When to Plant? That is the Question

When to Plant.jpg

Even if it is too early to plant, it’s never too early to start planning your garden. Learn from USU Extension gardening expert Taun Beddes when you can safely plant your vegetable garden.

One day it is sunny and warm, and the next day it is raining and cold. Or in northern Utah, it could even be snowing.

Determining when to plant a garden can be especially confusing in Utah’s unpredictable, varied climate where last-frost dates can vary by many days within just a few miles. Many experienced gardeners have planted and later lost their plants to frost.

As you determine when you should plant, consider the geographic characteristics of where you live. When a yard is located in a populated area or on a mountain bench, it usually has a longer growing season. Other areas located at slightly lower elevations where cold air drains and cannot escape have a shorter season. This is why local commercial orchards are generally located on benches. Additionally, urban and suburban areas are slightly warmer than surrounding areas due to the urban heat effect. Heat from buildings and warmth generated by sunlight reflected from roads and other surfaces increases temperatures and delays frost. It can be helpful to chat with a local farmer or experienced gardener in your area to determine what works for him or her regarding when to plant.

In addition to frost information, it is important to take into account the needs of the plants. Vegetables planted locally fall into four basic categories: hardy, semi-hardy, tender and very tender. Depending on which category a plant belongs to, planting dates vary from early spring until early summer. Consider the following:

  • Hardy vegetables, including asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, onions, peas and spinach, can be planted as soon as the soil is workable in early spring. This usually ranges between 45 and 60 days before the average last frost. These same vegetables can be safely planted until the average last frost date.
  • Semi-hardy plants, such as beets, carrots, lettuce and potatoes, can be planted one to two weeks after the hardy group. These can be planted until the average last-frost date.
  • Tender vegetables, such as celery, cucumbers, corn and most beans, should be planted on the average last-frost date.
  • Very tender plants, such as squash, beans, melons, tomatoes, eggplants and peppers, should not be planted until at least a week after the average last frost. Even if frost does not occur before this time, these plants will not grow well and are more susceptible to disease until warmer weather.

If you have lost plants to frost, you are not alone, and all you can do is try again.

Average Frost Dates for Various Utah Locations (Note that these dates are averages and can vary from year to year.)
        Frost Dates
City Last First Frost-Free Days
Alpine May 20 September 30 136
Blanding May 13 October 12 153
Cedar City May 10 October 5 148
Delta May 17 September 28 134
Farmington May 5 October 10 158
Fillmore May 16 October 4 140
Huntsville June 11 September 9  89
Kanab May 7 October 20 166
Lake Town June 15 September 10  87
Logan May 14 September 25 135
Morgan June 6 September 11 98
Moroni June 1 September 18 109
Ogden May 1 October 24 176
Park City June 9 September 1  92
Price May 12 October 7 148
Roosevelt May 18 September 25 130
Spanish Fork May 1 October 13 165
St. George April 6 October 28 205
Tooele May 7 October 14 159
Tremonton May 3 October 10 160

This article was written by Taun Beddes, Utah State University Extension horticulturist, 801-851-8460, taun.beddes@usu.edu

Resource Roundup – Local Farmers Markets

find local utah farmers market Have you been enjoying the Farmers Markets this year? With the last ones starting at the end of this month, now is the perfect time to start enjoying these local gems. Here is a list of some local markets, alphabetized by the city they are located in:

American Fork
Happy Valley Farmers Market
Fridays 5-9 p.m. Robinson Park, 100 E. Main Street August 1-October 24

Cedar City
Cedar City Farmers Market
Wednesdays 4-7 p.m. Hoover & 100 W. July 23-October

Utah Botanical Center Farmers Market
Thursdays 5 p.m.-Dusk Utah Botanical Center, 875 S. 50 W. July 10-September 25

Cache Valley Gardeners Market
Saturdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Willow Park, 700 S. 500 W. May 10-October 18

Moab Farmers Market
Thursdays 5-8 p.m. Swanny City Park, 100 W. Park Drive June 5-Mid October

IRC Farm Stand
Saturdays 1-3 p.m. Sunnyvale Apartments, 764 W. 3940 S. June 14-October 11

Murray Farmers Market
Fridays & Saturday 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Murray Park, 200 E. 5200 S. July 25-October 25

Ogden City Farmers Market
Saturdays 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Municipal Gardens, 25th St. & Grant Ave July 12-September 27

