Zone 6 Vegetables
When to Plant Zone 6 Vegetables?
Zone 6 is a great zone for growing a variety of vegetables. Vegetable planting season for zone 6 usually extends from mid-March through November, depending on where in zone 6 you live. Generally, the last spring frost date falls in April and the first fall frost is sometime in October.
To get a jump-start on the gardening season, many zone 6 gardeners start tender vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, herbs and squash seeds indoors about 4-6 weeks before the last frost date for your area. Other vegetable seeds often started indoors include cole crops such as cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
Cool season vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, beets, carrots, kale, peas and potatoes are often directly sown outdoors in late March and April. It's also a good time for planting onion sets.
Depending on where you live in zone 6, May is a good time for directly sowing corn seeds, bean seeds, melons and squash. While cole crop seedlings can be transplanted about two weeks before the last frost date, plant tomato, pepper and eggplant seedlings after all danger of frost has passed.
Because sweet potato slips are cold sensitive, wait until a few weeks after the last frost date to plant them. The growing season is suitable for this warm season vegetable.
In midsummer, around July, you can also start sowing seeds for a fall harvest. July is a good time to sow bean seeds outdoors and start broccoli seeds indoors.
In August and September, directly sow beets, carrots, kale, lettuce, spinach, radish and peas for a fall harvest.
How to Care for Zone 6 Vegetables?
Most vegetables need 6-8 hours of direct sunlight, about an inch of water weekly and fertile, well-drained soil.
Once your garden is planted and growing, these are a couple of tips for caring for your zone 6 vegetables.
- Inspect your plants several times a week for signs of disease and insect damage.
- Ensure that your plants get adequate water. During the hot days of summer or times of drought, rainfall may not be enough and you may have to water your plants.
- Keep your garden free of weeds. Weeds can compete with vegetable plants for nutrients, choke out plants and spread disease.
- Consider mulching. Mulch helps suppress weeds and retain moisture in the soil.
- Fertilize your plants when needed. We recommend using slow-release, all-natural fertilizers.
- Some crops may benefit from row covers. Row covers can protect plants from early spring or late fall frosts. Covers can also protect some plants from insect damage.
- Take advantage of the longer grow season and sow short-season vegetables for a fall harvest.
- Harvest vegetables before they become overly mature. Most vegetables are the most tender and flavorful before they reach full maturity.
What are the Best Early Spring Zone 6 Vegetables?
Zone 6 is excellent for growing cole crops such as cabbage and broccoli, if you start the plants indoors and transplant them in the spring. Other great early vegetables for zone 6 are lettuce, spinach, beets, peas, radishes, onions and carrots.
What are the Best Zone 6 Winter Vegetables?
Zone 6 gardeners often plant garlic in the fall and harvest the crop in early summer. Many cool-weather crops such as lettuce, spinach, carrots, radishes, beets and peas can be grown in the fall garden. With some protection or row covers, these crops may be harvested into early winter in some areas of zone 6. If covered with mulch in the fall, parsnips can be harvested into winter. Crops such as Brussels sprouts and kale are often sweeter if harvested after a light frost.