Sunday, February 2, 2014

What Can I Plant Now?

Gardeners have been calling the Extension office, from the beginning of January, wanting to know what they can plant NOW. Even when the ground was frozen and the forecast was for a drop down around 10 degrees F, the lengthening days, like a siren song that they couldn't tune out, made them pick up the phone, call, and ask. Luckily, they ended up speaking with me, another gardener gone deaf to nearly all except the need to begin the new year of planting.

For those who can't wait, I've assembled a couple of timetables. The first one is pulled from UGA's Vegetable Planting Chart. The dates on the original chart are for "middle Georgia" (somewhere around Macon); I've shifted the dates by a couple of weeks to reflect our later warming here in Cobb County.

UGA planting dates
Feb 1- April 1
Mar 1 – Apr 15
Mar 1 – Apr 1
Mar 1 – Apr 1
Feb 1 – Apr 5
Mar 15 - Apr 15
Feb 15 – Apr 1
Feb 15 – Mar 25
Feb 1 – Mar 15
Onions, green
Jan 15 – Apr 1
Onions, dry bulb
Jan 15 – Apr 1
Peas, garden
Feb 1 – Mar 1
Peas, edible pod
Feb 1 – Mar 1
Potatoes, Irish
Feb 1 – Mar 15
Feb 1 – Apr 15
Feb 1- April 1
Feb 1 – Apr 15

The second timetable, though not actually in table form, is from John Jeavons' book "How to Grow MoreVegetables ..."

6-8 weeks before last frost ( Feb 15 - March 1), start in flats:
broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, parsley, tomatoes
5 weeks before last frost (Mar 1- 15), start in flats:
carrot, beets
bump up the lettuce seedlings to larger containers
4 weeks before last frost (5-20 March):
sprout/chit potatoes
bump up the parsley
3 weeks before last frost (15-30 March), start in flats:
peas, spinach
bump up seedlings for broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower
2 weeks before last frost (25 Mar – 1 Apr), start in flats:
dill, eggplants, peppers
transplant to garden:
broccoli, Brussels sprouts, peas, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, beets, lettuce, spinach
plant garlic, onions, radishes

A careful reader might notice that the two timetables don't exactly match. This means that a gardener will need to experiment a little and choose for him or herself the best planting times.

One of the helpful features of the Jeavons' timetable is that it includes times for bumping up and transplanting seedlings, very useful information for those of us who DIY our garden transplants. One of the hilarious features is the inclusion of carrots as a crop to transplant. I've tried it --- it's possible -- but the carrots come out all bent and mangled.

Also, I usually bump up my tomatoes - and start my peppers - much earlier than indicated in his timetable. (He bumps up tomatoes - from the flat to pots - on the last frost date, which I count as about April 12-15.)

For my yard, parts of the UGA timetable seem a little early, but my yard is in a hole and stays cooler longer than much of the rest of the county. Other parts of the UGA schedule seem late. For example,  I can't imagine planting collard greens as late as April 1!

For peas, I use an indicator plant; I plant peas when the trout lilies are blooming in my yard. The leaves of those native wildflowers aren't even poking up above the soil yet, so this year the peas may get planted a little later than normal. Irish potatoes usually get planted in my yard in mid-March, and my onions and garlic get planted in late October or early November.

Based on both timetables, and all the possible timetables gleaned from other, local gardeners, there is plenty to start working with in terms of spring planting, beginning now. I hope the information is helpful!



  1. Thanks so much! This was really helpful!

  2. Happy to be able to help! I have loved all the calls to the office from gardeners who are ready to start the spring garden Right This Minute, but it occurred to me that publishing a schedule might be useful. I hope that your spring garden gets off to a good start! -Amy


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