What is the best time to sow seeds in the vegetable garden?

Vegetables and herbs have very different planting periods, divided into the various months of the year. The task of a skillful farmer is to learn about these times and build an effective sowing calendar that suits the needs of his or her garden.

Today, we will find out together which vegetables are easy to grow in an urban garden and what are the secrets to a bountiful and colorful harvest. We will understand how to take advantage of the advice of agricultural experts and what to sow month by month.

Let’s get started.

Spring and summer sowing

A self-respecting organic vegetable garden divides its sowings into summer, spring, fall and winter. In the next few paragraphs, we will look together at how to build an organic garden sowing calendar divided into 12 different months. For now, let’s focus on spring vegetable garden sowing and summer sowing.

In spring, with nature’s awakening, comes the ideal time to plant short-cycle vegetables such as radishes, lettuce, spinach and peas, which benefit from moderate temperatures and gradually lengthening days. Summer plantings, on the other hand, focus on heat-loving crops that mature over longer periods of time, such as tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and eggplant. These vegetables require well-heated soil and plenty of sunlight to develop at their best.

Properly planning sowings in these two seasons will enable you to obtain a continuous and varied harvest, taking full advantage of the favorable weather conditions of each period.

Fall and winter sowing

When autumn arrives and winter approaches, farmers wonder: how can I protect my sowings from night frosts?

Fortunately, there are several cold-hardy plants and several natural methods that can ensure that sowings are protected from frost. Let’s briefly look at what is best to sow seeds in autumn and winter.

In the fall, the garden prepares for the winter season by sowing cold-resistant vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, carrots, and leeks. These crops benefit from the cooler temperatures and increased soil moisture, growing slowly but steadily. During the winter, although the possibilities are more limited because of the intense cold, it is possible to sow short-cycle vegetables in greenhouses or tunnels, such as lettuce, arugula, and spinach. Also, now is the time to plant garlic, which will have plenty of time to take root and develop for the summer harvest.

Month-by-month planting calendar

Let us now proceed with the presentation of our vegetable garden sowing calendar by month, voluntarily divided into 12 different sections.

If you are looking for a vegetable garden sowing chart, this calendar is exactly what you needed. A complete list of vegetables, herbs and bulbs awaits you just a few rows away. Enjoy!

What to plant in January

In January, many plants are still dormant due to low temperatures, but you can still start some seeds, especially in protected environments-such as greenhouses or the inside of homes.

Here is a list of vegetables and herbs to plant indoors or in heated greenhouse:

  • Vegetables:
  • Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants should be planted in small pots to keep warm, since we are talking about vegetables that require fairly high temperatures to germinate.

Some lettuce varieties-especially cutting lettuce-can be planted in the greenhouse in January along with celery, and then transplanted outside in the spring;

  • Herbs:

Sow basil and parsley in small pots, keeping them warm and in full light.

Instead, below is a list of vegetables to plant outdoors:

  • Cold-hardy vegetables:

Peas, fava beans and arugula can easily be planted outside in January because they are cold-hardy vegetables. Spinach, however, should be covered with a layer of nonwoven fabric for protection (here are some practical tips on how to protect vegetables from the cold);

  • Bulbs:

Garlic, onions and shallots should be planted directly in the ground using bulbils.

What to plant in February

In February, as spring approaches, the days begin to lengthen and temperatures to moderate, allowing for expanded planting activities.

So let’s see what to sow indoors or in a heated greenhouse:

  • Vegetables:

Continue the planting of tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, with the goal of transplanting the shoots in spring. Similarly, you can continue sowing lettuce (cutting or cabbage varieties) and celery, adding cabbage and broccoli to the list;

  • Herbs:

In small containers, take care of planting basil, parsley and cilantro.

Here’s what to plant outdoors instead:

  • Cold-hardy vegetables:

Continue planting peas, fava beans, spinach and arugula. Then add radishes (sow by spacing the seeds about 2-3 cm apart), chard (sow in rows spaced about 30 cm apart), and carrots to the list.

  • Bulbs:

Continue planting onions, garlic and shallots.

What to plant in March

In March, as spring arrives, you can further expand your planting activities, both indoors and outdoors.

What to plant indoors or in a heated greenhouse:

  • Vegetables:
    Continue planting tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, lettuce and celery. At the same time, sow cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower in small containers;
  • Herbs:
    Continue sowing basil, parsley and cilantro in small pots. Add chives to the list as well.

