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Planning a Garden

Garden Vegetables

Garden Vegetables
Millie Davenport, ©2015 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Home garden vegetables can be grown abundantly in most areas of South Carolina with proper care. Many who have grown vegetables for the excellent fresh flavor or as a hobby now find home gardening profitable with today’s high food costs.

The number of home vegetable gardeners is steadily increasing in the state. Success or failure of home vegetable production can depend on many things, but some major reasons for failure are negligence, not following the proper instructions and not keeping up with current vegetable developments.

Planning the Vegetable Garden

When planning a garden, it is important to ask a few basic questions:

  • Who will be doing the work? Will the garden be a group project with family members or friends who will work willingly through the season to a fall harvest, or will you be handling the hoe alone in between camping and swimming? Remember that a small weed-free garden will produce more than a large, weedy mess.
  • What do you and your family like to eat? Although the pictures in the garden catalog look delicious, there is no value in taking up gardening space with vegetables that no one eats. Make a list of your family’s favorite vegetables, ranked in order of preference. This will be a useful guide in deciding how much of each vegetable to plant. Successive plantings of certain crops, such as beans, can be harvested over a longer period of time and increase your yield. As you plan, list recommended varieties and planting dates.
  • How do you plan to use the produce from your garden? If you plan to can, freeze, dry or store part of the produce, this will be a factor not only in planning the size of the garden but also in selecting varieties. Some varieties have much better keeping quality than others. Care should be used in choosing the seeds, making sure the varieties you select are adapted to your area and intended use.
  • Finally, how much space is available? How much area can be converted into usable garden space, and how much garden do you need? Do not plant more garden than you need.

Additional Planning Hints

  • Plan the garden on paper first. Draw a map showing arrangement and spacing of crops. If you wish to keep the garden growing all season, you may need a spring, summer and fall garden plan.
  • Plan the garden and order seeds by January or February. Some plants may be started indoors as early as January.
  • In your plan, place tall and trellised crops on the north side of the garden so they will not shade the shorter vegetables.
  • Group plants by length of growing period. Plant spring crops together so that later crops can be planted in these areas after the early crops mature. Consider length of harvest as well as time to maturity. Place perennial crops to the side of the garden where they will not be disturbed by annual tillage. Finally, practice crop rotation. Try not to plant the same vegetable or a related vegetable in the same location year after year.

Site Selection

The garden should be as small as possible to cut down on unnecessary work. In South Carolina, gardens should receive at least six hours of direct sun each day. Leafy vegetables can tolerate partial shade; vegetables that produce fruit, such as peppers and tomatoes, must be grown in full sun.

Vegetable Garden

Vegetable Garden

Avoid planting your garden close to or beneath trees and shrubs because shade and the competition for nutrients and water may reduce vegetable growth. If a garden must be planted near trees, reserve the sunniest spot for vegetables grown for their fruit or seeds.

Plants grown for their leaves or roots can be grown in partial shade. Because water is required by vegetables, especially during droughty periods, a site within close proximity to the house should be considered; this site is usually located close to an abundant water supply. Also, people are more likely to work in the garden and check for pests when the garden is close to the house.

When soil or landscape space is unavailable, vegetables can be grown in containers. As long as light, water and soil volume requirements are met, container-grown vegetables can be placed anywhere: sidewalks, patios, window boxes, porches or balconies. More information on vegetable gardening in containers is available in HGIC 1251, Container Vegetable Gardening.

Sloping areas are satisfactory if managed properly. Contour the rows to the shape of the slope (plant around the hill). Construct terraces if erosion results even with contoured planting.

Gardeners with poorly drained or steeply sloped sites can improve their sites through the use of raised beds. A permanent raised bed can be created with used cross ties, concrete blocks or similar rot-resistant material. The completed form can then be filled with a mixture of good topsoil and compost. Permanent raised beds are easy to maintain, and require less effort to control weeds and overcome poor soil or site problems. Raised beds can be any size, but narrow beds (about 3 to 4 feet wide) will allow the gardener to reach the center of the bed without stepping into the bed. More information on raised beds is available in HGIC 1257, Raised Beds.

