Vegetable Seed

Plant vegetable seeds in the spring and enjoy fresh veggies all summer and into the fall

Vegetable Seed

Vegetable seeds produce annual plants that grow quickly and yield a harvest in one to three months. Some seeds do better if started inside first, while others grow better if sowed directly into the ground. 

This guide highlights the different types seeds, along planting tips to help you grow a bountiful harvest.

Types of Seed

Vegetables are either cool- or warm-season crops and should be planted as such for best results.

  • Cool-season veggies, such as peas, lettuce and root crops, should be planted when the soil is still cool so there is sufficient growing time before the hot days of summer arrive.
  • Plant cool-season seeds about two weeks prior to the final frost at the start of spring.
  • Plant warm-season seeds about two weeks after the final spring frost.
  • Summer season veggies, such as squash, beans, corn and cucumbers should be planted when the soil is 60 to 70 degrees.

Vegetable Seed Selection Chart

Vegetable Best Started Indoors Best to Direct Sow

Beans

Anytime after last spring frost

Beets

4 weeks before to 4 weeks after last spring frost

Broccoli

6 to 8 weeks before last spring frost

Cabbage

6 to 8 weeks before last spring frost

Carrots

4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost

Celery

6 to 8 weeks before last spring frost

Corn

2 weeks after last spring frost

Cucumbers

1 to 2 weeks after last spring frost

Lettuce

4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost

Onions

4 weeks after last spring frost

Peas

4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost

Peppers

8 to 10 weeks before last spring frost

Potatoes

2 to 4 weeks before last spring frost

Radishes

4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost

Spinach

4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost

Summer/Winter Squash

1 week after last spring frost

Seeding Inside vs. Direct Sowing

Here are some tips to help you decide if seeding inside or direct sowing is best for your veggies.

  • First, always consult the seed packet. It will have guidance on which method is best.
  • If the growing season in your area is short, expand it by seeding inside. Prepare your seeds in flats or small containers with commercial potting soil about six weeks before the last frost is expected.
  • Fill the containers about ½-inch from the top and level. Plant the seed and cover with soil. Lightly mist the soil or place the container in water to draw moisture from the bottom. Cover the containers with plastic to help retain moisture. Remove the plastic when you see sprouts, but keep them moist. Keep the containers in a sunny room for bright indirect light.
  • Label your containers so you know what is planted when it is time to replant them outside.
  • Warm-season seeds require warmer soil temperatures, so use a soil thermometer and delay planting if necessary.
  • Plant crops in a variety of patterns for a nice-looking garden.
  • Mist young seedlings frequently to encourage germination without disturbing the soil.
  • Avoid sowing too densely as thinning disturbs the remaining seedlings.
  • Protect seedlings from frost and grazing animals with a row cover if necessary.