Outdoors:

  • Cold-hardy vegetables:
    Sow peas, broad beans, spinach, arugula, radishes, Swiss chard and carrots in the open ground. Compared to February, you can also add onions, which should be planted by taking advantage of bulbils;
  • Spring vegetables to plant in areas with milder climate:
    If the climate in your region is milder, you can also plant potatoes, beets, cauliflower and kohlrabi outdoors;
  • Herbs:
    Away from the greenhouse, thyme and oregano can be planted directly in the ground.

What to plant in April

What are the best vegetables to plant in April?

In April, with the arrival of full spring, many sowings can be made both outdoors and in a greenhouse.

Indoors or in a heated greenhouse:

  • Vegetables:
    Continue planting in pots of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. April also brings time for zucchini (transplant in the ground in May) and cucumbers;
  • Herbs:
    Continue planting basil, parsley, cilantro and chives.

Outdoors:

  • Cold-hardy vegetables:
    Continue sowing in the open ground of peas, broad beans, spinach, arugula, radishes, Swiss chard, carrots and onions. Then add garlic and potatoes as well;
  • Spring-summer vegetables:
    Take care of planting zucchini, cucumbers and beans, which can be planted directly in the garden;
  • Herbs:
    Continue planting thyme, oregano and basil (directly in the ground in milder areas).

What to plant in May

In May, with the arrival of warmer temperatures and longer days, a wide range of vegetables can be sown directly in the ground.

Indoors or in a heated greenhouse:

  • Vegetables:
    Continue sowing celery, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower in small containers. Sow zucchini and cucumbers in pots and then transplant them into the ground as soon as the first sprouting stage is completed;
  • Herbs:
    Continue sowing basil, parsley, cilantro and chives in small pots.

Outdoors (in the ground):

  • Spring-summer vegetables:
    Transplant previously sown tomato seedlings into pots and do the same with peppers and eggplant. At the same time, directly sow zucchini in the open ground or transplant seedlings.
    Also take care of sowing cucumbers, beans, green beans, peas, broad beans, spinach, arugula, radishes, Swiss chard, carrots, onions and potatoes. Also new for May are squash, melon and watermelon, to be sown directly in the ground;
  • Herbs:
    Sow thyme, oregano, basil and parsley in the garden.

What to plant in June

In June, with the height of the summer season, many plants can be sown directly outdoors. It is also the time to transplant many of the seedlings grown in the greenhouse or indoors in the previous months.

Here is a typical planting schedule for June, divided between indoor, greenhouse and outdoor sowing.

Indoors or in a heated greenhouse:

  • Vegetables:
    Continue sowing peppers, eggplant and late varieties of tomatoes in pots;
  • Herbs:
    Continue sowing basil, parsley, cilantro and chives.

Outdoors (in the ground):

  • Spring-summer vegetables:
    Continue sowing seeds directly in the open ground (or transplant seedlings) of zucchini and cucumbers. Sow beans, green beans, peas (in cooler areas of the garden), arugula (in partially shaded areas), radishes, Swiss chard, carrots, onions, potatoes, squash, melon and watermelon;
  • Fall and winter vegetables:
    Sow in seedbed for transplanting in July-August: cauliflower, Savoy cabbage, kohlrabi, and leeks;
  • Herbs:
    Sow directly in the ground thyme, oregano, basil, parsley and mint (in shady, moist areas).

What to plant in July

In July, with high temperatures and the height of the summer season, it is important to choose crops that can tolerate the heat and intensity of the sun.

At this time, most sowing can be done directly outdoors:

  • Summer vegetables:
    Continue sowing in the open ground of beans, green beans, zucchini, cucumbers, squash and radishes;
  • Fall and winter vegetables:
    Take care of seed sowing of cauliflower, Savoy cabbage, kohlrabi, kale, broccoli, leeks and spinach (try to identify heat-tolerant varieties);
  • Short-cycle vegetables:
    Continue planting arugula, radishes and chard. As for lettuce, sow cutting or head lettuce varieties in shady areas;
  • Herbs:
    Sow basil, parsley, cilantro, thyme and oregano directly in the ground.

What to plant in August

In August, the summer heat continues and many summer crops are in full production. However, it is also a good time to prepare seeds for fall and winter harvests.

