Garden planting season is here- a guide to planting your vegetable garden

Average Last Freeze

With spring planting season starting, now is the time when many hopeful gardeners are wondering when it is safe to plant. It is frustrating to work hard in the garden only to have to work just as hard a week later protecting your new plants from frost, or even worse, losing plants to a hard freeze.

One of my gardens with no room. The cabbage, collards and kale need to be harvested before spring plants can go in.

The best way to judge when to start planting your spring garden is to know the average date of the final freeze in your town. You can then use that date to figure out when to plant certain items. Tomatoes are a popular garden item, and they are safe to plant 2-3 weeks after the average last freeze. Along the Grand Strand, that is around April 1st, while in the Pee Dee it is closer to April 7-14.

Dates of the average last spring freeze in the Carolinas

Cheraw            Apr 1

Lake City        Mar 21

Conway           Mar 17

Laurinburg      Mar 20

Darlington       Mar 27

Loris                Mar 31

Dillon              Apr 6

Lumberton      Apr 4

Florence          Mar 20

Marion             Apr 1

Georgetown    Mar 11

Sumter             Mar 26

Kingstree         Mar 26

Whiteville        Apr 2

In my garden, I have a different issue this time of year… I need to make room for my springtime plants. I keep my garden growing year round. If you enjoy gardening, I highly recommend it. Winter gardening in the Carolinas is easier and just as rewarding as gardening in the summer. There are fewer pests in the winter and weeds grow much slower, plus there is a nice variety of veggies that can withstand the cold weather we get in the Carolinas.

Kale is a plant that grows in the winter in South Carolina.

Carrots are a winter veggie. Seeds can be planted anytime from August through February, to be harvested late fall through spring. Summer heat kills carrots.
I plant onions and garlic in the fall, to be harvested in the spring.

My issue is that my winter veggies are still growing nicely, and I need to start planting my spring veggies. I picked the last of my lettuce last week, but I am still picking cabbage, collards and kale. I am sure my family is sick of eating greens, but I need the room in the garden!

It seems like I am always eating greens to make room in the garden.
This cabbage will be harvested soon to make room for spring plants.

Last weekend I was able to clear six rows of greens, and I planted two rows of cucumbers, two rows of green beans, a row of wax beans and a row of lima beans. I tend to plant my veggies a little earlier than I should, but I start my plants from seed and keep them warm in a cold frame until they are transplanted. Because of this, I usually have more seedlings than I need, and if they are killed by a freeze, I have more to replace them.

Recently transplanted cucmber seedlings
Recently planted green bean seeds. They will sprout in the next week.

My next planting will be tomatoes in two weekends. I plant them in pots, so if there is a late season frost, I can put them in my garage for the night. Right around April 1st I will also plant squash and any melons. I will wait until mid April to plant peppers and basil, then late April for okra and eggplant.

Tomato, pepper and basil seedlings are kept warm in the cold frame. They will be transplanted into the ground in the next few weeks.


Grand Strand

Pee Dee


Mar 15-30

Apr 1-15


Mar 10-Apr 30

Mar 20-Apr 30


Mar 20-30

Apr 1-15


Mar 25-Apr 10

Apr 10-25


Mar 10-Apr 10

Apr 1-15


Apr 1-20

Apr 10-30


Apr 25-May 15

Apr 15-May 15


Mar 25-Apr 10

Apr 5-25


Mar 20-Apr 10

Apr 1-20


Mar 25-Apr 10

Apr 5-25


Mar 25-Apr 20

Apr 1-30

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