Warm Season Vegetables

Kathleen Cue, Nebraska Extension in Dodge County

Cool season vegetables are those that grow best during the cooler growing conditions of spring. Warm season vegetables are those that do not survive frost and should be planted after May 10, around Mother’s Day, to ensure no late frost damage.  If planted earlier, plants should be covered if frost is forecasted.   Since warm season vegetables thrive in the heat of summer, there is no advantage to planting early outside when soils are cold as this slows plant vigor.  Is it better to direct seed into the garden or do warm season vegetables do better started indoors? For some, like tomatoes and peppers, plants planted in the garden give a head start, producing earlier, while others it’s easier to direct sow.

Warm Season Vegetable

Direct Sow Seeds

Set Out Plants


Green Bean


Pole and bush types.

Corn: Sweet and Popping


Bi-color sweet corn is one of the most popular types.


Slicing, pickling, burpless types; use caution when setting out plants as roots break easily.



Traditional egg-shaped as well as slender Asian types.

Greens: Malabar spinach, New Zealand spinach, Swiss chard

These greens are heat tolerant. Malabar and New Zealand spinach are not a true spinach but have a flavor similar to spinach.

Melon: Honeydew, Muskmelon, Watermelon

Check the number of days until harvest; use caution when setting out plants as roots break easily.



Harvest when small for tender pods.



Start seeds indoors in January; sets will produce scallion-type early and bulbs later on.



From sweet to mildly hot to scorching, check the Scoville Index for degree of hotness.

Squash, Summer


Numerous types, including zucchini, patty pan, yellow crookneck.

Squash, Winter


Butternut, acorn, blue Hubbard, pumpkin.

Sweet Potato


Purchase cuttings or start your own.



Tremendous variety including heirloom, hybrid, cherry, Roma, beefsteak.

Go to Dodge County Horticulture Web Page for more gardening information.

Photo: Garden Plot
Garden Plot Image