Spring Planting Tips for Minnesota

Cool Season Vegetables

These vegetables grow best in cool temperatures (60°F to 80°F). A second planting mid-summer produces a fall harvest.

Hardy Vegetables

Crops: broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, onions, lettuce, peas, radish, spinach, turnips

Temperatures: Hardy vegetables grow with daytime temperatures as low as 40°F and may survive a frosty nip.
These crops you can plant 2-4 weeks before the last frost. Be sure to start your seeds (hyperlink) early or purchase starts from Jim Whiting’s Nursery and Garden Center. (Hyperlink)

Semi-Hardy Vegetables

Crops: beets, carrots, cauliflower, parsley, parsnips, potatoes, and Swiss chard

Temperatures: Semi-hardy vegetables grow with minimum daytime temperatures of 40°F to 50°F, but are less tolerant of a frosty night. Be sure to protect these vegetables when late spring frost warnings emerge.
These semi-hardy vegetables produce best when planted 0-2 weeks before the last frost.

Tender Vegetables

Crops: beans, celery, corn, cucumbers, New Zealand spinach, and summer squash

Temperatures: Tender vegetables grow with a daytime temperature of 55°F or higher, and are intolerant of frost.
These crops should be planted from seed no later than the date of the last frost. Wait to transplant until the last frost has passed.

Very Tender Vegetables

Crops: lima beans, cantaloupe, eggplant, pepper, pumpkin, winter squash and pumpkins, tomato, and watermelon

Temperatures: Very tender vegetables are completely intolerant of frost, and also cool spring winds. They need daytime temperatures above 60°F and temperatures of 70°F to 95°F. A week of daytime temperatures below 55°F, may stunt the crop. If this occurs, be sure to protect your very tender vegetables with appropriate protection.
Tender veggies should be transplanted at a temperature of 60 degrees or above. They do not tolerate cool spring breezes or cool soil temperatures.

Planting Considerations:

Germination temperature – Plant when soils reach a minimum temperature of 60 degrees or above. To be safe, measure the soil temperature at a depth of 4 inches and 6 inches at 8:00 AM. Beans require the soil to be 60 degrees 6 inches deep.

Plant spacing – Always follow recommendations for plant spacing as provided. If you have questions, please contact us. (hyperlink to contact us page)

Cool Season Crops– Cool season crops prefer a cool soil. Mulching will cool the soil, and prevent weed germination while conserving water. Apply 2-4 inches of mulch to garden beds.


Transplanted Cool Crops –Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts germinate best in warm soil. They are typically started from transplants in the spring. (photo of our transplants)

Transplanting Vine Crops –Cucumbers, squash, melons need care when being transplanted. When using transplants, select small, young plants, not more than 2-3 weeks from seeding.

Tomato family transplants– Minnesota has a short growing season, so tomatoes are typically transplanted. Choose varieties that best serve your family for cooking, canning or eating.

Planting Temperature Guide (I think this should be early in the blog ….. possibly as a print friendly chart? provided by Jim Whiting’s or a hyperlink to more information like the zone chart)

April 9th 2016 -90% chance of freezing.
April 16th 2016 – 80% chance of freezing
April 23th 2016- 70% chance of freezing
April 30th 2016- 60% chance of freezing
May 5th 2016- 50% chance of freezing
May 7th 2016- 40% Chance of freezing
May 14th 2016- 30% chance of freezing
May 21st 2016- 20% chance of freezing