when to plant vegetables in chicago

when to plant vegetables in chicago

When to Plant Vegetables in Chicago

Planting vegetables in Chicago can be a great way to supplement home-grown produce for the dinner table, but understanding when the various growing seasons take place is key. To get the most out of your homegrown vegetables, it’s important to ensure you plant at the right times. This article will provide you with an overview of the ideal times to sow your vegetables in Chicago.


Spring sees a huge variety of vegetables being planted in Chicago. The ideal time to plant for most vegetables is the beginning of April. Although earlier planting times may be available, it is suggested to wait until April for most kinds of vegetables, with the exception of a select few.

Some of the vegetables that are okay to plant earlier in the season, including in March, are:

  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Onions
  • Radishes
  • Turnips

If you’re looking to plant more delicate vegetables in the spring, you’ll want to wait until April or even May for the best results.


Summer proves to be one of the busiest times for vegetables being planted in Chicago. Planting vegetables outside in the heat of summer is challenging, and a delay in planting can derail the entirety of a summer garden.

Be sure to plant compatible vegetables near each other. Use companion planting techniques to create a healthy garden that will provide an abundance of vegetables in a short amount of time.

Some of the most popular vegetables that are known to thrive in the summer include:

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Peppers
  • Squash
  • Corn

Summer is also a great time to plant for beans and carrots, with the ideal sowing time beginning in mid-July.


Fall is seen as a great time to start planting in the Chicago area. This period is usually full of cool, wet weather – ideal for most vegetables. Garlic, kale, and lettuce are all popular choices for fall planting, as well as beets and spinach.

The ideal time for sowing vegetables in the fall is in early September, when the temperatures are still comfortable but the rains have cooled down the soil. This is usually the best time to get your vegetables established before the winter frost sets in.

Sowing in late fall can be more challenging, as the nights are much colder. If planting late, it’s best to use a greenhouse or set up a cold frame to give the vegetables a bit of extra warmth and protection.


With a bit of knowledge and understanding, planting vegetables in Chicago is an enjoyable and rewarding activity. Making sure that you sow within the optimal timeframes will ensure the best harvest come late summer and autumn.

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