When Should You Plant Your Vegetable Garden in Winston-Salem, NC?

     Winston-Salem typically experiences a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. The relatively mild winters and warm summers create a conducive environment for a wide variety of plants. We are lucky to have a long growing season, allowing gardeners to cultivate a diverse range of crops from spring through fall. Winston-Salem and its surrounding areas have fertile soil. The soil's composition, which can vary from sandy loam to clay, offers versatility for growing various types of plants with proper soil amendment and management. Our area receives a decent amount of sunlight throughout the year, essential for photosynthesis and plant growth. Appropriate sunlight exposure supports growth for your garden crops. There are plenty of garden centers, local nurseries, and organizations to help you along the way as well.

     Optimal conditions in Winston-Salem allow gardeners to produce a diverse array of plants, including vegetables, fruits, flowers, and ornamental shrubs. The region's climate and soil conditions support the cultivation of both cool-season and warm-season crops, offering ample opportunities for gardeners to explore different plant varieties and gardening techniques.


Growing vegetables from your home in Durham, NC. (n.d.)

A Guide for Growing Your Own Crops:

Start Indoors
Begin your gardening journey by starting indoor cultivation of cole crops like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage in early February. This is also a good time to plant lettuce and spinach indoors.

Early Plantings
Begin your outdoor planting adventures around February 20 by starting onion starts and potatoes. Simultaneously, sow the seeds of peas, including sugar snap and English varieties. If the ground is still frozen, wait for thawing before planting these crops directly.

Direct Seeding
Around March 9, when the ground becomes workable, you can directly seed cole crops into your garden. However, for best results, it's recommended to transplant the indoor-started seedlings into the garden approximately by March 31.

Warm-Weather Favorites
Delve into the world of warm-weather favorites like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants by initiating indoor cultivation around February 10. Keep an eye on the weather forecast as April 16 approaches. Once the forecast indicates frost-free conditions, it's time to transplant these seedlings into the garden.

Summer Bounty 
As the weather warms up, turn your attention to summer vegetables such as beans, cowpeas, corn, squashes, pumpkins, cucumbers, watermelons, gourds, and sunflowers. Aim to sow their seeds directly into the ground around April 20. Alternatively, if the soil remains chilly, hold off until it reaches a temperature of approximately 60°F before planting.

Fall Harvest
Crops harvested in the fall typically include: sweet potatoes, squash (including butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash), zucchini, leafy greens (kale, spinach, collard greens), broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts.


   Richard, C. (n.d.). Small scale growers: Produce safety training. N.C. Cooperative Extension.

Preparing for Winter
To shut down your garden for winter, start by harvesting remaining crops and removing annual plants. Trim back perennial plants, clean garden beds of debris and amend soil with compost if possible. Protect soil with mulch, winterize your tools and consider protecting perennials from freezing temperatures. Plan for spring by researching new plants and ordering seeds. Monitor the garden periodically during winter for debris and plant health.


Hands-On Education at Earth Day Fair 2024
This year at The Earth Day Fair we’re including several resources to help kickstart your gardening adventures. There will be opportunities to participate in activities like: growing mushrooms with The Fungal Network, learning about rain barrels with The City of Winston-Salem, chatting about native bee species with Forsyth County Beekeepers Association and more!