How to Determine Spring Planting Time for Your Garden

Newly planted spring vegetable garden.

Determining when to plant in the spring can be harder than predicting the ups and downs of the stock market. Part science and part superstition, deciding when to plant is the biggest decision of the year if you farm for a living. For the rest of us, it usually just means a little extra work and another stop at the nursery if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Each region of the country is different, and even within a specific area there may be large fluctuations due to factors like altitude and terrain. That said, the average date of the last spring frost and recommended times to put out summer plants like tomatoes and corn in the lower 48 states are given below.

Region Average Last Freeze Plant Summer Garden
Gulf Coast February 1 – March 1 March 1 – April 1
Southeast March 1 – April 1 March 15 – April 15
Midwest April 1 – May 1 April 7 – May 7
North May 1 – June 1 May 15 – June 15

For more detailed information, check out the maps on these websites:


Please Leave a Comment

11 Comments on “How to Determine Spring Planting Time for Your Garden”

You can follow comments to this article by subscribing to the RSS news feed with your favorite feed reader.

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    February 13th, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    Hi, Bill,
    Absolutely! It’s true that planting guidelines vary from zone to zone.
    What works in one area doesn’t necessarily work in another area.
    We recommend checking guidelines for specific zones.
    Thanks for your comment!

  • Bill Says:
    February 12th, 2019 at 10:11 am

    Cold weather plants can be brought outside earlier than the listed dates!

  • John Barnett Says:
    March 1st, 2015 at 12:30 am

    How is the best way to determine soil temperature? I know by a thermometer, but where does one get a soil thermometer?

  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    March 12th, 2013 at 8:50 am

    He Renee,
    Glad to hear you enjoy the show, and thanks for the feedback about your jasmine vine.

  • Renee Gardner Says:
    March 11th, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    I loved the Carolina Jasmine that Chelsea planted for the trellis around her air conditioner. I have a beautiful Jasmine on my fence, and it is blooming now. I am sure she will love it. I enjoy all of your shows, especially when I see my son or grandchildren on them.

  • dee stanchik Says:
    March 3rd, 2013 at 8:50 am

    can you give me a list of flowers and shrubs that will bloom all summer and fall in the cold wisconsin weather send me a list of those that will not freeze out

  • John Says:
    March 29th, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Thanks for the info! Very helpful

  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    March 19th, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Hi Sherry,
    Good point! You might want to check out our article on How to Measure Soil Temperature for Planting and our video on How to Test Soil Temperature in Your Garden.

  • Sherry Says:
    March 19th, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Soil temperature, soil temperature, soil temperature. That’s the best way to figure out when to plant…

  • Phillip Says:
    February 21st, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Citronella (mosquitos) , marigolds,African Blue Basil,Rosemary, mints and or anise oil/licorice (fennel) bearing plants…most herbs will give off aromatic as well as insect repelling aromas…if need be crush a few leaves to release the essential oils into the atmosphere, the atomization of the oils will aid in the repelling process. Tiki torches w/citronella oil are effective and somewhat romantic. Experiment until you discover what woks best for you. Good Luck

  • Matt Thorn Says:
    April 1st, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    I know there are several plants that repel insects naturally for around the patio. I’d love to know what they are and when to plant them.

We want to hear from you! In addition to posting comments on articles and videos, you can also send your comments and questions to us on our contact page or at (800) 946-4420. While we can't answer them all, we may use your question on our Today's Homeowner radio or TV show, or online at

 characters available

How to Determine Spring Planting Time for Your Garden