What to Plant Now for a Yummy Summer Garden

summer garden

This is the perfect time to start planning your summer garden, if you haven’t already. By taking note of the temperature and when frost is no longer a possibility in the weather forecast, here’s what you can plant in eastern Virginia to have a bountiful garden this summer.


Cole crops, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, collards, kale and Brussels sprouts, can be direct-seeded into your garden around March 9th, assuming the ground can be worked. If you’ve already started these veggies indoors, transplant them into the garden at the end of March.

Spinach and lettuce

These salad staples can be planted as seeds in March — generally about four weeks before the last frost, which is generally mid-April.


Can be started as seeds in early March, generally about the same time you plant spinach and lettuce.


Carrots should be planted directly into the ground. It is best to plant them about four weeks before the last frost, which is generally mid-April.

Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants

The nightshades can be planted in the ground in mid-April as soon as no frost is forecast. These can also be started indoors now and transplanted into the ground in April.


Can be started as seeds, sets or beginning plants in the ground in mid-March. Generally, treat as leaf veggies.


Sugar, snap and English pea seeds can be planted as long as the ground is no longer frozen.


Start directly in garden, not indoors, in soil at least 60 degrees. Generally after mid-April.

Cantaloupe and watermelon

Directly sow seeds after mid-April.

Beans, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers and gourds

Plant seeds directly into the ground around April 20, or if your soil is still very cold, once the soil is near 60 degrees.

Note: This is also a good time for planting sunflowers.


Ground temperature should be consistently at least 50 degrees to plant seeds. Otherwise, start indoors and transfer.

Hint: Soak seeds before planting for better germination.

Make sure you pay attention to when the last frost is, which varies by region. The Farmer’s Almanacwww.almanac.com/gardening/planting-calendar — offers a good planting guide by ZIP code. The National Gardening Association also has a planting calendar and tips at garden.org/apps/calendar.

About the author

Kim O'Brien Root

Kim O'Brien Root was a newspaper reporter — writing for papers in Virginia and Connecticut — for 15 years before she took a break to be a stay-at-home mom. When the lure of writing became too strong, she began freelancing and then took on the role of the Health Journal’s editor in Dec. 2017. She juggles work with being a chronic volunteer for two PTAs
and the Girl Scouts. She lives in Hampton, Virginia with her husband, a fellow journalist, their two children and a dog.

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