Time to plant outside?


Now that temperature are warming up, can I plant my vegetables outside? I grew my seedlings indoors and I feel like they are ready to be transplanted but worried about this weather. Kindly advise.


That’s a thoughtful question. The answer is “it depends” — on the type of vegetable, the forecast, and whether or not you are able to cover up your vegetable beds in cold snaps. Here’s a quick guide.

Frost hardy April 15 – 25 Lettuce, peas, radishes, spinach (direct seed)
Semi-frost hardy April 25 – May 10 Beets, carrots (direct seed)
Semi-frost tender May 15 – 25 Snap beans, tomatoes (transplant)
Frost tender May 25 – June 5 Transplant: cucumbers, peppers, squash

However, the good news is that since your seedlings must be hardened off before planting permanently, as of today, April 25, you have another 10 to 14 days for the weather to improve.

Seedlings accustomed to the indoors must be gradually exposed to the outdoor elements before being transplanted into the garden. This process should take place over about ten days to two weeks.  Initially, plants should be placed in a shaded and protected area, for two or three hours a day.  Over the hardening period, you may gradually increase the time the plants are exposed to the sun and wind each day.

By the end of the hardening off period, the seedlings should be tough enough to go into their intended spot in the garden. And, we certainly hope, the weather will have warmed up!

However, if your seedlings include tomatoes, peppers, squash, and other heat-loving vegetables, you really must wait until the night time temperatures consistently are at 10 degrees Celsius or above.

We received a similar question this week which you may want to check: Growing vegetables in April in Toronto

For more information on growing vegetables, here’s our handy Gardening Guide: Growing Urban Vegetables