Spring, Jump and Leap Into the Vegetable Garden!

Kathryn Fontenot  |  3/30/2017 3:22:31 PM

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Gardeners get ready! Spring is one of the busiest seasons for vegetable gardeners. Pending how much rain your yard received, you may or may not have had time to turn over the garden soil and prepare rows. Gardeners get this completed before mid-March in south Louisiana and early April in north Louisiana. These are our average last frost dates. Recognize that late freezes can and do occur. If the local weather person is predicting a late freeze, push your planting dates back to after the freeze.

Vegetables to Plant

…in March

Direct-plant snap bean, Swiss chard, radish, lettuce, collard, mustard, turnip and sweet corn seeds into the ground. Plant tomato, pepper and eggplant transplants after March 15 in south Louisiana and April 1 in north Louisiana. Cantaloupes, squash, cucumbers and watermelons really need warmer soils to perform their best. Make sure all frost is over before planting these. Technically, you can use the same dates given for other crops (March 15 and April 1), but to be on the safe side, you might wait a week or two extra for these.

...in April

Plant snap beans, butter beans, radish, collards, cucumber, eggplant, cantaloupe, okra, Southern peas (field peas), peanuts, pumpkin (for a really early harvest), winter squash, summer squash, sweet corn, sweet potatoes (late April), tomatoes (transplants), peppers (transplants) and watermelon. Remember that most pumpkins require 90-120 days to reach full maturity, and some giant pumpkins may even require up to 160 days before they are ready to be harvested. These days must all be frost-free. If you are aiming to harvest pumpkins at or a little before Halloween, adjust your planting date according to the variety of pumpkin you are planting. Giant pumpkins should be planted earlier, but typically, small to medium pumpkins are planted late June to the first week of July for a Halloween harvest.

...in May

Most spring vegetables can be planted in May, since the soil has warmed and danger of frost has passed. Plant sweet potatoes (transplants), okra, Southern peas, pumpkin, peanuts, sweet corn, watermelon, cucumber, butter beans, squash, cantaloupe, collard and eggplant (transplants). Snap beans, butter beans, sweet corn, tomatoes and peppers (transplants) should be planted in the early days of May to prevent poor fruit set as a result of high temperatures. Sweet corn seed should also be planted early because worm control becomes more difficult as the season progresses.


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