Massachusetts Vegetable Planting Calendar (MA): Month Wise Garden Guide for Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, Zone 5, Zone 6, and Zone 7

If you’re ready to start planning a garden, remember that it’s better to be pleased with a little harvest than to be disappointed with a massive one. A garden first needs a plan. You should decide what kinds of plants you want to grow there before you worry about where they will go or how big it has to be in your Massachusetts home garden.

Massachusetts Vegetable Planting Calendar (MA)
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Below we learn the Massachusetts vegetable planting calendar, the month-by-month schedule for growing vegetables in Massachusetts, a seasonal vegetable gardening guide for Massachusetts, what vegetables to grow in Massachusetts, and the hardiness zones of Massachusetts. 

Massachusetts vegetable planting calendar (MA)

When should I plant my vegetable garden in Massachusetts?

To grow delicious fruits, veggies, and herbs in your garden, you first need to decide what you want to plant and where on your land you want to grow it. This varies widely according to personal preference, available time, and quantity of sunshine in the garden. The size of your land is a factor, but some individuals are content with a small selection of veggies, while others would want to fill their whole yard with lush plants. Think about when you can start gathering produce.

When limited to a small number of plant species, it’s more efficient to produce blooming companions. However, if you’re looking to grow a wide variety of edibles and don’t mind harvesting throughout the year, switching up when your plants bloom is the way to go. Grow kale from May to July, lettuce from April to late July, broccoli from April to August, eggplant from May to June, peppers from May to June, tomatoes from May to June, celery from March to August, Brussels sprouts from April to June, and cauliflower from March to August.

Planting seeds directly in the garden may be the best option for certain plants, while others may benefit more from being started inside and then moved outside as the weather warms up. Planting similar fruits and veggies together in a big garden will simplify harvesting. And don’t forget that gardening may be a rewarding family project if you include the little ones.

When can you start tomatoes in Massachusetts?

Planting tomatoes need a warm climate. Early spring blossom drop and summer blossom drop, in which daytime temperatures are over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and nighttime temperatures are above 76 degrees Fahrenheit, are both possible. Tomatoes need a long growing season and temperatures between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Therefore, in Massachusetts gardens, they are planted as transplants after the threat of frost has passed. Based on where you are in the state, this can be any time between the first week of May and the second week of June. Purchase plants from garden retailers or sow seeds within 6-8 weeks before the last spring frost.

What garden zone is Massachusetts?

Massachusetts mainly has a humid continental climate, and the state’s regions only have two separate planting zones. It has scorching summers and freezing winters. The Berkshires are a popular tourist destination because of their mild year-round climate, whereas the coastal areas are often warmer. Temperatures drop to about 16 degrees on average during the snowy winter months, while summers reach an average of around 80 degrees.

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Spinach garden
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Temperatures near the coast often rise above freezing in January, making for a far more bearable winter season than inland areas of the state. Generally speaking, plants in Massachusetts do best in hardiness zones between 5a and 7b. The “growing zones,” called “plant hardiness zones,” help predict which plants will survive and flourish in a particular environment. Find your planting zone using an online Massachusetts map. What and when you plant depends greatly on the growth zone in which you live.

The earliest and final frost dates in a specific zone are used to establish the planting window for that zone. Planting zones in western Massachusetts range between 5a and 5b because of the region’s very harsh and unpredictable winters, whereas zones in eastern Massachusetts range between 4a and 4b. During the colder months, your garden should still be thriving if you planted only hardy plants that are rated as such by the USDA.

Even in the coldest parts of the state, hardy plants in USDA Hardiness Zones 1 through 5 should survive and even flourish (zone 5a). Sedums, ferns, and a wide variety of hostas are just a few of the lovely perennials that do well here. Plants that thrive here include echinacea (purple cone flowers), daylilies, black-eyed Susans, and Siberian irises. Radishes, potatoes, and carrots flourish in Massachusetts’ warm summers.

Keep in mind that the absence of a warm, extended growing season is the main reason sweet potatoes struggle in this region. Wheat, corn, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, and peas are just a few examples of high-yield crops; in the cooler temperatures and nutrient-rich, wet soil of a seasonal Massachusetts garden, brassicas like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli flourish.

