Planting a vegetable garden takes considerable planning. Different vegetables require different planting times. Some vegetables enjoy the cooler weather and others prefer to wait until the air and the soil warm up. You can plant vegetables in the spring for a summer harvest and you can also plant vegetables in the late summer for a fall harvest. By spreading out your planting times you can have a productive garden from early spring through fall.
Since spring does not technically start until March, there are vegetables that you can plant outside in the winter. Some vegetables need the cooler temperatures of late January and February, depending on what USDA hardiness zone you live in. Vegetables that like the cooler weather and can be planted outside in your garden in the late winter include broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, peas and cabbage. If you plan right, you can harvest these vegetables fairly early in the spring before you plant other vegetables or shortly thereafter.
Most of the garden vegetables can be planted in the spring after all danger of frost is past. Consult a zoning chart to see what your last frost date is for your particular zone. You can plant transplants and seeds directly into the soil in the spring. Seeds that you can plant include beans, carrots, onions, yellow squash and zucchini. This is also the time to plant seedlings that you have purchased or may have started indoors yourself.
You want some vegetables to be ready in late summer or early fall. These vegetables include acorn squash, butternut squash and pumpkins. These vegetables like the hot weather to start, but can handle some cooler nights as fall gets closer. You can also plant subsequent crops of cool weather vegetables such as, peas and lettuce for a fall harvest. You can plant these seeds, or transplants if you have them, once you remove other vegetable plants that are finished producing. You may want to add fertiliser to the soil to give the plants a boost.
There are vegetables you can plant in the fall for a very early spring harvest. Some of these include root crops such as onions and garlic. You must plant these seeds before the first frost date. The seeds will go dormant over the winter months and then germinate and begin sprouting as soon as the weather begins to warm up slightly.