Vegetable Planting and Transplanting Guide

Listing of the major vegetables and the "best" time to plant.
Vegetable Planting and Transplanting Guide - Articles

Updated: August 14, 2017

Vegetable Planting and Transplanting Guide

Cabbage

  • Indoor growing time prior to transplanting: 5 to 6 weeks
  • Germination time: 10-12 days
  • Seed planting depth: 1/2 inch
  • Temperature range for optimal germination: 70-80°F
  • Optimal growing temperatures** day: 60-70°F night: 50-60°F
  • Outdoor plant spacing: 12-18 inch
  • Days to maturity: 60-110
  • Cool-Season or Warm-Season Crop: Cool-season
  • Suited for plastic mulch and drip irrigation: No
  • When to plant outdoors: 4 weeks before last frost***~
  • Harvesting characteristics: When heads are solid but not yet cracking

Cauliflower

  • Indoor growing time prior to transplanting: 5 to 6 weeks
  • Germination time: 10-21 days
  • Seed planting depth: 1/4 to 1/2 inch
  • Temperature range for optimal germination: 70-80°F
  • Optimal growing temperatures** day: 60-70°F night: 55-60°F
  • Outdoor plant spacing: 18 inch
  • Days to maturity: 50-72
  • Cool-Season or Warm-Season Crop: Cool-season
  • Suited for plastic mulch and drip irrigation: No
  • When to plant outdoors: 4 weeks before last frost~
  • Harvesting characteristics: when head is compact but before curd opens and becomes "ricey"

Broccoli

  • Indoor growing time prior to transplanting: 5 to 6 weeks
  • Germination time: 10-14 days
  • Seed planting depth: 1/4 to 1/2 inch
  • Temperature range for optimal germination: 70-80°F
  • Optimal growing temperatures** day: 60-70°F night: 50-60°F
  • Outdoor plant spacing: 18-24 inch
  • Days to maturity: 50-72
  • Cool-Season or Warm-Season Crop: Cool-season
  • Suited for plastic mulch and drip irrigation: No
  • When to plant outdoors: 4 weeks before last frost~
  • Harvesting characteristics: when buds are tight and head is compact

Brussels Sprouts

  • Indoor growing time prior to transplanting: 5 to 6 weeks
  • Germination time: 7-14 days
  • Seed planting depth: 1/4 to 1/2 inch
  • Temperature range for optimal germination: 70-80°F
  • Optimal growing temperatures** day: 60-70°F night: 50-60°F
  • Outdoor plant spacing: 18-24 inch
  • Days to maturity: 90-120
  • Cool-Season or Warm-Season Crop: Cool-season
  • Suited for plastic mulch and drip irrigation: No
  • When to plant outdoors: 5 weeks after last frost
  • Harvesting characteristics: when plump, firm and glossy

Head Lettuce

  • Indoor growing time prior to transplanting: 5 to 7 weeks
  • Germination time*: 7-10 days
  • Seed planting depth: 1/8 inch
  • Temperature range for optimal germination: 65-75°F
  • Optimal growing temperatures** day: 60-70°F night: 60-70°F
  • Outdoor plant spacing: 12 inch
  • Days to maturity: 40-90
  • Cool-Season or Warm-Season Crop: Cool-season
  • Suited for plastic mulch and drip irrigation: No
  • When to plant outdoors: 1-2 weeks before last frost~
  • Harvesting characteristics: when heads are firm and glossy

Onions

  • Indoor growing time prior to transplanting: 9 to 11 weeks
  • Germination time: 10-15 days
  • Seed planting depth: 3/8 inch
  • Temperature range for optimal germination: 65-80°F
  • Optimal growing temperatures** day: 60-70°F night: 45-55°F
  • Outdoor plant spacing: 12 inch
  • Days to maturity: 60-115
  • Cool-Season or Warm-Season Crop: Cool-season
  • Suited for plastic mulch and drip irrigation: yes
  • When to plant outdoors: 4 weeks before last frost
  • Harvesting characteristics: Green or bunching onion - when desired; bulb onion - when above-ground leaves fall, allow to cure 1 - 2 days, thinnings can be used anytime.

Celery

  • Indoor growing time prior to transplanting: 10 to 12 weeks
  • Germination time*: 21 days
  • Seed planting depth: 1/8 inch
  • Temperature range for optimal germination: 60-70°F
  • Optimal growing temperatures** day: 65-75°F night: 55-65°F
  • Outdoor plant spacing: 9-12 inch
  • Days to maturity: 110-120
  • Cool-Season or Warm-Season Crop: Cool/warm-season
  • Suited for plastic mulch and drip irrigation: yes
  • When to plant outdoors: after last frost
  • Harvesting characteristics: When outer petioles can be pulled anytime for immediate use, fully mature when about 3 inches by 21 inches.

