Vegetables
sowing and planting through the year

This is a very rough timing guide to sowing and planting vegetables in the UK, even within the UK, the climate varies, so due allowance must be made for local conditions.

See below for explanations of the difference between 'sowing' and 'planting' plus definitions for 'cloches', 'sowing under glass', 'seed bed' and 'planting out'.


January

  • Sow Early Peas and Broad Beans in the soil in mild areas, protect with cloches
  • Sow Bulb Onions seeds under glass

February

  • Continue to sow Early Peas and Broad Beans in mild areas
  • Sow early Carrot seeds in a cold frame
  • Sow Bulb Onions and Lettuces under glass
  • Sow Beetroot, Spinach and Carrots in the soil, protect with cloches
  • Sow Parsley in the soil unless the weather is cold or wet

March

  • Sow Lettuces, Radishes and Spring Onions in the soil
  • Sow Summer Cabbages, Leeks and Brussels Sprouts in a seed bed
  • Sow Tomato seeds in trays or pots and keep at 18°C (65°F)
  • Sow Beetroots, Carrots and Turnips in the soil
  • In the south, plant Early Potatoes and Onion Sets from mid month providing the soil is not excessively wet

April

  • Continue to sow Lettuces, Radishes and Spring Onions in the soil
  • Sow Cucumbers, Marrows, Pumpkins and Squashes under glass
  • Sow Winter Cabbages and Late Summer Cauliflowers in a seed bed
  • Continue to plant Onion Sets
  • Plant out Onions grown from seed under glass into the soil
  • In the north, plant Early Potatoes providing the soil is not excessively wet
  • Plant Main Crop Potatoes
  • Plant Onion Sets and Potatoes in the middle of the month unless the soil is excessively wet
  • Plant Tomatoes in the greenhouse or in cold frame

May

  • Continue to sow Lettuces, Radishes and Spring Onions in the soil
  • In the north, sow Runner Beans under glass
  • Sow French Beans, Runner Beans and Long Rooted Beetroot towards the end of the month
  • Plant out Late Summer Cauliflowers
  • In the north, plant out Brussels Sprouts
  • Plant out Cucumbers, Marrows, Pumpkins and Squashes towards the end of the month

June

  • Continue to sow French Beans, Peas and salad crops in the soil
  • Continue to plant out Cucumbers, Marrows, Pumpkins and Squashes
  • Plant out Brussels Sprouts and Winter Cabbages
  • Plant out Tomatoes
  • Plant out Leeks
  • Plant self Blanching Celery

July

  • Continue to sow salad crops in the soil
  • Complete planting Brussels Sprouts, Leeks and Winter Cabbages

August

  • Sow early Winter Lettuces and Spring Cabbages
  • Sow early Carrots

September

  • Sow Broad Beans, Spring Cabbages, Carrots and Lettuces under cloches
  • In the north, plant out Spring Cabbages towards the end of the month

October

  • Continue to sow Broad Beans and Lettuces under cloches
  • In the south, plant out Cabbages
  • Plant Winter and Spring Lettuces

November

  • Continue to sow Broad Beans under cloches
  • In the south, continue to sow Lettuces under cloches
  • Sow Early Peas under cloches

December

  • Continue to sow Broad Beans, protect with cloches in colder areas
  • Put you feet up on the 25th !!

The difference between 'sowing' and 'planting'

  • Sowing involves putting seeds into a soil, the seed then (hopefully) germinates and a plant grows - until the seed goes into the soil, the seed is dormant and needs no special attention (usually 'fresh' seeds have a shelf life of 2 to 4 years).
  • Planting involves taking a living plant which needs water and light, and putting it into the soil. Plants can either be grown by a gardener from seed, or purchased from a nursery.

Explanations of terms used above:

'cloches' - a small, easily moveable 'mini-greenhouse' used to protect plants from the weather and to warm the soil.

'sowing under glass' - normally means within a heated greenhouse, (alternatively, small quantities can be sown indoors) normally the young plants will be planted out later. By sowing under glass, the plants get a 'heads-start' resulting in earlier crops after they have been planted out.

'seed bed' - a specific area of the garden where seeds are sown for germination and later 'planting out' to another area. The area is normally level and with a fine soil, this helps the young plants to grow and makes it easy to lift the plants for planting out.

'planting out' - applies where seeds have been sown and germinated in one place, and when the plants of an adequate size, the plants are moved to another area where the plants can mature.

UK gardening help and assistance

gardening books