“When is the best time to plant fruits and vegetables?” Question from Brittany or Pound, Virginia
Answer: It depends on the fruits or vegetables you are planting, their preferred weather, life cycle, and how long they take to bear harvestable produce. Overall, annual fruits and vegetables are divided into cool-season and warm-season categories.
Cool-season annual vegetables grow best in the spring and fall when growing conditions are mild. Vegetables in the category include lettuce, peas, radishes, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, and turnips, among others. All of these grow pretty quickly, meaning they grow from seed to harvest in as little as one to three months. Start them in either early spring, for spring harvest, or late summer, for fall harvest.
Warm-season annual fruits and vegetables require warm growing conditions to produce well and generally require more days before they bear produce. These need to be started in spring and planted after the threat of frost has passed and garden soils have warmed up. During the hot days of summer, they will start to produce. Vegetables in this category include corn, tomatoes, peppers, winter and summer squash, beans, melons, sweet potatoes and cucumbers. Keep in mind that some of these, like pumpkins, can take as many as 110 harvest days before bearing fruit.
Perennial fruits and veggies for the garden, like strawberries, rhubarb, and asparagus, can be planted in spring or fall.
To learn more, I recommend you read some of the following Black Gold articles and videos about growing fruits and vegetables!