How long is the growing season in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts has short to extended growing seasons. Dates after the last expected frost, often between March 1 and May 15, are considered the typical start date. Between September 1 to November 30, the first frost of autumn can occur, officially ending the growing season.

What is the last frost date in Massachusetts?

A frost map, which shows when the earliest and final frosts are expected to occur in a particular area, is an invaluable resource for garden planners. Your chances of gardening success will increase if you consider both the hardiness zone of the plants you intend to grow and the expected frost dates. Most of the state of Massachusetts has its final frost between May 1 and May 15. 

The last frost dates occur between April 16 and April 30 in a tiny southern Cape of Massachusetts region. Various locations in northwest Massachusetts had later than average last frost dates, from May 16 and May 31. Beginning on September 1st and ending on September 30th, western Massachusetts has its first frost. The eastern part of the Bay State has its first frost between October 1 and 15.

What vegetables are easy to grow in Massachusetts?

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when trying to plan your first vegetable garden in Massachusetts. It might not be easy to narrow down the numerous delicious vegetable selections available. Carrots, peas, onions, potatoes, and spinach are just a few vegetables that grow particularly well in the colder climate typical of Massachusetts. These five vegetables have you covered in every way; your starches, greens, and long-term storage need to be met.

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What can I plant now in Massachusetts?

Spring gardening in Massachusetts

You should check on your garden’s condition after the winter. Inspect your raised beds and planter boxes for decay and snow damage. Raised flower beds make it much simpler to start your garden in the spring, so now could be the year to install them if you don’t already have them. The same goes for other things like bird baths, ornamental items, and fences. It is important to carefully wash anything harboring hazardous germs (like mold) or house insects and pests that could harm plants or animals.

After thoroughly assessing your garden’s current state, you can begin clearing away unwanted vegetation. Wintertime is a good time for creatures and birds to take refuge in this thicket, but now that the snow has melted, it’s time to clean it up and start again. If new growth begins, distinguishing between the old and new leaves will become difficult. Very weed-infested areas will need rototilling. A weeding tool for isolated patches of weeds will do the job, but the rototiller is the way to go for larger areas. 

Clearing the garden of unwanted vegetation is the first step in planting new seeds. Plant bulbs in the autumn to see your daffodils and tulips bloom in the spring. You can start planting after you get south of Massachusetts. Finding out whether the soil in your garden is prepared is a vital step in the prepping process. If you pick up a handful of soil and roll it into a ball, the ground is too damp to plant seeds. To begin planting seeds, the soil should easily crumble between your fingertips.

Due to the April rains and melting snow, you may need to inspect your soil more than once before it is ready for planting. You can grow kale in the spring and summer, lettuce in the spring and late summer, broccoli in the spring and summer, eggplant in May and June, peppers in May and June, tomatoes in May and June, celery in March and August, Brussels sprouts in April and June, and cauliflower in March and August (June through July).

Keep these items in mind when you start your garden in spring. If an unexpected late frost is expected, protect your plants by covering them. Just wait a week or two to plant when the soil has had time to settle. Most plants can thrive in as little as six inches of soil. Decorative grasses may be trimmed whenever you choose. Think about using compost, used coffee grounds, and tea as fertilizer. To protect young plants from freezing during the night, spread a layer of loose mulch around the seedlings.

Fall gardening in Massachusetts 

When most people get “green thumb fever,” they start planting gardens or at least a few herbs they’ve been meaning to try out in late spring. Saving money and eating delicious, nutritious tomatoes straight from the garden all summer long is a win-win situation. Garden-fresh vegetable harvests thin down as autumn progresses. Despite this, you can still get the benefits of homegrown produce by growing a vegetable garden in the autumn. You can sow the “cool season plants” seeds later in the summer since they can withstand cold.

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Potato harvest
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Though planning for an autumn vegetable garden is best done when the heat of summer is at its peak, gardeners will be relieved to learn that it is not too late to sow seeds for a successful harvest. Massachusetts is located in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 6. Thus, late September is an acceptable time to start planting for the autumn. You should plant the following seeds for optimal results as soon as possible.