Season of Planting

The time at which vegetables are planted outdoors depends on the cold hardiness of a particular species or cultivar. Vegetables can be divided into two categories based on temperature requirements: cool-season and warm-season crops.

Cool-season vegetables originated in temperate climates and have their favorable growth period during the cool parts of the year. Cool-season crops grow poorly in summer heat. Though cool-season crops continue to grow well past the earliest freeze in the fall, they should be started early enough to mature before hard freezes are expected.

South Carolina Gardening Regions

South Carolina Gardening Regions

Warm-season crops primarily came from subtropical and tropical regions and require warm weather for seed germination and plant growth. They are injured or killed by freezing temperatures and should not be planted outdoors in the spring without protection or until the danger of freezing temperatures is past. Warm-season crops planted in the summer to mature in the fall should be planted early enough so they can be harvested before the killing freeze in the fall.

To determine when to plant cool- and warm-season vegetables in South Carolina, refer to Table 1. Knowing the number of days required to reach maturity, a gardener could determine the appropriate planting time for seeds and transplants by using the average dates of the first and last freezes in their area.

Piedmont: Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Chester, Edgefield, Fairfield, Greenville, Greenwood, Lancaster, Laurens, McCormick, Newberry, Oconee, Pickens, Saluda, Spartanburg, Union and York counties.

Central: Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Marion, Marlboro, Orangeburg, Richland and Sumter counties.

Coastal: Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Jasper and Williamsburg counties.

Table 1. Planting Chart — Dates to Plant in Piedmont South Carolina

Vegetable Spring Fall
Asparagus Early Feb.-Late Mar. (crowns)
Beans, Snap Apr. 15-30 Aug. 1-15
Beans, Pole Apr. 15-30 July 15-25
Beans, Half-runner Apr. 15-30 Aug. 1-15
Beans, Lima May 1-15 July 1-15
Beans, Pole Lima May 1-15 July 1-15
Beans, Edible Soy May 10-June 15
Beets March 1-30 Aug. 1-15
Broccoli1 Mar. 1-15 July 1-30
Brussels Sprouts July 15-Aug. 15
Cabbage1 Feb. 15-Apr. 1 July 1-30
Cantaloupe & Honeydew Apr. 15-May 15 June 15-30
Carrots Mar. 1-15 July 1-30
Cauliflower1 Mar. 1-15 July 1-15
Collards July 1-Aug. 30
Cucumbers Apr. 15-May 15 July 1-15
Eggplant1 May 1-15 July 1-15
Garlic Sept. 1-Oct. 30
Kale Aug. 15-Sept. 15
Lettuce Mar. 1-15 Aug. 15-25
Mustard2 Feb. 1-Mar. 15 Aug. 15-Sept. 15
Onion, Sets Mar. 1-30 Sept. 1-Oct. 30
Onion, Plants Mar. 1-30
Onion, Seeds
Okra May 1-15 June 15-30
Peanuts May 1-15
Peas, Garden Feb. 1-15
Peas, Southern May 1-June 30
Pepper1 May 1-30 July 20-25
Potatoes, Irish Mar. 15-30 July 1-153
Potatoes, Sweet May 10-June 10
Pumpkins June 1-15
Radish2 Feb. 15-Mar. 15 Sept. 1-30
Rutabaga Aug. 1-20
Spinach2 Feb. 15-Mar. 15 Sept. 15-30
Sweet Corn2 Apr. 15-30
Squash, Summer Apr. 15-May 15 July 1-20
Squash, Winter Apr. 20-May 15
Tomato1 May 1-May 30 July 10-20
Turnips2 Feb. 20-Apr. 1 Sept. 1-15
Watermelon Apr. 20-June 30

¹Transplant plants.
²For longer harvest season, plant at intervals during suggested dates.
3Seed potatoes for July planting and fall harvest may have to be mailed-ordered (usually unavailable from local garden supply stores).

