Zone 5 Vegetable Planting Calendar: Your Ultimate Guide

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If you’ve been scratching your head wondering when to sow those carrot seeds or transplant those tomato seedlings, you’re in the right place. Welcome to your go-to guide, the Zone 5 Vegetable Planting Calendar.


We’re about to dive deep into everything you need to know to make your Zone 5 garden an oasis of edible delights. So, grab your trowel and let’s get growing!

What is Hardiness Zone 5?

Let’s get clear on what Zone 5 actually means. The USDA Hardiness Zone Map divides North America into zones based on average annual extreme minimum temperatures. Zone 5 can get chilly but offers a generous growing season with average lows hitting between -20 to -10°F. Not exactly tropical, but hey, you can grow a lot more than just ice sculptures!

Planting Schedule for Zone 5

VegetableSow SeedsIndoor/OutdoorTransplant
Brussel SproutsFebruary-MarchIndoorsApril-May
Collard GreensFebruary-MarchIndoorsApril-May
Mustard GreensAprilOutdoorsN/A
Squash (Summer)April-MayOutdoorsN/A
Squash (Winter)April-MayOutdoorsN/A
Swiss ChardMarch-AprilOutdoorsN/A

(*) not recommended to be started from seed
(**)Not recommended to be grown in this hardiness zone

This calendar is intended to serve as a guideline and should be adapted according to local conditions, as well as the specific varieties you choose to grow. It’s always a good idea to consult local resources or experts for the most accurate information tailored to your area.

What States are in Zone 5?

NebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew Mexico
New YorkOhioOregonPennsylvania
South DakotaUtahVermontVirginia
WashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

Just a heads-up, only certain parts of these states are actually in Zone 5. Climate can be pretty picky, even within the same state. So, do yourself a favor and check out the interactive USDA Hardiness Zone map to pinpoint your area’s exact zone.

Vegetable Gardening in Zone 5

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Alright, you’ve got the dirt on what Zone 5 is, and maybe you’re already dreaming about the lush vegetable patch you’re going to create. Our Zone 5 Vegetable Planting Calendar is full of goodies but these are the superstars that absolutely love Zone 5.

Recommended Vegetables

  • Tomatoes: Juicy, versatile, and perfect for that homemade pasta sauce or fresh salad.
  • Lettuce: Easy to grow and you’ll get that farm-to-table salad experience.
  • Peppers: From sweet bells to sizzling hot, these love the Zone 5 climate.
  • Spinach: Your go-to leafy green that thrives in cooler temps.
  • Peas: Great climbers, and kids love picking them right off the vine.
  • Carrots: Perfect for sandy soil and they’re great storage crops.
  • Radishes: Super quick to mature, great for beginner gardeners.

Indoor Sowing

Getting a head start on growing certain veggies indoors can stretch your growing season by a few valuable weeks. Take tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants for instance, they’re the long-distance athletes of the plant realm, needing extra time to fully mature. By sowing their seeds inside ahead of time, you’re basically giving them a head start in the race to a bountiful harvest.

Tips for Indoor Sowing

Succession Planting

Ever heard of succession planting? The moment one crop wraps up, you sow the next set of seeds. Fast-growers like radishes and lettuce are ideal candidates. This approach gives you a steady stream of fresh produce throughout the season. Imagine a never-ending salad bar right in your backyard!

Season Extension Techniques for Hardiness Zone 5

The party doesn’t have to end when the first frost hits. Let’s extend that Zone 5 Vegetable Planting Calendar, shall we?


What are they

Imagine a greenhouse as a cozy, climate-controlled bubble for your plants, made from either glass or plastic.


  • Control the temperature, humidity, and lighting conditions.
  • Extend Your Growing Season: Start warm-season plants early and keep those cool-season crops going longer.
  • Easier Pest Management: A sealed-off area makes it simpler to handle those annoying bugs.

Best Practices

  • Make sure you’ve got good ventilation to avoid turning your greenhouse into a plant sauna.
  • Be a Plant Doctor: Stay vigilant for signs of pests or diseases. Regular check-ups are a must.
  • Sun Protection: Use a shade cloth during the dog days of summer to fend off excessive sunlight.