Here are what to plant indoors or in a heated greenhouse:

  • Herbs:
    Continue planting in small pots of basil, parsley and cilantro.

Outdoors (in the ground):

  • Summer vegetables:
    Continue sowing beans (preferably dwarf varieties), green beans, zucchini, cucumbers and radishes directly in the open ground;
  • Fall and winter vegetables:
    Sow seeds in the seedbed for transplanting in September-October: cauliflower, Savoy cabbage, kohlrabi, broccoli, and leeks;
  • Short-cycle vegetables:
    Continue planting lettuce, arugula, radishes, Swiss chard and carrots;
  • Herbs:
    Continue planting directly in the ground of basil, parsley, cilantro, thyme and oregano.

What to plant in September

September is a transitional month between summer and fall, providing an opportunity to sow a variety of crops that will thrive in the cooler months.

Here is the list of sowings for the indoor/heated greenhouse:

  • Herbs:
    Continue sowing in small pots of basil, parsley, chives and mint.

Outdoors (in the ground):

  • Fall and winter vegetables:
    Sow directly in the open ground( or transplant seedlings) of cauliflower, Savoy cabbage, kohlrabi, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, leeks and spinach (sow in shady furrows to avoid excessive heat);
  • Short-cycle vegetables:
    Continue planting lettuce, arugula, radishes, Swiss chard, carrots and turnips. Also add turnip greens and chicory to the list;
  • Herbs:
    Sow parsley, cilantro, thyme, oregano and sage directly in the ground.

What to plant in October

October is a transitional month when temperatures begin to drop, making it an ideal time to sow crops that thrive in cooler climates.

Indoors or in a heated greenhouse:

  • Herbs:
    Sow parsley, chives, mint and cilantro in pots (or boxes).

Outdoors (in the ground):

  • Fall and winter vegetables:
    Sow spinach, kale and collard greens directly in the open ground. Transplant seedlings of leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Savoy cabbage;
  • Short-cycle vegetables:
    Continue planting lettuce, arugula, radishes, Swiss chard, carrots, turnips and turnip greens;
  • Herbs:
    Continue planting in the open ground of parsley, cilantro, thyme, oregano and sage.

What to plant in November

In November, many regions experience cooler temperatures and a slower growing season for many crops. However, there are still some options for planting, especially in milder climates or with the use of protective cover crops.

Let’s look at what to sow indoors or in a heated greenhouse:

  • Herbs:
    Continue sowing in pots of parsley, chives and mint.

Outdoors (in the ground or under protective cover):

  • Vegetables:
    Sow winter varieties under protective cover for lettuce, arugula, spinach and chard. Similarly, choose root vegetables such as carrots, turnips, onions and radish;
  • Bulb vegetables:
    Plant garlic and shallot bulbs for later harvest in spring.

What to plant in December

In December, cold temperatures and the risk of frost make planting difficult. However, it is still possible to take care of your vegetable garden.

Here are what to sow indoors or in a heated greenhouse:

  • Herbs:
    Continue sowing in pots of parsley, chives and mint.

Outdoors (in the ground or under protective cover):

  • Vegetables:
    Continue planting winter varieties under protective cover for lettuce, spinach, arugula, Swiss chard, carrots, turnips, onions and radish;
  • Bulb vegetables:
    Plant garlic and shallot bulbs for later harvest in spring.

Lunar calendar

Now that we have seen all the benefits of the solar calendar, we can focus on another equally well-known growing technique: the lunar calendar in horticulture is a system of measuring time based on the cycles of the moon. Unlike the solar calendar, which is based on the annual cycle of the sun, the lunar calendar is based on lunar cycles, each of which lasts about 29.5 days. These cycles are divided into different phases: new moon, first quarter, full moon and last quarter. Each phase has a specific influence on various aspects of life and nature, including agriculture.

In agriculture, the lunar calendar is used to optimize sowing, transplanting and harvesting of crops. Different moon phases are believed to influence plant growth. For example, during the waxing moon, the life energy of plants is believed to be increasing, favoring planting and growth of crops that develop the aerial part, such as salads and tomatoes. The waning moon, on the other hand, is considered ideal for planting vegetables that develop the underground part, such as carrots and potatoes.

The lunar calendar is also used for other agricultural activities such as pruning, fertilizing and harvesting, following the belief that respecting the natural rhythms of the moon ensures effective improvement of the garden soil.

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