Zone 4 Vegetable Planting Calendar: What to Grow and When

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If you’re living in hardiness Zone 4, you’re no stranger to chilly winters and a shorter growing season. But don’t let that get you down. With our Zone 4 Vegetable Planting Calendar, you can transform your garden into a veggie paradise.


Living the frosty dream in hardiness Zone 4, are you? No worries, armed with our trusty Zone 4 Vegetable Planting Calendar, your garden can still be your personal Eden.

What is Hardiness Zone 4?

So what exactly is Zone 4? It’s an area stamped by the USDA, where the winter temps dip between a brisk -30 and -20°F. That means we’ve got short but action-packed growing seasons to work with!

Planting Calendar for Zone 4

VegetableSow SeedsIndoors/OutdoorsTransplant
Brussel SproutsFebruaryIndoorsApril
Collard GreensMarchIndoorsApril
Mustard GreensAprilOutdoorsN/A
Squash (Summer)AprilIndoorsMay
Squash (Winter)AprilIndoorsMay
Swiss ChardMarchIndoorsApril

(*) not recommended to be started from seed.
(**) not recommended for planting in this hardiness zone.

Keep in mind that the suggestions provided are broad guidelines and may differ depending on the specific variety of plants and local weather conditions. Always take into account elements such as the first and last frost dates, soil warmth, and the duration of daylight when organizing your garden.

Initiating the growth of seeds inside can prolong your growing period, thereby broadening the variety of vegetables that can be effectively cultivated in cooler zones. Indoor sowing also offers a more regulated setting, which could lead to the development of more robust and vigorous plants.

What States are in Zone 4?

  • Montana
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • New York
  • New Hampshire
  • Maine

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Please note that only some portions of these states fall within Zone 4. Due to the localized nature of climate, it’s essential to consult the interactive USDA Hardiness Zone map to determine the specific hardiness zone for your given area.

Vegetable Gardening in Zone 4

Recommended Vegetables

When you’re working with a Zone 4 Vegetable Planting Calendar, your choices aren’t as limited as you might think.

  • Cabbage: A cool-weather crop that’s ideal for Zone 4. Plant in both the spring and fall for two harvests in a year. Bonus: they’re pretty hardy and resist frost well.
  • Radishes: One of the quickest growers around! You can even squeeze in multiple plantings during the growing season. Direct sow as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring.
  • Carrots: These root veggies enjoy the cooler soil temperatures of Zone 4. Sow them directly into the ground in early spring and reap the sweet, crunchy benefits.
  • Peas: A perfect early-spring vegetable. Plant as soon as the ground thaws, and you’ll have fresh peas in no time.
  • Kale: Another frost-resistant champ. Start in the early spring for a summer harvest, and keep it growing into the fall for a continued supply.
  • Lettuce: One of the most versatile greens, you can start lettuce early in the spring and continue planting throughout the season for a continuous supply.
  • Beets:These thrive in cooler temperatures and can be planted in both spring and fall. The leaves are also edible and packed with nutrients.
  • Swiss Chard: A leafy green that’s both heat and cold-tolerant. Plant in early spring and harvest leaves as needed throughout the season.

By focusing on these veggies that are well-suited for Zone 4 conditions, you can have a thriving, productive garden despite the shorter growing season. So consult our Zone 4 Vegetable Planting Calendar and start plotting your garden’s future!

Indoor Sowing

Kicking off the growth of specific veggies indoors can add a few extra weeks to your overall growing timeline. You see, some plants, like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, are like the marathon runners of the vegetable world; they need a long time to reach their full potential. So, by giving them an early start inside, you’re setting them up for a winning season.

Tips for Indoor Sowing:

Succession Planting

Ever heard of succession planting? It’s like the Netflix binge-watching of gardening. As soon as one crop is done, you start another right away. Quick-growing veggies like radishes and lettuce are perfect for this. You’ll get continuous harvests all season, which is a big win in a short growing season like Zone 4’s.

Season Extension Techniques for Hardiness Zone 4


Greenhouses are covered spaces built from glass or plastic, offering a regulated setting where plants can thrive.


  • Controlled environment: Temperature, humidity, and light can be controlled.
  • Longer growing season: Grow warm-season plants earlier and keep cold-season plants growing later.
  • Pest control: Easier to manage pests in a sealed environment.

