Planting In Zone 5: What To Plan In The Spring

Spring, specifically the middle of April onwards, brings about the gardening season for USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 5. I look forward to these times of the year when I can start to plant seeds and cool-weather crops. Spring is the time for you to prepare your garden beds and soil, plant your vegetables and crops, and look forward to the warmer, summer weather that brings a bountiful harvest. So planting in zone 5: what to plan in spring that I will share more details on this post.

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Knowing Your Frost Date

Before you determine what you should plant, you have to know your frost date. The USDA divides up the nation into Hardiness Zones. Each of the areas that share a zone have the same first and final frost date.  Use this date to determine when you will plant your seeds and seedlings.

For zone 5, the last expected frost date is between the end April and end of May. The specific date typically falls on May 11th, but it is important to remember that is just an estimate. There is no way they can set one date when frost never occurs past it. It is important for gardeners to watch the weather.

Plot What to Plant

Cool weather crops can be planted before your frost date. Check the back of your seed package which will tell you the specific time frame to plant the seeds. For example, tomato plants should be started inside four to eight weeks before your final frost date. On the other hand, cabbage seedlings should be planted two to three weeks before your final frost date, which means you need to start them indoors a few weeks before that date.

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What You Can Plant in the Spring

Now that spring is upon us in Zone 5, it is time to start planting, but what can you plant?

  • Asparagus – Plant the crowns outside anytime in April or May. Asparagus won’t mature and produce until the second season, but you might be able to harvest a few in spears in the first season.
  • Beets – Plant the seeds in the ground in April or several weeks before the final frost date. Before you plant, make sure the temperature of the soil is at least 40 F. Beets only like cool weather and won’t do well in hot weather.
  • Broccoli – Broccoli seedlings can be planted outside two to three weeks before the final frost date. Start your seeds indoors six to seven weeks beforehand. Broccoli can handle a slight frost once you hardened it off. Cover if a hard frost is expected.
  • Brussel Sprouts – Brussel sprouts can safely go outside two to three weeks before the final frost date. Start the seeds inside five to six weeks before your final frost date. Brussel sprouts taste better if they experience a frost or two.
  • Cabbage – Cabbages love cool weather. Start the seeds inside six to eight weeks before the final frost date. As soon as you hardened the seedlings, you can move them outside. Cabbages are very tolerant of frost.
  • Cauliflower – Cauliflower is just like broccoli, so the same rules apply. Start the seeds inside five to six weeks before you plan to move the plants outside, which should be two to three weeks before the final frost date.
  • Carrot – You can plant carrot seeds directly outside two to three weeks before your final frost. Night temperatures should be around 55 F, and daytime temperatures should be around 74 F.
  • Celery – Celery takes a long time to grow. Begin the seeds inside 8 to 12 weeks before the final frost date. Move them outside two to three weeks before the final frost. Make sure the temperatures are consistently above 50 F because celery is sensitive.
  • Kale – Start your kale seeds indoors to get an early start. When you transfer outside, the soil temperatures should be 60 to 65 F. Kale prefers cool, but not cold or hot weather.
  • Kohlrabi – Start your plants inside four to six weeks before you want to set them outside. Put them outside along with the rest of your spring crops.
  • Lettuce – Plant lettuce seeds directly in the ground early in the spring, so long as the soil is workable. The temperatures should be between 45 and 65 F. Seedlings can tolerate a light frost.
  • Mustard Greens – You can start mustard greens inside, but starting from seeds is easy. Start them outside three weeks before your final frost. Then, plant every three weeks for a continuous harvest.
  • Peas – Plant pea seeds directly outside two to three weeks before the final frost. Peas are forgiving, so you can plant earlier or later. The soil should be at least 45 F. Make sure the soil is moist.
  • Potato – Put your potato tubers outside three weeks beforehand. The soil temperature should be between 60 and 70 F.
  • Radishes – Radishes can go outside whenever you plant your carrots, which is around three weeks before the final frost.
  • Spinach – Spinach is another green you need in your spring garden! Start the seeds indoors several weeks before you want to plant. Set them outside two to three weeks before the last frost. You can put them out earlier. Make sure the soil is workable.
  • Turnips – Plant your turnips in the ground any time before the final frost. Make sure you put them in a spot with full sun.
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Warm Weather Crops

Warm weather crops still need to be planted in the spring, but you must wait until the threat of frost passes. Spring doesn’t officially end until the end of June!

Once the threat of frost passes, you can start planting other crops. By this time, all of the plants you previously planted will be well-established. You might even have a small harvest of radishes, depending on the variety you planted. Once you are past the final frost date, you can plant:

  • Bush Beans
  • Pole Beans
  • Cantaloupe
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    Corn
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    Cucumber
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    Eggplant
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    Okra
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    Peppers
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    Sweet Potatoes
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    Tomatoes
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    Squash
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    Watermelon

Along with these fantastic crops, you can also plant most herbs after the last frost. Spring is a busy time for those of us living in Zone 5. Get to work! We only have a short time to get all these plants into the ground for a proper harvest.

Planting In Zone 5: What To Plan In The Spring
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Tina Martino
 

My passion is gardening. Along with my husband and children, each year we grow a garden large enough to provide our family of five with over half of our needed produce. Besides vegetables and a small berry patch, I also focus my attention on beautifying our home with strategically placed flowers, herbs, and flowering plants. Gardening is more than just a hobby; it is a way of life.