When to Plant Seeds in a Garden


When to plant seeds in the garden depends on the type of plant. Almost all vegetable seeds should be planted after the danger of frost has passed, but some seeds need a cold spell before they will germinate. Check seed packets for specific instructions.

Planting seeds at the right time ensures flowers or vegetables will grow. image by "Scenes from an Urban Garden" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: ItzaFineDay (Tavis Ford) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

Hardy Perennials

Plant hardy perennial seeds in the fall or keep them in the refrigerator over winter to plant in very early spring. This process is called stratification and triggers germination.


Most annual seeds should be planted in the spring after danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed.

Biennial Flowers

These flowers might bloom the first year if they are planted in early fall or very early spring. If not, they will bloom the following year.

Fast Growing Vegetables

Stagger the planting of fast growing vegetables such as lettuce or radishes for multiple harvests. Cool season plants like lettuce can be planted in early spring and early fall.

Long Season Vegetables

Vegetables that take all summer to grow--like watermelon, winter squash and large tomatoes--should be planted as early as the weather permits.

Over Winter Vegetables

Plan to plant over wintering vegetables like parsnips and turnips so the vegetable matures at the end of the growing season, right before the first frost.


  • From Seed To Bloom; Eileen Powell; 1995
  • The Vegetable Gardeners Bible; Edward C, Smith; 2000

Who Can Help

  • Vegetable Seed planting timetable
Keywords: seed, planting time, planning guide

About this Author

Michael Logan is a writer, editor and web page designer. His professional background includes electrical, computer and test engineering, real estate investment, network engineering and management, programming and remodeling company owner. Logan has been writing professionally since he was first published in "Test & Measurement World" in 1989.