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Spring Gardening Tips: What to Plant in Spring Months

Image of organic red tomatoes on a green vine in a spring garden.
Image of organic red tomatoes on a green vine in a spring garden.

When the snow begins to melt, we realize that springtime is just around the corner. With the warmer temperatures, you may be anxious to get outside and start growing veggies in the garden again. 

Depending on where you’re located, you’ll want to start working on your vegetable garden between February and May. Just keep in mind that the best planting time and what vegetables to plant in spring depends mostly on your plant hardiness zone, or when your first and last frost dates are. 

Here’s a rough idea on how and when to start your spring garden, but remember to always check the zones for your specific region!

Closeup Image of fresh eggplant and okra.
Closeup Image of fresh eggplant and okra.

When to Start a Vegetable Garden in the Northeast

Because the Northeastern United States can have very cold weather, the springtime in states like New Jersey, New York and Michigan may be cooler than other parts of the country. This is really important to consider prior to planting a spring garden. 

Depending on the time of the year, whether you have a spring frost, and the temperature outside, you have several options.

  • What to Plant in March
    • Broccoli
    • Spinach
    • Brussels Sprouts

When to plant broccoli and Brussels sprouts in New Jersey really depends on which zone you’re located in. However, most NJ and NY residents can start transplanting vegetables in March. The spinach can also be started as a seedling in late February or mid-March.

  • What to Plant in April
    • Eggplant
    • Onions
    • Beets

Around mid-March through April, gardeners in the Northeast can start planting eggplants and onions in time for an early Summer harvest. However, if it’s still too cold, you can always plant these veggies inside until the weather permits your spring transplanting. 

  • What to Plant in May
    • Cucumber
    • Squash
    • Okra

Thankfully, your typical May garden will be more agreeable for your crops. Summer greens like squash and zucchini will be ripe by mid-summer, and will likely continue producing through the autumn season as well.

Image of a young spring cabbage plant sprouting in organic fertilizer. Image of a young spring cabbage plant sprouting in organic fertilizer.

When to Start a Vegetable Garden in the Midwest

Places like Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin in North America are known for their especially cold and long winters. Because the weather is becoming harder and harder to predict, you may need to be adaptive. 

If April rolls around and the weather is still too cold, consider starting your garden indoors, and move your vegetables outside when the weather warms up.

  • What to Plant in March
    • Cabbage

It’s not uncommon for March temperatures to still be very low in the Midwest. For instance, the average high in Chicago in March is 51 degrees Fahrenheit… meaning that it’s likely the outdoors are still too cold for more sensitive plants. 

Some plants, like cabbage, taste better when they’re planted in colder temperatures. Cabbage tastes sweeter when planted in the cold, because the cold triggers their sugar production.

Rather than waiting on the weather to start the rest of your spring planting, start a small garden indoors. You can use an organic vegan fertilizer to provide all the essential nutrients, and help your veggies grow strong enough to be replanted in garden beds with foliar feeding.

  • What to Plant in April 
    • Peppers
    • Carrots
    • Peas

Usually, you can start nurturing your plant seeds for peppers, carrots, and peas around mid-April, and have fresh garden greens by the summer solstice. Just remember to use organic material in your garden soil for the healthiest plants (and the healthiest food for your dinner table).

  • What to Plant in May
    • Cauliflower
    • Onions
    • Tomatoes

May is probably one of the best times to start germinating seeds or transplanting your spring plants outside, if you live in a colder climate like the midwest. Your tomato plants will be able to produce fresh vegetables in time for summer, and other vegetables like onions, cauliflower, pepper and cucumber will thrive in the garden soil.

Image of a senior citizen in a spring garden with fresh organic carrots. Image of a senior citizen in a spring garden with fresh organic carrots.

When to Start a Vegetable Garden on the West Coast 

Regions along the West Coast tend to have a warmer temperature and earlier summers, like California specifically. Depending on your location and zone, you can start your spring garden as early as January or February! 

Typically, crops will be harvested much earlier than our readers’ in the north, and our vegetable gardening readers will see produce for an extended period of time.

  • What to Plant in March
    • Onions
    • Peppers 
    • Tomatoes

In March, most zones in California are ready for your onion, pepper, and tomato plants. If you live in an especially hot part of the state, you may even want to start your vegetable garden earlier. This can be helpful for a sensitive plant like tomatoes, whose stalks can wilt in too much heat. 

  • What to Plant in April
    • Brussels Sprouts
    • Carrots
    • Squash

Around April, go ahead and plant your summer vegetables. Carrots really like the sun, and certain types can grow really quickly, meaning that you can harvest them as early as mid-spring if you live in an area where you can plant them early. Other popular garden vegetables include squash and brussels sprouts. 