If you plant a fast-growing broccoli variety, you can bring in your first harvest as early as November. Planting broccoli seeds should be done approximately a month before your region’s average first frost. It’s recommended to provide plants with at least 18 inches of space. Planting spinach in the summer is a mistake due to the plant’s sensitivity to heat; the best times to sow spinach seeds are in the spring and autumn. Spinach can survive temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit, so you don’t have to worry about planting it in the winter. 

Pick a location that receives much sunshine and has well-drained soil for your autumn vegetable garden. The recommended spacing for seeds is one inch, and the suggested depth is a quarter of an inch. This plant needs frequent watering but otherwise is low maintenance. Leafy greens, like lettuce and other salad greens, are great to grow in the cooler months. Salad greens, whether you want them baby or big, do wonderfully in the autumn. 

Lettuce can be sown every two weeks until the first frost. Place your lettuce seeds in the ground an inch apart and a quarter of an inch deep once you have loosened the soil. Soil should be kept wet at all times. Kale and arugula can be planted in the same soil and temperatures. When properly cared for, onions can endure even the coldest of winters.

Onions can be started from seed, but planting a bulb is much simpler. Some onion types are more suited for summer planting than others, so do some research to find out which ones will thrive in your autumn vegetable garden. To get the greatest results from planting seeds or bulbs, you should leave at least half an inch of space between each and cover them with an inch of compost. The onion stems will naturally collapse when they are ready to be picked. It is possible to grow garlic and shallots in the same way as onions.

Summer gardening in Massachusetts 

If you’ve been a diligent gardener and have completed all of the yard work required in your area, late spring and early summer are prime times for outdoor gardening. You can enjoy the best of both worlds in June: longer days of sunshine and warmer weather. The month of June is ideal for fertilizing established plants. Fertilize your plants using a time-release formula to prevent damaging the roots and provide them with nutrients over a longer period.

Deadheading flowers and staking climbing plants can increase yields and beautify flower beds and containers. Vegetable gardens benefit from mulching or a top dressing to suppress weed growth and retain soil moisture. You can still sow seeds in June for a season of beautiful blooms and plentiful harvests. Since the summer season officially begins on June 20th, many people in Massachusetts focus their June planting efforts on vegetables for the summer and autumn harvest. However, this is also a perfect time to grow many shrubs and perennials.

Quick-growing annuals such as zinnias, cosmos, marigolds, nasturtiums, sunflowers, and four o’clock are still viable options. The seed for next year’s plants should be sown in a bed that has been prepared and will be shaded from the hot sun. If you give them plenty of water, they should bloom all summer. Here are several places you may begin transplanting: Capsicums, eggplants, and tomatoes. Plant these vegetables outdoors in June using direct seeding: Vegetables like watermelons, squash, melons, and pumpkins are common in the south.

Yard long beans, also known as long podded cowpeas, are produced for the pods’ fresh usage despite their length. In addition to their other names, these beans are often referred to as “asparagus” because of their sweet, nutty taste. These teepee-grown plants are not only incredibly prolific on their own, but they also offer welcome shade for other, more delicate crops. It’s spring through October when hot peppers thrive and yield the most.

While wider varieties sometimes decline in output as the summer’s warm evenings approach, many of the smaller, hotter varieties keep on cranking. The bean is a very prolific and simple crop to grow. Decide whether you want a rapid harvest with bush types or a sustained harvest all season long with pole beans. Okra loves heat and adapts to arid circumstances, making it a self-sufficient summer vegetable. To maintain a constant level of quality and output, it is recommended that the pods be harvested every other day. 

Both summer and winter squash like warm temperatures throughout their growth. If you live in an area where squash bugs or vine borers are common, it’s best to start your seeds inside and move them to the garden in late June or early July. Before the plants bloom, cover them with row covers to keep them safe. Cover the stems with the soil as the plants grow to prevent the squash vine borer damage.

Winter gardening in Massachusetts

The optimal time to plant beets is six to eight weeks before the first frost. Greens can be harvested young, or the plant can be left in the ground to produce tasty, nutrient-rich roots. Beets can overwinter in most areas if mulched before freezing weather. Broad beans, which grow slowly but are tasty, can be planted in the middle to late autumn and staked in locations with plenty of snow to continue to grow through the winter. Pick them in the early spring, when the pods have become nice and plump. 

