If you’re new to gardening and are gearing up for a new growing season, it’s imperative that you have a firm understanding of zone planting dates as you do your garden planning.
An understanding of which gardening zone you live in is imperative to having successful vegetable garden beds. With these dates in mind, you can better determine what seeds will work for your specific planting zone, and which seeds you should avoid.
In this guide we’re going to be focusing on zone 5 vegetable garden planting dates, so you can create an accurate vegetable planting calendar. Let’s get started!
What Are Zone Planting Dates?
Zone planting dates, sometimes referred to as hardiness zones, growing zones, or gardening zones, are different geographic locations that are split based on ideal planting dates for certain fruits and vegetables.
These different numbered zones highlight different regions based on specific information for succession planting. Factors such as soil type, average yearly temperatures, and frost dates are all considered.
The understanding of the average lowest temperatures is the most important gardening information zone planting provides. With a firm understanding of temperatures, gardeners planting seeds can better determine which kinds of plants will survive in their specific USDA zone, and which ones won’t.
With this information, you can then create a planting calendar and schedule when you will plant your various seed packets. As some seed packets are started indoors before transplant, and others can be grown directly outside, this schedule will be unique to you.
It’s important to remember that while zoning system guides are helpful when planning planting and harvest schedules, there will always be factors that cannot be controlled. Changes in the weather, issues with your seedlings, having a late summer, and many other factors can all have an impact on the success of your garden.
Zoning guides are truly meant to provide basic gardening information for this highest chance of success, even if it isn’t guaranteed. Still, anyone who is interested in creating a planting calendar filled with vegetables likely to succeed would do well to use this information.
Where Is Zone 5?
The zone 5 planting zone is an area that covers The Northeastern, Central, and Northwestern areas of the United States. These areas tend to experience cold winters and fairly mild summers, with winter temperatures that vary between -10 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Zone 5 also experiences all four seasons and has the potential to grow all kinds of fruits and vegetables successfully.
What is the Zone 5 Frost Date?
The last frost date of a garden refers to the day where the frost in the ground is likely to break. When this last frost date hits, it means you can safely start your growing season outdoors, placing seeds outside with a better chance of the ground maintaining a good temperature.
Of course, frost dates are good suggestions for your planting schedule, but the actual state of your ground can vary. If you find lower temperatures sticking around, indicating a late summer, it could be better to wait before you start seeds outdoors.
Typically, though, the first frost free date in zone 5 is May 30th, with the last frost date being October 1st. These are the dates you should keep in mind when planning a vegetable planting calendar for zone 5.
What Vegetables Grow in Zone 5?
There are plenty of vegetables that can be successfully grown in Zone 5. Some of the more popular ones include:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Sweet Potatoes
Zone 5 Planting Schedule
If you’re looking for a zone 5 planting guide, this is it! Let’s walk through the ideal planting schedule for various vegetables you can grow in zone 5. For this guide, we’re going to look at popular vegetables and outline when you can start seeds indoors, when you can transplant them, and the ideal time for harvesting.
Beets don’t need to be started indoors and can be planted outdoors as early as April! With this schedule, they should be ready for harvesting by July or August. You can also plant these in August for September/October harvesting.
Broccoli is a vegetable that can be planted as early as April/May, and can then be harvested by July.
Brussels sprouts are pants that need to start indoors in May, and are ready for transplant by July/August. Harvest season for them then begins in October.
Both cabbage and Chinese cabbage are zone 5 vegetables and are great in a vegetable garden. These crops need an early start, planted indoors as early as March, and transplanted at the start of June. After that, harvesting begins in July.
Carrots are a favorite vegetable among gardeners and make a great choice to be planted in your vegetable garden. You can plant these seeds outdoors in April/May, and harvest them in July/August.
Cauliflower seedlings should be started indoors in July, to transplant into your garden in August. Harvest season can then begin by the end of September.
Kale can be planted outdoors in April, and harvested as early as May! Alternatively, you can also plant Kale outside in August, for harvesting in October/November.
