Woman testing soil temperature - when should you plant?

Before you pick up that garden shovel, fertilizers, or seeds, it is crucial to determine if it’s the best time to plant veggies, fruits, shrubs, flowers, grass, and much more. Making this decision will help you prepare your garden and lawn for gardening and help you succeed. It will also help you avoid frustration and will help you save water, time, and resources for an extended period. For novice gardeners, it can be difficult and confusing to know when to go ahead and plant veggies, flowers, or fruits in the garden. Only some things, whether veggies, fruits, or flowers, can be planted simultaneously. If you need more time to grow, you can seek the help of your local independent store.

It is a common problem among home gardeners who need clarification regarding when to start a garden. Planting too early or before the actual time can invite disaster, and planting late can also cause the same issue. It can often take weeks or even months before the work begins. The window of opportunity for growing depends on your region, plants, and season.

You can take the help of planting calendars, which help calculate the best time to start seeds and plant a garden. The right time for planting depends on the first and last frost dates. This calendar provides everything you need to know to grow and own a bountiful garden. From specific plants and flowers to veggies that thrive in a particular zone to the ideal time for planting and when to plant and how much water is required to harvest, everything is suggested in the planting calendar to provide proper guidance to gardeners and novice ones too.

When to Start a Garden?

When to Start a Garden

The ideal time to start a garden depends on the local weather conditions in your area. Instead of rushing the season and thinking of growing plants or veggies in your garden, use these valuable tips to determine the best time to plant in the garden. You might have to wait longer than you expected. But fret not, as the soil will be easier to work with when it is relatively dry. This way, your seeds and seedlings will have a good chance of surviving and thriving when the temperature is relatively warm. All flowers, fruits, and veggies require a warm or cool season to be healthy and prolific. Knowing the correct zone/location is essential to enjoying a bountiful harvest.

The following are some valuable tips to help you decide the best time to plant in the garden:

  • To test whether your garden soil is dry, use a spade or trowel to dig a small amount of soil. Squeeze the soil in your hand and check whether it breaks apart. If the soil breaks apart, it means it is ready for planting. Besides, you can choose to drop the ball of soil waist high. If it shatters easily or when you poke it, it crumbles easily, then rest assured that the soil is ready to work with it. If it does not break or remains in a clump and drips water when squeezed, you should wait a few more days before testing it again.
  • Use a soil thermometer to ensure the soil is warm enough to plant. If you sow large seeds or plant warm-season crops, insert the instrument about 4 inches deep in the soil to get an accurate reading. You insert the device about 2 inches deep in the ground for tiny seeds or cool-season crops.
  • Use a zone hardiness map to determine the best time to plant in the garden. With zone maps, you can check the average date of the last spring frost as per your location. Consider planting cool-season annuals like nasturtiums or pansies. It is suggested that you work on your soil as soon as possible to withstand some frost. Also, wait until all chances of frost have passed if you decide to plant warm-season annuals like zinnias or marigolds.
  • Cool-season edibles like cauliflower, carrots, beets, lettuce, endive, and Swiss chard can be grown as per your soil quality. These edibles can successfully survive light frosts. It is advisable to wait until the temperature ranges from 60-70°F before planting tender veggies like corn, tomatoes, eggplants, okra, beans, and summer squash.

The Bottom Line

As the saying goes, ‘timing is everything, it is true regarding gardening. Knowing about the right time to start seeds and plant outdoors is imperative. You should follow a month-by-month to-do list to create that striking difference between a heartbreaking harvest and a happy one.

Danielle Dixon

Danielle is a content writer at Homegrown Outlet. Aside from having a longtime passion for literature and writing, she is also an animal lover who enjoys crafting and watching documentaries.