When to Start Planting in the North Country

veg_lardeAs I look out my (home) office window I see the grass greening up, yet the ground is still a little cool to plant any warm season vegetables, like tomatoes, peppers and corn. However, if your garden has dried out enough you could plant a few onions and peas and perhaps in a week some other cool season crops, such as beets, broccoli and cabbage. And of course it’s a great time to plant trees, shrubs and perennial flowers.

Here is a close look at some things you can plant now and in the coming days and weeks ahead.

From April 28 to May 15 (and beyond for some plants)


From seeds or sets: onions, beets, peas, strawberries, asparagus (from roots). Carrots and rutabagas can wait a couple of weeks as they grow well into the fall where they get their sweetness. Potatoes can be started in about another week. Just be sure to cover the foliage with soil if there is a chance of frost. You can also start these crops in about a week if the weather warms up and you can find them locally: broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, kohlrabi, Brussel sprouts.


Any perennials and also (annual) pansies. All other annual flowers, such as petunias and marigolds you’ll have to wait (see below for recommendations on when to plant annuals in this country).

Trees and shrubs:

This is an excellent time to plant any trees or shrubs zoned for your area, especially bare-root trees you may have gotten from the conservation district. If you’re buying from some of the big box stores make sure they’re hardy for our zone 4 area. It should say on the tag, if not, let me know and I’ll look it up for you.

From May 15 until the end of June


Continue to plant the cool season crops mentioned above. This is a better time to plant rutabaga to keep them from getting too large. This is actually a little safer time to plant potatoes as well.

Trees and shrubs:

It’s a little more risky to plant bare-root trees and shrubs after the 15th, but a great time to plant and trees and shrubs that come in containers.


This is still a good time to plant perennials, in fact you can plant them all season long, but it is better to plant when the weather is still cool and there is moisture in the ground.

Be careful with the annuals! You may wish to set out some containers of annuals for Memorial Day weekend and such, just look out for frost (32 degrees or below). Pansies are the exception as they can take a light frost. The nice thing about containers is they can be brought in if the weather man is warning of frost.

June 1st to about June 10th

I normally wait until the first of June, regardless of what the weather looks like outside, to plant warm season crops, including corn, tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, pumpkin and especially cucumbers. If I plant too early I’ll have a lot to cover if there is a frost warning.

I hope this helps, leave me a comment if I’ve left anything out.

Happy gardening,


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