Tomatoes

  • Indoor growing time prior to transplanting: 5 to 7 weeks
  • Germination time*: 7-10 days
  • Seed planting depth: 1/4 to 1/2 inch
  • Temperature range for optimal germination: 70-80°F
  • Optimal growing temperatures** day: 70-80°F night: 60-65°F
  • Outdoor plant spacing: 18-24 inch
  • Days to maturity: 52-90
  • Cool-Season or Warm-Season Crop: Warm-season
  • Suited for plastic mulch and drip irrigation: Yes
  • When to plant outdoors: After last frost
  • Harvesting characteristics: Harvesting characteristics:when evenly colored and firm

Peppers

  • Indoor growing time prior to transplanting: 6 to 8 weeks
  • Germination time*: 10-12 days
  • Seed planting depth: 1/4 to 1/2 inch
  • Temperature range for optimal germination: 75-85°F
  • Optimal growing temperatures** day: 70-80°F night: 60-70°F
  • Outdoor plant spacing: 18-24 inch
  • Days to maturity: 55-80
  • Cool-Season or Warm-Season Crop: Warm-season
  • Suited for plastic mulch and drip irrigation: Yes
  • When to plant outdoors: After last frost
  • Harvesting characteristics: When glossy in color and firm, either 'green' mature or final color maturity for the type and maturity.

Eggplant

  • Indoor growing time prior to transplanting: 7 to 9 weeks
  • Germination time*: 10-12 days
  • Seed planting depth: 1/4 to 1/2 inch
  • Temperature range for optimal germination: 75-90°F
  • Optimal growing temperatures** day: 70-80°F night: 65-70°F
  • Outdoor plant spacing: 24 inch
  • Days to maturity: 50-75
  • Cool-Season or Warm-Season Crop: Warm-season
  • Suited for plastic mulch and drip irrigation: Yes
  • When to plant outdoors: when night temperatures are above 50°F
  • Harvesting characteristics: When glossy in color and of satisfactory size for the cultivar and before seeds mature and darken.

Cucumber

  • Indoor growing time prior to transplanting: 3 to 4 weeks
  • Germination time*: 7-8 days
  • Seed planting depth: 3/4 to 1 inch
  • Temperature range for optimal germination: 75-95°F
  • Optimal growing temperatures** day: 70-90°F night: 60-70°F
  • Outdoor plant spacing: 12 inch
  • Days to maturity: 48-70
  • Cool-Season or Warm-Season Crop: Warm-season
  • Suited for plastic mulch and drip irrigation: Yes
  • When to plant outdoors: 1 week after last frost
  • Harvesting characteristics: When 3 - 4 inches long for pickling, 6-10 inches for slicing and fully green, yellow fruit should be discarded.

Muskmelon

  • Indoor growing time prior to transplanting: 3 to 4 weeks
  • Germination time*: 7 days
  • Seed planting depth: 3/4 to 1 inch
  • Temperature range for optimal germination: 75-95°F
  • Optimal growing temperatures** day: 70-90°F night: 60-70°F
  • Outdoor plant spacing: 12 inch
  • Days to maturity: 68-95
  • Cool-Season or Warm-Season Crop: Warm-season
  • Suited for plastic mulch and drip irrigation: Yes
  • When to plant outdoors: 1 week after last frost
  • Harvesting characteristics: When melon begins to detach from stem

Watermelon

  • Indoor growing time prior to transplanting: 3 to 4 weeks
  • Germination time*: 6-8 days
  • Seed planting depth: 3/4 to 1 inch
  • Temperature range for optimal germination: 75-95°F
  • Optimal growing temperatures** day: 70-90°F night: 60-70°F
  • Outdoor plant spacing: 18 inch
  • Days to maturity: 68-95
  • Cool-Season or Warm-Season Crop: Warm-season
  • Suited for plastic mulch and drip irrigation: Yes
  • When to plant outdoors: 1 week after last frost
  • Harvesting characteristics: When tendril nearest stem attachment turns brown and shrivels

Summer Squash

  • Indoor growing time prior to transplanting: 3 to 4 weeks
  • Germination time*: 7-10 days
  • Seed planting depth: 3/4 to 1 inch
  • Temperature range for optimal germination: 75-95°F
  • Optimal growing temperatures** day: 70-90°F night: 60-70°F
  • Outdoor plant spacing: 18 inch
  • Days to maturity: 42-65
  • Cool-Season or Warm-Season Crop: Warm-season
  • Suited for plastic mulch and drip irrigation: Yes
  • When to plant outdoors: 1 week after last frost
  • Harvesting characteristics: Zucchini, yellow and other elongate types when 5 to 8 inches long and skin is tender, skin must be very tender on patty pan and round types and be 2 to 4 inches in diameter.

*Depends on temperature.

** Reduce day temperatures by 5 to 10 degrees F when the weather is cloudy.

*** In Pennsylvania the last frost is typically between May 1 and 25.
~Direct seed about the same time you transplant for fall harvests.

Sources

Holcomb, E.J. (Ed). 1994. Bedding Plants IV 4th edition. Pennsylvania Flower Growers, Ball Publishing. Batavia, Il.

Maynard, D.N., and Hochmuth, G. 1997. Knott's Handboof for Vegetable Growers 4th edition. John Wiles & Sons. New York, NY.

Nardozzi, C. 1999. Vegetable Gardening for Dummies. IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., Foster City, CA.

Phillips, R. and Rix, M. 1993. The Random House Book of Vegetables. Random House Publishers. New York, NY.

Reilly, A. 1990. Taylor's Pocket Guide to Vegetables, Chanticleer Press Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston, MA.

Prepared by Elsa Sánchez, associate professor of horticulture and Pete Ferretti, retired professor of vegetable crops

Instructors

Sustainable vegetable systems Organic vegetable systems Field vegetable production systems High tunnel vegetable production systems

More by Elsa Sanchez, Ph.D.