For more information on freeze and frost occurrence data for cities in SC, please see the NOAA web site at:

Table 2. Planting Chart — Dates to Plant in Central South Carolina

Vegetable Spring Fall
Asparagus Late Jan.-Early March. (crowns)
Beans, Snap Apr. 1-15 Aug. 5-20
Beans, Pole Apr. 5-20 July 20-30
Beans, Half-runner Apr. 1-15 Aug. 5-20
Beans, Lima Apr. 5-20 July 20-30
Beans, Pole Lima Apr. 5-30 July 15-20
Beans, Edible Soy May 10-July 1
Beets Feb. 1-28 Aug. 1-20
Broccoli1 Feb. 20-Mar. 10 July 20-Aug. 15
Brussels Sprouts Aug. 1-15
Cabbage1 Jan. 15-Mar. 1 July 25-Aug. 10
Cantaloupe & Honeydew Apr. 1-15
Carrots Feb. 10-28 Aug. 1-15
Cauliflower1 July 25-Aug. 10
Collards Feb. 25-Mar. 20 July 15-Aug. 15
Cucumbers Apr. 1-15 Aug. 1-10
Eggplant1 Apr. 10-25 July 10-20
Garlic Sept. 15-Nov. 15
Kale Aug. 15-Sept. 15
Lettuce Feb. 1-28 Aug. 15-25
Mustard2 Jan. 15-Feb. 25 Aug. 15-Oct. 1
Onion, Sets Feb. 15-Mar. 15 Sept. 15-Nov. 15
Onion, Plants Feb. 15-Mar. 15
Onion, Seeds Sept. 15-Oct. 15
Okra Apr. 10-30 June 15-30
Peanuts Apr. 15-May 15
Peas, Garden Jan. 20-30
Peas, Southern Apr. 10-30 June 20-30
Pepper1 Apr. 5-25 July 15-25
Potatoes, Irish Feb. 20-Mar. 10 July 15-303
Potatoes, Sweet May 1-June 15
Pumpkins June 15-30
Radish2 Feb. 1-28 Sept. 1-Oct. 25
Rutabaga July 25-Aug. 10
Spinach2 Feb. 1-28 Sept. 15-Oct. 20
Sweet Corn2 Mar. 20-Apr. 30
Squash, Summer Apr. 1-20 Aug. 1-15
Squash, Winter Apr. 15-30
Tomato1 Apr. 5-25 July 10-20
Turnips2 Feb. 1-Mar. 10 Aug. 1-Oct. 1
Watermelon Apr. 1-30 June 15-30

¹Transplant plants.
²For longer harvest season, plant at intervals during suggested dates.
3Seed potatoes for July planting and fall harvest may have to be mailed-ordered (usually unavailable from local garden supply stores).

For more information on freeze and frost occurrence data for cities in SC, please see the NOAA web site at:

Table 3. Planting Chart — Dates to Plant in Coastal South Carolina

Vegetable Spring Fall
Asparagus Early Jan.-Late Feb.(crowns)
Beans, Snap Mar. 15-30 Aug. 15-30
Beans, Pole Mar. 20-30 Aug. 1-10
Beans, Half-runner Mar. 15-30 Aug. 15-30
Beans, Lima Mar. 20-30 Aug. 1-10
Beans, Pole Lima Mar. 20-Apr. 15 July 20-30
Beans, Edible Soy May 10-July 15
Beets Dec. 15-Jan 30 Aug. 1-20
Broccoli1 Feb. 15-Mar. 1 Aug. 10-Sept. 15
Brussels Sprouts Aug. 1-15
Cabbage1 Dec. 1-Jan 15 Aug. 1-15
Cantaloupe & Honeydew Mar. 10-Apr. 10
Carrots Dec. 15-Jan 30 Aug. 1-20
Cauliflower1 Aug. 1-20
Collards Feb. 20-
Mar. 15
Aug. 1-25
Cucumbers Mar. 20-30 Aug. 1-20
Eggplant1 Mar. 25-Apr.10 July 20-25
Garlic Oct. 1-Nov. 30
Kale Aug. 15-Sept. 15
Lettuce Dec. 20-Feb. 5 Aug. 15-25
Mustard2 Jan. 1-Feb. 25 Aug. 15-Oct. 1
Onion, Sets Feb. 1-Mar. 1 Oct. 1-Nov. 30
Onion, Plants Feb. 1-Mar. 1
Onion, Seeds Oct. 1-Oct. 30
Okra Apr. 1-20 June 15-June 30
Peanuts Apr. 25-May 15
Peas, Garden Jan. 10-20
Peas, Southern Mar. 25-Apr. 15 Aug. 1-10
Pepper1 Mar. 25-Apr. 10 July 20-25
Potatoes, Irish Feb. 1-15 July 15-303
Potatoes, Sweet Apr. 15-July 1
Pumpkins July 1-15
Radish2 Jan. 1-Mar. 1 Sept. 1-Nov. 1
Rutabaga Aug. 1-20
Spinach2 Jan. 1-Feb. 25 Sept 15-Nov. 10
Sweet Corn2 Mar. 10-Apr. 30
Squash, Summer Mar. 20-Apr. 10 Aug. 10-25
Squash, Winter Mar. 20-Apr. 10 Aug. 10-25
Tomato1 Mar. 25-Apr. 10 July 25-30
Turnips2 Jan. 1-Mar. 1 Aug. 25-Oct. 15
Watermelon Mar. 25-Apr. 20