  • What to Plant in May
    • Corn
    • Cucumber
    • Beans

Cucumbers grow really well in warmer temperatures, and you can actually plant them any time after the last frost, and then again in the fall. You can also start your corn and beanstalks around late April or early May, and look forward to your summer harvest season.

Image of a bright green small cucumber growing in a garden bed.
Image of a bright green small cucumber growing in a garden bed.

When to Start a Vegetable Garden in the South

Generally, residents in the South can start their veggie garden in early spring — sometimes even as early as January or February! Even so, it’s still best to refer to your region’s zone. 

For instance, someone in Florida or Georgia may need to contend with higher temperatures, but also higher humidity. On the other hand, someone in Texas or New Mexico may have higher temperatures but also higher aridity. 

So remember our first and foremost rule before running wild with spring gardening ideas: Check your plant hardiness zones!

  • What to Plant in March
    • Tomatoes
    • Peppers
    • Carrots

Generally speaking, the South needs to start the more sensitive plants earlier in the season. Vegetables like tomatoes are known for being very sensitive, and many of our southern readers in states like Louisiana and Arizona may find that they’re not able to withstand the heat. 

For our readers in regions where cool weather is still fairly warm, February and March may be best to start your sensitive plants.

  • What to Plant in April
    • Beans
    • Spinach
    • Squash

By starting these summer veggies in April, they’re usually ready by the time the warm weather turns to a full blown summer. Summer squash is a favorite, since the plants tend to keep producing well into the fall. 

If you want to boost your plants, you can consider foliar feeding, but remember to use an organic and vegan foliar spray! That way, you won’t have to worry about consuming any chemicals when you start to harvest your garden.

  • What to Plant in May
    • Brussel Sprouts
    • Cucumber
    • Corn

Again, cucumbers grow really well in the heat, and can be planted any time after the last frost. Of course, you’ll want to check with your planting zone or even The Old Farmer’s Almanac to check your area and reference ideal planting dates. 

But as a good rule of thumb, cucumbers are a southern favorite, and usually take only 60 days to produce. Other ideal May vegetables include brussels sprouts and corn. 

Image of two hands holding small red tomatoes in an indoor home garden.
Image of two hands holding small red tomatoes in an indoor home garden.

Tips for Indoor Gardening

Fortunately, your indoor plants aren’t interested in what’s going on outside!

While it’s still important to keep an eye on what’s in season, you’re usually able to create small container gardens in your own home. For gardeners in places like New Jersey or New York, consider starting your vegetables indoors, and moving them outside once the weather is more suitable for outdoor gardening.

If you do start spring gardening early or indoors, keep these indoor gardening tips in mind:

  • More Light, Less Water

Because these plants are indoors, you’ll want to adjust the watering schedule. When planted outdoors, the temperature can be harsher and there’s a lot of soil and other plants to soak up any water. When potted, your vegetables typically need more light and less water.

  • Use an Organic Fertilizer

Here at Pro Organic, we ALWAYS recommend vegan organic products – and with good reason. Why would you want to eat any vegetables that have been sprayed with chemicals, or grown with synthetics? Whether you’re using a nutrient dense fertilizer or a foliar spray, do your research and make sure it’s organic.

  • Repot in Different Containers (When Necessary)

Because your indoor vegetables are in containers instead of the ground, they have limited room to grow roots. Make sure you repot your crops into new pots if they’ve outgrown their existing containers.

  • Watch Out for Pests

Just because you have an indoor vegetable garden doesn’t mean that you won’t need to worry about pests! Always keep an eye out for bugs, mites, or spiders in your plants. And while some mold growth in the soil is a sign of organic nutrients and fertilizer, you’ll want to be sure there’s no mold on your plants, and that your stalks and stems are always a healthy green color.

If you’re more interested in indoor plants just for their looks, we always recommend peace lilies or philodendrons for beginners.

Image of hands holding wet fertilized dirt over a recently planted garden bed.
Image of hands holding wet fertilized dirt over a recently planted garden bed.

 The Best Spring Vegetable Gardening Tip

After the COVID-19 crisis of 2020, many new and experienced gardeners alike started growing their own produce from home. Here at Pro Organic, we have one big gardening tips for beginners and experts alike.

Whether you’re growing vegetables indoors or in a garden bed, always use vegan organic products on your produce. Fertilizers and foliar sprays that only use organic matter will be healthier for your vegetable gardening and healthier for your family when it’s time to harvest your summer crops.

Be sure to research a brand before you purchase their fertilizer and garden products. Some brands may take advantage of the lenient guidelines on using the term “organic,” so don’t be fooled by brand names. Instead, always look at the ingredients list!

For the best organic results for your garden, we recommend using Pro Organic Plant Food and Pro Organic Foliar Feeding Spray for your spring garden. And if you haven’t already, be sure to read some of our customer reviews, and even leave one of your own! 

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