Lettuce is an easy leafy green found in the zone 5 planting schedule. Start lettuce outdoors in May for June harvesting, or plant outdoors in July for harvesting in August/September.
Onions are good to plant outdoors as early as mid-April, and require weeks and weeks to grow. By July/August they should be ready to harvest out of your garden.
Peas have a shorter window than other vegetables found on the zone 5 planting schedule. To grow the best peas possible, plant outdoors in April/May, for harvest in June.
Pepper plants have a long planting schedule, requiring a whole season to grow! For pepper plants, start seeds indoors in mid-April, and wait to transplant in July. You can then let them grow and harvest at the end of the season in September/October.
Sweet potatoes are delicious, and a great addition to your zone 5 planting schedule. To grow these, plant outside at the start of June, and wait for the end of the season in September/October to harvest.
Tomatoes are popular crops in zone 5. To grow these, start seeds indoors in April, and transplant them in June/July. They can then be harvested just before the season ends, in September.
Guide to Starting Seeds Indoors
As you can see on our list, the key to success with many of the zone 5 crops is starting seeds indoors, to then transplant them later in the season. If you’ve never started seedlings indoors to transplant, this process can feel intimidating, but we promise, it’s easier than you think!
Here’s how you can approach growing plants indoors, to transplant later in the season.
Step One: Gather Your Materials
Before you start your plants indoors, you need to make sure you have the right seed starting supplies for their growth. You’re going to need:
- Seed packets
- Seed pots/cells or seed trays
- Plant markers/labels
- Starter soil
- Plastic wrap
Step Two: Fill Your Pots
Before your transplant, you need to add soil into your seed pots or starting seed tray.
We suggest taking your seed starting soil and getting it wet with water, to ensure it is evenly damp. Once saturated with water and damp, add it to your tray.
Step Three: Plant Your Seedlings
Next, it’s time to finally plant your seeds! Depending on the type of seed you are planting, there are different approaches you can take here.
For example, small plants like basil seeds can simply be placed on top of the soil. For larger vegetables that need darkness to successfully grow, you’ll want to bury the seeds a half-inch under the soil.
Always read the information on your seed packet to determine how you should approach planting. It should have all the info you need to plant your seeds successfully.
Step Four: Label Your Plants
Labeling your newly planted seeds is a crucial step, especially if you want to successfully transplant them later on. You can use small strips of paper placed into the soil with your plant name, or even labels on the pots to properly label what you’ve planted in a given cell.
Step Five: Keep Seeds Moist
Now, it’s time to take care of your plants as they begin the process of growing indoors.
One thing planted seeds like this need to thrive is humidity. To keep seedlings humid, place your seed cells onto something like a disposable roasting pan, covered with a plastic top to act as a humidity dome.
If you don’t have this setup, though, covering your plant tray with plastic wrap is another great way to keep things humid! Just be sure there is at least a little bit of air circulation happening to allow for good oxygenation.
It’s also good to note that in this stage of growing plants, they don’t necessarily need direct sunlight. Instead, prioritize keeping them in an area of your house that is warm.
Step Six: Water as Needed
Now, as your new baby plants grow, it’s time to watch them thrive and water them when they need it! After the initial plant, your seeds should be good to stay without water until they begin to sprout through the soil. The germination process usually takes 3 weeks.
For the most part, you won’t want to fully water, just mist the soil and keep the tray covered. Use a spray bottle to mist the soil at your discretion. If you ever check on your seeds and notice that the soil is dry and no longer damp, that’s your sign that things need a spray.
Step Seven: Give Seeds Light
Once your seeds have germinated and sprouted, you can finally put your baby seedlings in the light! You can also take the opportunity to remove the covering or plastic wrap keeping humidity in.
At this stage you should still keep an eye on the soil, spraying it lightly when no longer wet. Typically you’ll want to spray the soil every other day.
Step Eight: Wait for Transplant Day
Now that your seedlings are happy, you can take care of them and wait to transplant seedlings on transplant day! This date will vary based on the kind of vegetable you are growing indoors and their ideal plant date. Again, check your seed packets and zone 5 planting schedule to find the perfect time.