When to Plant Vegetables in Natl Arboretum Dc, MD

Your vegetable planning guide for
Natl Arboretum Dc, MD

On average, your frost-free growing season starts Apr 16 and ends Oct 17, totalling 184 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 5, assuming the ground can be worked, but it's better to start them indoors around February 6 and then transplant them into the garden around March 27. Do the same with lettuce and spinach.

Plant onion starts and potatoes around February 16. 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 6. Then, around April 12 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 16, 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 Mar 2 - Mar 17 n/a
Beans n/a n/a Apr 16 - May 14
Beets n/a n/a Feb 20 - Mar 5
Broccoli Feb 6 - Feb 20 Mar 19 - Apr 2 n/a
Brussel Sprouts Feb 6 - Feb 20 Mar 19 - Apr 2 n/a
Cabbage Feb 6 - Feb 20 Mar 19 - Apr 2 n/a
Cantaloupe n/a n/a Apr 2 - Apr 16
Carrots n/a n/a Mar 5 - Apr 2
Cauliflower Feb 6 - Feb 20 Mar 19 - Apr 2 n/a
Chard n/a n/a Mar 5 - Mar 19
Collards Feb 6 - Feb 20 Mar 19 - Apr 2 n/a
Corn n/a n/a Apr 16 - Apr 30
Cucumbers n/a n/a Apr 16 - Apr 30
Eggplants Feb 6 - Feb 20 Apr 16 - Apr 30 n/a
Gourds, Squash and Pumpkins n/a n/a Apr 16 - Apr 30
Kale Feb 6 - Feb 20 Mar 19 - Apr 2 n/a
Kohlrabi Feb 6 - Feb 20 Mar 19 - Apr 2 n/a
Lettuce Feb 6 - Feb 20 Mar 5 - Apr 2 Mar 5 - Apr 2
Mustard Feb 6 - Feb 20 Mar 19 - Apr 2 n/a
Okra n/a n/a Apr 16 - Apr 30
Onions Jan 30 - Feb 6 Feb 16 - Mar 17 n/a
Peas (English) n/a n/a Feb 16 - Mar 17
Peas (Southern) n/a n/a Apr 16 - May 14
Peas (Sugar Snap) n/a n/a Feb 16 - Mar 17
Peppers Feb 6 - Feb 20 Apr 16 - Apr 30 n/a
Potatoes n/a n/a Feb 16 - Mar 17
Radishes n/a n/a Mar 2 - Apr 30
Spinach Feb 6 - Feb 20 Mar 19 - Apr 2 Mar 2 - Apr 2
Sweet Potatoes n/a Apr 16 - May 7 n/a
Tomatoes Feb 6 - Feb 20 Apr 16 - Apr 30 n/a
Watermelon n/a n/a Apr 16 - Apr 30

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 17. 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 9. 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 2, 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 8, but because of the heat during that time of year, it's better to start them indoors around June 19 and then transplant them into the garden around July 29. Do the same with lettuce and spinach.

Sow peas directly around August 3.

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 4.

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 4 - Aug 3
Beets n/a n/a Aug 3 - Sep 17
Broccoli May 23 - Jul 7 Jul 4 - Aug 18 n/a
Brussel Sprouts May 23 - Jul 7 Jul 4 - Aug 18 n/a
Cabbage May 23 - Jul 7 Jul 4 - Aug 18 n/a
Cantaloupe n/a n/a Jun 19 - Jul 4
Carrots n/a n/a Jul 19 - Sep 17
Cauliflower May 23 - Jul 7 Jul 4 - Aug 18 n/a
Chard n/a n/a Jul 4 - Sep 17
Collards Jun 19 - Aug 3 Jul 19 - Sep 2 n/a
Corn n/a n/a Jul 4 - Jul 19
Cucumbers n/a n/a Jul 4 - Jul 19
Eggplants May 8 - May 23 Jun 19 - Jul 4 n/a
Garlic n/a n/a Aug 3 - Sep 17
Gourds, Squash and Pumpkins n/a n/a Jun 4 - Jul 4
Kale May 23 - Jul 7 Jul 4 - Aug 18 n/a
Kohlrabi May 23 - Jul 7 Jul 4 - Aug 18 n/a
Lettuce Jul 19 - Aug 18 Aug 18 - Sep 17 Aug 18 - Sep 17
Mustard n/a n/a Aug 18 - Sep 17
Okra n/a n/a Jun 4 - Jul 4
Onions n/a n/a Sep 17 - Sep 27
Parsley Jun 4 - Jul 19 Jul 19 - Sep 2 n/a
Peas (English) n/a n/a Jul 19 - Aug 18
Peas (Southern) n/a n/a Jun 4 - Jul 4
Peas (Sugar Snap) n/a n/a Jul 19 - Aug 18
Peppers May 13 - May 28 Jun 24 - Jul 9 n/a
Potatoes n/a n/a Jul 19 - Aug 18
Radishes n/a n/a Aug 18 - Sep 17
Spinach Jul 4 - Aug 18 Aug 3 - Sep 17 Aug 3 - Sep 17
Tomatoes May 13 - May 28 Jun 24 - Jul 9 n/a
Turnips n/a n/a Sep 2 - Oct 2
Watermelon n/a n/a Jun 4 - Jul 4

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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