Cold Frames

What are they

Think of cold frames as mini greenhouses, shaped like boxes with transparent lids, set directly over your plants in the garden.


  • Usually more budget-friendly than a full-on greenhouse.
  • DIY-Friendly: You can totally build one using upcycled stuff.
  • They’re the ideal stepping stone for hardening off plants before their garden debut.

Best Practices

  • Position your cold frame facing south for max sunlight.
  • Pop open the lid on warmer days so you don’t roast your plants.
  • Layer in some straw or other insulating materials for extra warmth.

High Tunnels

What are they

Also known as hoop houses, high tunnels are like the taller siblings of cold frames, usually made from a metal framework enveloped in plastic.


  • Think of them as a more affordable version of a greenhouse that still extends your growing season.
  • Versatile enough to accommodate a range of crops, even the towering ones like tomatoes.
  • These structures offer a buffer against heavy rain, gusty winds, and frosty temps.

Best Practices

  • Make sure it’s firmly secured to withstand any strong winds.
  • Opt for roll-up sides to get good airflow and keep temps in check.
  • Rotate your crops regularly to avoid exhausting the soil.

Floating Row Covers

What are they

Picture row covers as ultra-light blankets made from stuff like spun polyester or polypropylene, draped right over your garden beds.


  • A breeze to put on and take off.
  • Serves as a physical wall against certain pests.
  • Offers a layer of protection against light frost.

Best Practices

  • Use hoops or stakes to keep the covers from squashing more fragile plants.
  • Secure those edges so a gusty day doesn’t blow them away.
  • Choose the right thickness based on the crop you’re growing and the season.


What are they

Hotbeds are raised beds with a layer of organic material that generates heat as it decomposes.


  • Speeds up germination
  • Extends growing season

Best Practices

  • Use straw or manure for the bottom layer
  • Top with a layer of soil

Tips for Successful Gardening in Zone 5

Ah, Zone 5! You’ve got a mix of chilly winters and warm summers, so you’re a gardener who’s got to be on their toes. But hey, no worries, I’ve got some solid advice to help you navigate the quirks of gardening in this unique climate.

Start with Good Soil

First things first, don’t underestimate the power of great soil. Spend some time (and yes, maybe a bit of money) getting it just right. You’re aiming for a well-drained, loamy wonderland. You can even get it tested to find out its pH and nutrient levels, and then amend as needed.

Know When to Water

Watering might seem simple, but in Zone 5, it’s all about timing. Early morning is often your best bet to minimize evaporation and disease. And remember, most veggies prefer deep, infrequent watering to shallow, frequent sprinkles. This encourages deeper root growth, which is particularly important in a climate with variable rainfall.

Choose the Right Varieties

Not every plant is cut out for life in Zone 5. Stick to varieties that are known to perform well in your zone. Trust me, this one move can save you a whole lot of gardening grief. For example, short-season tomatoes and cold-hardy greens are usually a solid choice.

Use Mulch Strategically

In Zone 5, mulch is your best friend. It helps retain soil moisture, suppresses weeds, and can even improve soil quality over time. Organic mulches like straw or wood chips are typically a good bet.

Get a Jump Start on the Season

Think about starting seeds indoors or investing in cold frames to extend your growing season. It might seem like extra work, but it’ll pay off when you’re munching on homegrown tomatoes while your neighbors are still staring at green fruit.

Beware of Last Frost Dates

In Zone 5, frost can be tricky. Always keep an eye on the forecast and be prepared to protect your tender plants if a late frost threatens. A simple row cover or even an old bedsheet can make all the difference. Be sure and check for your first and last frost dates.

What Not to Grow in Zone 5

  • Okra
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Most Citrus Trees

Yeah, not everything loves the Zone 5 life. Stick to our Zone 5 Vegetable Planting Calendar, and you’ll be golden.


And there you have it! With the right techniques, our Zone 5 Vegetable Planting Calendar is jam-packed with possibilities. Happy gardening, and may your harvests be plentiful!

FAQ: Zone 5 Vegetable Planting Calendar

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