Article: Sowing Timeline for Vegetables

Sowing Timeline for Vegetables

These dates are distilled from 34 of years trial and error in my gardens, where plenty of failures have served to highlight best timings for best results. You can sow many of these seeds at different times and they will grow, but the outcomes will be different, such as lower yield, more pest and disease, perhaps a tendency to flower rather than leaf. Hence for example I do not recommend sowing salad rocket and mizuna in the spring because its their flowering season, although many gardeners do and are happy with their smaller yield and more flea-beetle holed leaves, compared with August sowings.

Dates are based on the climate of Somerset in south west England, USDA zone 9, last frost mid May and first frost mid October.


Sow undercover broad beans, spinach, lettuce, peas for shoots, onion, salad onion, early brassicas, parsley, coriander, dill. With warmth aubergine, pepper, chilli – sow these by early March

Sow outside broad beans, garlic if not already


Sow undercover as for February plus peas, Boltardy beetroot, celery & celeriac mid month. With warmth tomatoes – sow before mid month for undercover cropping, melon at month’s end

Sow outside broad beans, garlic if not already, lettuce, spinach, peas, onion, salad onion, early brassicas, parsley, coriander, dill, parsnips, first early potato late March.


Sow undercover as for March (except its getting late for celeriac, sow asap), leeks, leaf beet, beetroot (all varieties), chard at month’s end, tomatoes for outdoor growing. With warmth and around mid month, cucumber, courgette, squash, sweetcorn

Sow outside all potatoes, broad beans, lettuce, spinach, peas, salad onion, early and autumn brassicas, parsley, leeks, leaf beet, carrots


Sow undercover leeks, winter squash by early May, courgette, French and climbing beans, leaf beet, beetroot, chard, lettuce, winter brassicas, salad onion, swede at end May

Sow outside same as undercover, also maincrop potatoes in early May, carrots, parsnips but keep seedbed moist until germinated.


Sow undercover beetroot, swede, lettuce, leaf beet, chard, kale, purple sprouting broccoli, cauliflower for both autumn & spring, calabrese for autumn harvests. After solstice sow endive, chicory and Florence fennel.

Sow outside same as undercover, also carrots.


Sow undercover beetroot in first week, lettuce, leaf beet, chard, endive, chicory, Florence fennel, chervil, coriander, land cress, wild rocket, Chinese cabbage and spinach after mid month, salad rocket at end July.

Sow outside same as undercover, carrots until mid July.


Sow undercover endive and Florence fennel until 10th, lettuce (late August sowings to overwinter as small plants), claytonia, oriental leaves, salad rocket,
chervil – coriander – dill – land cress – wild rocket -spinach by mid August for autumn cropping,
any salads in mid August for planting September and to grow under a cloche, spinach – spring onion – spring cabbage late August for overwintering small.

Sow outside same as undercover but approximately a week earlier


Sow undercover For outdoor planting, only lambs lettuce, mizuna, salad rocket, for outdoor planting to overwinter small, in early September sow lettuce, spinach, chervil, coriander, dill.
For undercover planting sow in early to mid September all salads (includes spinach, chard mustards, kale etc which you can grow large for cooking), spring onion.

Sow outside same as undercover but a week earlier, last salad sowings by 10th September.


Outside sow garlic. You can also sow onion sets though I recommend caution with these as they risk harbouring mildew over winter which infects onions in May and thus reduces growth/storage potential of spring-sown onions.

Last sowings 

Depending where you live, from early November its worth sowing broad beans to overwinter as small plants, such as Aquadulce Claudia; sowing in December is possible too, likewise for garlic.

9 thoughts on “Article: Sowing Timeline for Vegetables

  1. Hi Charles,

    When you say sow under cover could that be in a homemade cold frame at this time of year or will it be too cold?
    Thank you

    1. It depends a little Shaun where are you are, climate wise, but they will be okay. I would germinate seeds in your house for 5 to 7 days, before moving trays to the cold frame, and I would sow not before first March.

  2. Hi Charles,

    I am new to vegetable garden and I am in the throws of setting up my first lot of no dig beds – exciting times!

    I recently purchased your vegetable garden diary. In the diary it tells you (similar to above) sow undercover or sow outdoor. Im confused with if you have sown undercover when then do you transplant to outside? and if you have sown undercover in a green-house for winter cropping, how do you know which plants to sow outdoor and which ones to leave in the greenhouse to grow in there over the winter?

    thanks in advance!


    1. Good luck with new beds Melissa.
      Usually it’s 3-4 weeks between sowing under cover and transplanting outside.
      For winter cropping you need to read up about different veg and how hardy they are.
      Try spinach, sow early August to plant out end August outside, is frost hardy.

  3. Hi Charles. I have sown salad seeds with perlite and doing amazing in a week . Thank you. About to put in modules next week. Most for the greenhouse as I have to get the no dig beds ready. Do they stay in the modules over winter or do I have to plant into larger modules? If so what do you recommend? I will have a lot. Thank you.

    1. Good start. You can transplant to beds from modules, by early October, so hasten to make your beds ready. Unheated greenhouse is fine for lettuce generally

  4. Dear Mr. Dowding,

    in your video on Youtube (“Plan your vegetable cropping all year”) you show interplanted bulb fennel (sown february, planted march) between spinach.
    Did you keep them under fleece after planting?
    In your timeline they appear ealiest after solstice.
    So it is possible to harvest fennel twice in one year?!?

    Happy new year from Northern Germany

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