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Starting your Vegetable Garden

It is approaching the time of year to plant those cool season annual vegetables! These include lettuces, spinach, kale, peas, onions, beets, radishes, brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. In Iowa, these vegetables will need to be planted in early spring because if they are exposed to temperatures over 80 to 85 degrees, they will get bitter or stop producing. Plant seedlings of these cool-weather lovers in mid-April or so. Or plant peas, onion, beets and radishes directly in the garden soil from seed or “sets” the last week of March or the first week of April.

On the other hand, warm-season annuals need adequately warm soil and air temperatures to thrive. These include tomatoes, eggplant, melons, peppers, pumpkins, squashes and cucumbers. Start seeds for these warmth lovers indoors in late March or early April or plant them as seedlings in late May. There are some vegetable seeds that need very warm soil. Plant green beans and corn seeds directly in the soil in early June.

If this all sounds a little confusing, we understand! Just remember that there are 3 planting times for vegetables.

  1. Early Spring -- as soon as the soil thaws

  2. Late Spring/ Early Summer -- after our last average frost date

  3. Very Early Autumn -- many gardeners skip this planting time since it can be tricky to get the right amount of cool weather before the snow falls.

For our beginner vegetable gardeners, we recommend trying out either the cool-season or warm-season vegetables for your first go around! Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, we hope you have a bountiful vegetable harvest at the end of the growing season. And, remember, Southdale is always here to help and answer any questions you have!

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