seed packets
Image by Sandy Repp

A variety of seeds are available free-of-charge each spring at the CCE-Tompkins seed cabinets!

Veggie Planting Dates Q&A

Vegetable Planting Dates

By Pat Curran, Horticulture Educator, Tompkins County Cooperative Extension

Question: Is it the right time to plant my veggies?

It is the right time to plant some veggies, but not all. Vegetables can be grouped into three categories, depending on their resistance to frost and cold weather. Some like peas and spinach can take light frosts. Others, like tomatoes and beans, will be killed by frost. The third group (cucumbers, squash, and melons, among others) should not be planted until the soil warms up. They will not only be killed by frost, but may be permanently damaged by temperatures in the thirties, even if there isn't a frost.

For a chart listing the three groups of veggies, go to the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County website. Paste this into your browser, and it will take you right there:

Keep in mind that downtown Ithaca is about a whole growing zone warmer than the rest of Tompkins County. Downtown residents have about 2 extra weeks of frost-free weather at each end of the growing season. It never hurts, however, to keep an eye on the weather and be prepared with covers to throw over the plants when frost does threaten. Covers may include cardboard boxes, old sheets and blankets, or commercially available rowcover, but avoid sheet plastic.

Veggie seedlings are just one of the many kinds of plants that (are) available at the Annual Garden Fair & Plant Sale, sponsored each May by the Master Gardeners at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County (see Calendar for this year's date and location).

Fore more information on gardeing, including vegetables, consult the Cornell gardening website or call the horticultural hotline at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County at 272-2292.

Last updated January 29, 2021