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Salad garden
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Garlic, one of the simplest crops to grow, is usually planted in the ground between the middle and late autumn and harvested in the middle of summer. Mulch and compost may help keep weeds at bay and moderate soil temperatures when planting. There are different types of cabbage, so you can choose this amazing garden produce anytime from summer to spring. Plant seeds of overwintering cultivars in late July or early August (or even later in warmer places) and use a floating row cover to keep pests at bay over the winter.

Slow-growing plants benefit from good composting and watering around the edges. Carrots can be harvested in the winter if planted in late July or early August and allowed to grow until they reach an edible size. Keep in the garden through the autumn and winter, and pickle or dry them gently, so they endure. Even though carrots don’t grow much during the cooler months, they store nicely in the ground for months. One of the nicest holiday delights is a carrot picked in December.

The bitter taste of kale is enhanced by the cold, making it one of the simplest plants to grow. Early to mid-August is the best time to sow a large quantity in slightly alkaline soil for a winter crop. Kale can endure temperatures below freezing; however, heavy snowfall should be avoided if you value the plant’s leaves. Onions can be another successful overwintering crop if you choose onion kinds that grow hardy over the winter.

Due to the longer days in the late winter, they will begin to grow and be ready for harvest in the late spring. Late in the month of August is the ideal time to plant seedlings in your garden, and if the temperature drops below -10 degrees Fahrenheit, you can use straw mulch or floating row covers to keep the plants safe (- 23 C).

The optimal time to sow outdoor peas for an autumn crop is between early and mid-August. Protected from the cold, peas can survive the winter and start growing again in the spring in more temperate climates.  The parsley pea is popular because its green tendrils look great in salads. Plant this kind of pea to pick them before the first frost, or give them some protection so you can keep picking from now through the winter.

Massachusetts vegetable planting calendar 

Vegetables Zone 5Zone 6Zone 7
Beans Mid May to Sep                         May to mid-OctApr to mid-Oct
BeetsApr to June
mid-July to mid-Oct
Mid Mar to June
mid-July to mid-Oct
Mar to May
Aug to Oct
BroccoliMid Mar to June
July to Oct
Mar to mid-June
mid-July to Oct
Mid Feb to May
Aug to mid-Nov
Brussel SproutsApr to OctMay to OctMid Apr to mid-Sep
CabbageMid Apr to OctMay to OctMar to mid-June
mid-July to Oct
CarrotsApr to Jun
Aug to mid-Oct
Apr to June
Aug to Oct
Mar to mid-June
Aug to Oct
CauliflowersMid Apr to mid-OctMar to mid-JuneMid Feb to May
Aug to mid-Nov
CornMid-May to mid-SepMay to SepMay to Aug
CucumberMid-May to mid-SepMay to SepMay to Aug
KaleApr to June
mid-July to Oct
Mid mar to mid Jun
Aug to mid Nov
Mar to May
Aug to mid-Nov
LettuceMid Apr to June
Mid-July to mid-Oct
Mid Mar to mid-June
Aug to Oct
Mar to May
Aug to Oct
OnionsApr to SepMid- Mar to AugMar to Aug
PeasApr to June
mid-July to mid-Oct
Mid Mar to May
Aug to Oct
Mid Feb to mid-May
mid-Aug to mid-Nov
PeppersApr to SepMid Mar to SepMar to Sep
SpinachApr to June
mid-July to oct
Mar to June
mid-July to oct
Mar to June
Aug to mid-Nov
SquashMid May to SepMay to SepMay to mid-Oct
TomatoApr to SepMid Mar to SepMar to Sep

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Tomato plant
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Placement is everything. Like humans, vegetables need proper nutrition. A vegetable garden too near a tree will lose nutrients to its greedy root system. On the other hand, a garden close to the house will help to discourage wild animals from nibbling away your potential harvest. If you live in the following towns, cities, and counties of Massachusetts (MA) of Zone 5, Zone 6, and Zone 7 in the United States, this article may be helpful to understand the vegetable planting calendar and a month-wise chart along with planting seasons.

Fall RiverAttleboro
New BedfordSaugus
AndoverCentral Massachusetts
WoburnEastern Massachusetts
MarlboroughWestern Massachusetts
FalmouthNorthern Massachusetts
FitchburgSouthern Massachusetts


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