Park City
Park Silly Sunday Market
Sundays 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Historic Main Street, 9th & Main St. June 8-September 21

Provo Farmers Market
Saturdays 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Pioneer Park, 500 W. 100 S. June 7-October 25

Roosevelt Farmers Market
Thursdays 3:30-6:30 p.m. 130 W. 100 N. July 3-September 25

Salt Lake City
Downtown Farmers Market
Tuesdays 4 p.m. – dusk & Saturdays 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Pioneer Park, 300 S. 300 W. June 14-October 25

Salt Lake City
9th West Market (People’s Market)
Sundays 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Peace Garden, 1000 S. 900 W. May 11-October

Salt Lake City
Sugarhouse Farmers Market
Fridays 4-8 p.m. Sugarmont Plaza, 2227 S. Highland Dr. July 11-October 17

Salt Lake City
University of Utah Farmers Market
Thursdays 10 a.m.-2 p.m. U of Utah Tanner Plaza, 201 S. 1460 August 28-October 9

Syracuse City Farmers Market
Wednesdays 5-9 p.m. Centennial Park, 1891 W. 1700 S. July 9-October 1

Benson Grist Mill
Saturday 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Stansbury Park, 325 State Road 138 July 12-Mid October

Best Vegetables for the Wastach Front

best vegetables to plant in utah

Whether or not you have a green thumb, tips for gardening made easier are always helpful. With the planting season here, you may be wondering if there is a better variety of cucumber, tomato, lettuce or even peas that works better in the Wasatch Front area. Or maybe you didn’t even realize that some varieties do better in different areas.

Did you know there are five types of pumpkin and broccoli that do best?

And what type of sweet corn likes this area?

Thanks to a survey done last year, all this information has been put together for you! You can view and download the easy-to-read chart with all the varieties listed and even some information on seed suppliers.

Haven’t planted yet? It’s not too late.  Check out our “When to Plant” guide posted earlier this year. Be sure to pin it so you can reference it next year and be ahead of the game!

When to start planting garden in Utah livewellutah.org

Don’t live in Northern utah? Check out Dixie Gardener for gardening information for the Southern part of Utah.

We hope these resources make it easier to be successful with your garden this year!

When to Start Planting – Northern Utah

Author – Shawn Olsen
When to start planting garden in Utah livewellutah.org

With the weather warming up, it’s time to start planning for the upcoming growing season. While each location has its own unique weather conditions, here are some tips for planting along the Wasatch Front.

The average date of the last spring frost will vary with location and elevation. Listed below are the 30-year average last frost dates for various cities.

City Average Last Frost*

Bountiful – Val Verda, April 17
Farmington, May 5
Midvale, May 13
Ogden, May 3
Provo – Airport, May 21
Provo – BYU, May 1
Salt Lake City – Airport, April 26
Salt Lake City – U of U, May 1
Salt Lake County – Cottonwood Weir, April 30
Tooele, May 7
Tremonton, May 3

*For more information on freeze dates and Utah’s climate, go to http://climate.usu.edu/

hardy plants in the garden

Hardy plants like rhubarb, broccoli, cabbage and peas can be planted as soon as the soil dries out in the spring.

Group A: Hardy
Average Planting Date: March 15 – May 1


Group B: Semi-Hardy

Plant a week or two after “A” group or about two weeks before average last spring frost.
Average Planting Date: March 20 – May 1

Swiss chard

When to plant yor garden in Utah LivewellUtah.org

Tender plants like summer squash, cucumbers and sweet corn  can be planted  around the average date of the last spring frost, about when first apples reach full bloom.

Group C: Tender
Average Planting Date: May 5 – June 1

Summer squash
Dry beans
Sweet corn
Snap beans
Group D: Very Tender

Plant when the soil is warm, about two weeks after “C” group.
Average Planting Date: May 20 – June 10

Lima beans
Winter squash

Want all this information in an easy, printable list? Download it here.

Interested in a user-friendly, 100+ page guide to successful vegetable and fruit production in Utah? Check out “A Guide to Common Gardening Questions” at: extension.cart.usu.edu.


Olsen, Shawn-14 Shawn Olsen is an Extension professor with Utah State University Extension in Davis County. He has recently co-authored two books on growing fruits  and vegetables in Utah gardens.