them indoors around August 13 and then transplant them into the garden around September 22. Do the same with lettuce and spinach.

Sow peas directly around September 27.

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 August 28.

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 Aug 28 - Sep 27
Beets n/a n/a Sep 27 - Nov 11
Broccoli Jul 17 - Aug 31 Aug 28 - Oct 12 n/a
Brussel Sprouts Jul 17 - Aug 31 Aug 28 - Oct 12 n/a
Cabbage Jul 17 - Aug 31 Aug 28 - Oct 12 n/a
Cantaloupe n/a n/a Aug 13 - Aug 28
Carrots n/a n/a Sep 12 - Nov 11
Cauliflower Jul 17 - Aug 31 Aug 28 - Oct 12 n/a
Chard n/a n/a Aug 28 - Nov 11
Collards Aug 13 - Sep 27 Sep 12 - Oct 27 n/a
Corn n/a n/a Aug 28 - Sep 12
Cucumbers n/a n/a Aug 28 - Sep 12
Eggplants Jul 2 - Jul 17 Aug 13 - Aug 28 n/a
Garlic n/a n/a Sep 27 - Nov 11
Gourds, Squash and Pumpkins n/a n/a Jul 29 - Aug 28
Kale Jul 17 - Aug 31 Aug 28 - Oct 12 n/a
Kohlrabi Jul 17 - Aug 31 Aug 28 - Oct 12 n/a
Lettuce Sep 12 - Oct 12 Oct 12 - Nov 11 Oct 12 - Nov 11
Mustard n/a n/a Oct 12 - Nov 11
Okra n/a n/a Jul 29 - Aug 28
Onions n/a n/a Nov 11 - Nov 21
Parsley Jul 29 - Sep 12 Sep 12 - Oct 27 n/a
Peas (English) n/a n/a Sep 12 - Oct 12
Peas (Southern) n/a n/a Jul 29 - Aug 28
Peas (Sugar Snap) n/a n/a Sep 12 - Oct 12
Peppers Jul 7 - Jul 22 Aug 18 - Sep 2 n/a
Potatoes n/a n/a Sep 12 - Oct 12
Radishes n/a n/a Oct 12 - Nov 11
Spinach Aug 28 - Oct 12 Sep 27 - Nov 11 Sep 27 - Nov 11
Tomatoes Jul 7 - Jul 22 Aug 18 - Sep 2 n/a
Turnips n/a n/a Oct 27 - Nov 26
Watermelon n/a n/a Jul 29 - Aug 28

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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