Best Practices

  • Maintain adequate ventilation to prevent overheating.
  • Regularly check for pests and diseases.
  • Use shade cloth in summer to prevent too much direct sunlight.

Cold Frames

Cold frames are box-shaped enclosures with a clear top, typically placed right over your plants on the ground.


  • Cost-effective: Generally cheaper than a greenhouse.
  • Easy to build: Can be DIY’d with recycled materials.
  • Good for hardening off plants: A transition zone before planting out.

Best Practices

  • Place in a sunny, south-facing location.
  • Open the top on warm days to avoid overheating.
  • Use insulating materials like straw for added warmth.

High Tunnels

High tunnels, sometimes called hoop houses, stand taller than cold frames and generally consist of a metal skeleton wrapped in plastic.


  • Extends growing season: Similar to greenhouses but less expensive.
  • Versatile: Good for a variety of crops, including tall plants like tomatoes.
  • Weather protection: Protects from excessive rain, wind, and frost.

Best Practices

  • Ensure proper anchoring to withstand wind.
  • Use roll-up sides for ventilation.
  • Rotate crops to prevent soil depletion.

Floating Row Covers

Row covers are featherlight sheets crafted from materials like spun polyester or polypropylene, laid directly atop your plants.


  • Lightweight: Easy to install and remove.
  • Pest deterrent: Acts as a physical barrier to some pests.
  • Frost protection: Can protect plants from light frosts.

Best Practices

  • Use hoops or stakes to keep covers off delicate plants.
  • Secure the edges to prevent wind from lifting them.
  • Choose the right weight/thickness for the crop and season.


Hotbeds are essentially cold frames with a heat source, commonly using either manure or electric heating cables to provide extra warmth.


  • Speeds up germination: Provides a warm environment for seedlings.
  • Dual functionality: Can serve as a cold frame with added heat.
  • Good for sensitive plants: Ideal for plants that require higher temperatures.

Best Practices

  • Monitor temperature closely to avoid overheating.
  • Use insulating materials for efficiency.
  • Place in a location with good drainage to avoid waterlogging.

By understanding the benefits and best practices for each season extension technique, you’ll be better equipped to make the most of your Zone 4 Vegetable Planting Calendar and enjoy a longer, more fruitful growing season.

Tips for Successful Gardening in Zone 4

  • Consult Your Zone 4 Vegetable Planting Calendar: Knowing when to sow and transplant is crucial for maximizing your growing season.
  • Check Last Frost Dates: Always consult local frost dates before planting.
  • Use Season Extenders: Utilize greenhouses, cold frames, or row covers to gain extra growing weeks.
  • Practice Crop Rotation: Changing where you plant certain crops each year can prevent soil depletion and reduce disease risks.
  • Stay Ahead of Pests and Diseases: Keep an eye out for early signs of trouble, and treat your garden as needed to keep things healthy.

What Not to Grow in Zone 4

  • Tropical and Subtropical Plants: Think twice before trying to grow things like citrus trees or tropical fruits; they’re not suited for Zone 4.
  • Watermelons: These need a long, hot growing season, which is something Zone 4 can’t reliably provide.
  • Okra: A Southern staple that really doesn’t like the cold. Better to avoid disappointment and steer clear.
  • Sweet Potatoes: These also need a long, warm growing season, making them a risky choice for Zone 4 gardens.
  • Heat-Loving Herbs: Herbs like rosemary and bay laurel prefer more temperate climates and usually won’t overwinter well.
  • Certain Pepper Varieties: While some peppers can grow in Zone 4, especially with a head start indoors, many hot pepper varieties require a longer, warmer season.

By being aware of what not to grow, you can focus your efforts and resources on plants that have a good chance of thriving, making your garden as successful as possible. Stick to the Zone 4 Vegetable Planting Calendar to avoid disappointment.


So, there you have it! A complete guide to making the most out of your Zone 4 vegetable garden. With the right planning, the right plants, and maybe a little help from some season extenders, you can have a fruitful garden even in the chilliest of climates.

Now, let’s get those green thumbs to work and make this the best gardening season yet!

FAQ: Zone 4 Vegetable Planting Calendar

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