Organic Vegetable Gardening in An Urban Setting

Vegetable Planting Guide

Here is the information you need to get your vegetable garden off to a good start. It helps to know your last frost date. These dates are available for most areas in the charts to the right. You can also access similar information in a chart form by clicking on the Seed Starting Chart link. Herb and flower planting information is also available through the quick links.

Arugula - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors just beneath the surface of the soil as soon as the soil can be worked and the danger of a hard frost has past.  For a continuous supply, seed a new row every three weeks throughout the summer. 

Beans - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors after the danger of frost has past and the soil and air temperatures are warm. Plant seeds 1" deep and 2" apart in rows 24" to 36" apart. Pole beans will need support. Snap varieties will produce abundantly if kept well picked throughout the summer.

Beet - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors in the spring, 6-8 seeds per foot ½" deep in rows 20-24" apart.  Minimum soil temperature must be 40° F.

Broccoli - Planting: Sow indoors ¼" deep in pots or flats 8 weeks before the last frost.  Thin seedlings when 2" tall and transplant into individual pots.  Plant outdoors 24" apart in rows 36" apart when a light frost is still possible. 

Carrots - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors in the early spring 3-4 weeks before the last frost or as soon as the soil can be worked. Sow seeds ¼” deep making sure to firmly press soil against the seeds for good soil contact. Keep moist for optimal germination. Thin to 1-4” depending on the size of mature carrots.

Cauliflower - Planting: Sow indoors ¼" deep in pots or flats 8 weeks before the last frost.  Thin seedlings when 2" tall and transplant into individual pots.  Plant outdoors 24" apart in rows 36" apart when a light frost is still possible.  

Cabbage - Planting: Sow indoors ¼" deep in pots or flats 8 weeks before the last frost.  Thin seedlings when 2" tall and transplant into individual pots.  Plant outdoors 24" apart in rows 36" apart when a light frost is still possible. 

Corn - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors only after the danger of frost has passed.  Corn will not germinate properly when the soil is still cold in the spring.  Sow seeds 1" deep every 3-4" in rows 3-4' apart.  Thin the seedlings to 8" apart after the plants come up.  Corn should be planted in a 3-4 row block (instead of one long row) to ensure well filled-out ears.

Cucumbers - Planting: Sow 6-8 seeds outdoors 1" deep in 12" diameter hills spaced 6' apart each way a week after the last frost when soil is warm.  Pinch off all but 3-4 of the strongest seedlings.  Can be started indoors in pots or flats 3-4 weeks before the last frost for an earlier harvest.

Eggplant - Planting: Start seedlings indoors 6 weeks before the last frost.  Thin seedlings when 2" tall and transplant into individual pots.  Transplant outdoors 24" apart in rows 36" apart.  Using landscape cloth or black plastic can accelerate growth and productivity in cooler climates. 

Gourds - Planting: In mild climates sow seeds outdoors after the danger of frost has passed.  Northern growers may need to start seedlings indoors 3-4 weeks before the last frost.  Plant 6-8 seeds 1" deep in 12" diameter hills spaced 6-8' each way.

Kale- Planting: Sow indoors ¼" deep in pots or flats 8 weeks before the last frost.  Thin seedlings when 2" tall and transplant into individual pots.  Plant outdoors 24" apart in rows 36" apart when a light frost is still possible. 

Lettuce - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors ¼" deep and 1" apart.  Thin to 8" apart for looseleaf and 12" for head lettuce.  Does well when soil temperature is  below 80° F., try to avoid planting in the middle of summer.  Keep soil moist for up to two weeks after planting.   

Lima Beans - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors after the danger of frost has passed and the soil and air temperatures have warmed.  Plant seeds 1" deep and 2" apart in rows 36-48" apart. 

Melons - Planting: Best when direct seeded in warm soil after the danger of frost has passed.  Plant 6-8 seeds 1" deep in 12" diameter hills spaced 6' apart each way.  After germination pinch off all but 3-4 of the strongest seedlings. 

Okra - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors ½-1" deep when the soil temperature has warmed.  Okra thrives in warm weather and should only be planted in full sun.  Plants should be thinned to 6-8" after germination.   Okra will produce abundantly if kept well picked.     