¹Transplant plants.
²For longer harvest season, plant at intervals during suggested dates.
3Seed potatoes for July planting and fall harvest may have to be mailed-ordered (usually unavailable from local garden supply stores).

For more information on freeze and frost occurrence data for cities in SC, please see the NOAA web site at:

Table 4. Vegetables Planting Chart

Vegetable Seed (100-foot row) Spacing Between-row x In-row (inches) Planting Depth (inches) Approximate Days to Harvest
Asparagus 36 x 18 4 crowns 2 years
Beans, Snap ¾ pound 36 x 2 1 50-60
Beans, Pole ½ pound 36 x 4 1 60-70
Beans, Half Runner ½ pound 36 x 2 1 55-65
Beans, Lima ¾ pound 36 x 3 65-75
Beans, Pole Lima ½ pound 36 x 6 70-75
Beans, Edible Soy ½ pound 36 x 3 1 60-70
Beets ½ ounce 30 x 2 ¾ 50-60
Broccoli ½ ounce 36 x 18 ½ 60-70
Brussels Sprouts ½ ounce 36 x 18 ½ 90-100
Cabbage* ½ ounce 36 x 12 3 60-80
Cantaloupe 1 ounce 60 x 24 1 75-85
Carrots ¼ ounce 30 x 1 ¼ 60-70
Cauliflower ¼ ounce 36 x 18 ½ 60-70
Collards ½ ounce 36 x 8 ½ 60-70
Cucumbers 1 ounce 60 x 12 1 50-60
Eggplant* 36 x 18 3 70-80
Kale ½ ounce 36 x 1 ½ 50-55
Lettuce, Leaf ¼ ounce 30 x 2 ½ 40-70
Lettuce, Head ⅛ ounce 30 x 12 ¼ 30-50
Lettuce, Mustard ½ ounce 30 x 2 ½ 40-60
Onions, Green 1 quart 30 x 2 1½ sets 35-45
Onions, Bulb ½ ounce 30 x 3 ½ seed 100-120
Okra 1 ounce 36 x 9 ¾ 60-70
Peanuts ¼ pound 30 x 4 100-120
Peas, Garden 1 pound 36 x 1 65-80
Peas, Southern ½ pound 46 x 4 75-85
Pepper* 36 x 18 3 60-70
Potatoes, Irish 12 pounds 36 x 12 3 90-110
Potatoes, Sweet* 36 x 8 3 120
Radish ½ ounce 24 x 1 ½ 25-30
Rutabaga ½ ounce 36 x 12 ¾ 100-110
Spinach 1 ounce 30 x 2 ½ 50-60
Sweet Corn 4 ounce 36 x 10 1 80-95
Squash, Summer 1 ounce 36 x 15 1 50-60
Squash, Winter ½ ounce 60 x 48 90-120
Tomato* 60 x 24 4 70-80
Turnips ¼ ounce 30 x 2 ½ 60-70
Watermelon ½ ounce 60 x 60 80-100

Para obtener la versión en español de esta hoja informativa, consulte HGIC 1256S, Planificando un Jardín.

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at or 1-888-656-9988.

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