Best Time to Plant Fruits and Vegetables

“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!

Black Gold Fruit and Vegetable Gardening Videos

Tips for Growing Monster Tomatoes

Growing Fall Carrots, Beets, and Turnips

The Sweetest Sweet Corn

Growing Strawberries with Success


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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