Onion - Planting: Start seedlings indoors 4-6 weeks before transplanting.  Sow seeds in flats ¼" deep and spaced 1" in all directions.  Transplant as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring.

Peas - Planting: Peas can be sown as soon as the soil can be prepared in the spring.  Sow seeds ½" to 1" deep with 3" between seeds in rows 24" apart.  Climbing peas will need support.  Double rows can be planted on each side of a trellis.  Peas thrive in cool weather.

Peppers - Planting: Start seedlings indoors 8 weeks before transplanting.  Sow seeds ¼" deep.  Keep soil moist and near 80° F. using bottom heat.  Peppers may take two weeks to germinate.  Transplant outdoors when daytime soil temperatures are near 80° F. and nighttime temperatures are above 50° F.

Popcorn - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors only after the danger of frost has passed.  Corn will not germinate properly when the soil is still cold in the spring.  Sow seeds 1" deep every 3-4" in rows 3-4' apart.  Thin the seedlings to 8" apart after the plants come up.  Corn should be planted in a 3-4 row block (instead of one long row) to ensure well filled-out ears.

Radish - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors as soon as the soil can be prepared in the spring.  Successive plantings can be made every 3-4 weeks throughout the summer and fall to provide a continual harvest.  Seeds should be planted ½" deep and 1" apart in rows 12" apart.

Runner Bean - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors after the danger of frost has passed and the soil and air temperatures have warmed.  Plant seeds 1" deep and 2" apart in rows 24-36" apart.  Requires support.

Soybean - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors after the danger of frost has passed and the soil and air temperatures are warm.  Plant seeds 1" deep and 2" apart in rows 24-36" apart.

Spinach - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors ½" deep and 1" apart.  Spinach grows best in cool weather and should be planted early in the spring or in late summer to produce a fall crop.  For best yield, harvest continually and make successive plantings every 10 days.

Squash - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors after the danger of frost has passed.  Plant 6-8 seeds 1" deep in 12" diameter hills spaced 6' apart each way.  Pinch off all but 3-4 of the strongest seedlings.

Sunberry - Planting: Sow indoors ¼” deep in pots or flats 6 weeks before the last frost. Thin seedlings when 2” tall and transplant into individual pots. Plant outdoors 24” apart in rows 36” apart.

Swiss Chard - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors early in the spring.  Plant seeds ½" deep and 4" apart in rows 20-24" apart.  Thin seedlings to one every 12".  Minimum soil temperature should be at least 40º F.     

Tomato - Planting: Sow indoors ¼" deep in pots or flats 6 weeks before the last frost.  Thin seedlings when 2" tall and transplant into individual pots.  Plant outdoors 24" apart in rows 36" apart.  Indeterminate vines will require support.

Tomatillo - Planting: Sow indoors ¼" deep in pots or flats 6 weeks before the last frost.  Thin seedlings when 2" tall and transplant into individual pots.  Plant outdoors 24" apart in rows 36" apart.  Culture is very similar to tomatoes.  Plants can be trellised to keep well contained and the fruits off of the dirt, or the plants can be allowed to sprawl on the ground.

Watermelons - Planting: Sow seeds outdoors after the danger of frost.  Minimum soil temperature should be at least 65º F.   Plant seeds ½" deep and 2" apart, in rows 20-24" apart.  Thin seedlings to one every 12".  Excellent grown on black landscape cloth.   

Jelly Melon - Planting: Sow 6-8 seeds outdoors 1" deep in 12" diameter hills spaced 6' apart each way a week after the last frost when soil is warm.  Pinch off all but 3-4 of the strongest seedlings.  Can be started indoors in pots or flats 3-4 weeks before the last frost for an earlier harvest.  

Red Malabar Spinach - Planting: Sow seeds ½" deep indoors 5-6 weeks before the last frost or outdoors when the danger of frost has past.  Plants should be spaced 6" apart.   Do not plant before air temperatures are consistently between 70 and 80 degrees.  For best yield, harvest continually.

Garden Huckleberry (Solanum melanocerasum) - Planting: Sow indoors ¼" deep in pots or flats 6 weeks before the last frost.  Thin seedlings when 2" tall and transplant into individual pots.  Plant outdoors 24" apart in rows 36" apart. 

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