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.

RegionAverage Last FreezePlant Summer Garden
Gulf CoastFebruary 1 – March 1March 1 – April 1
SoutheastMarch 1 – April 1March 15 – April 15
MidwestApril 1 – May 1April 7 – May 7
NorthMay 1 – June 1May 15 – June 15

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