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Alberta Planting Calendar

Updated: Apr 30

Knowing when to plant your vegetable garden in zone 3 Alberta can be a tricky question with so many microclimates in Alberta. Today I will share with you my vegetable garden planting calendar for where I live just south Calgary, Alberta. My last hard frost date is around May 26th, with a few light frosts in June. My latest spring frost has been June 17th. I have everything planted by then, but try to keep an eye on night time temperatures and cover when needed. (Read more about how to know when to cover here.)


A girl in a blue shirt with a hat planting her raised bed vegetable garden in May, gardening in Calgary Alberta in zone 3.
Planting my garden


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Indoor Alberta Planting Calendar


In late January to early March you will want to begin growing your plants for this year's garden by seeding your onions (if you choose to grow them from seed), leeks, celery and peppers and tomatoes. If you wait much later you will most likely have beautiful plants that won't have time to bear much fruit in your Alberta vegetable garden, or in other similar northern climates. If you do not want to start these plants yourself I would suggest picking them up at a local greenhouse in May.


For a full guide on when to start plants indoors for zone 3 gardening and to find your free printable indoor seeding calendar, check out When to Start Seeds Indoors.


Seedlings started indoors for a zone 3 garden in Calgary Alberta Canada
Seedlings Growing Inside my House

In late April begin your squash, watermelon, cucumbers and brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) indoors. These should be planted in peat pots, (such as these ones from Amazon) or some use toilet paper rolls, as these plants do not like their roots being disturbed when they are transplanted. For transplanting make sure pots are good and wet and then cut the bottom off with scissors and plant the rest of the pot into the ground. The rest of the pot will decompose as the plant grow.


For the past couple years I have been experimenting with planting many of my garden vegetables earlier than I had previous years, aiming for the end of April vs. the third weekend in May as I had been doing. It is true that it in southern Alberta, we often experience snow and freezing temperatures over the May long weekend. Even so, many cool weather crops will withstand these temperatures and planting them early can add weeks to your growing season!


I have found that spinach especially likes the cold and can be planted outdoors as soon as your soil is workable. Yes, even if you are expecting more freezing temperatures and snow. Plant spinach in Alberta anytime in March or April for the best spinach crop.


Cool Weather Crops to Plant Outdoors in Alberta in Late April


You may risk the tops of the potatoes freezing, but even so the plant will send up more live shoots and I have found that they grow just fine.



Warm Weather Crops to Plant in Alberta After all Risk of Frost


  • Beans (direct seed)

  • Corn (if you are up for attempting it)

  • Cucumbers

  • Peppers

  • Pumpkin

  • Squash of all other varieties

  • Tomatoes

  • Watermelon

  • Zucchini


Even with waiting until late in May to plant these warmer weather crops, you will need to keep an eye on the temperature. Often in the foothills of Calgary Alberta where I am, the last frost is around June 10th. If it freezes and I have these warm weather plants out, I lose them if they are not covered.







A gardening girl wearing a yellow shirt and holding plants standing out in her Calgary vegetable garden and holding a tray of plants, in zone 3.
Warm weather crops to be planted out late in May

Use a row marker, such as these ones from Amazon, to mark your rows.


If a late frost does happen, towels and blankets work as good covering options for those cool nights. Just put stakes in the ground to raise the blankets up from breaking your plants. For more ideas read Protecting Your Plants from Frost.


Garlic is seeded in October in Alberta and asparagus, strawberries, rhubarb and chives come up early in the spring as perennial plants.


You will want to also read A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for tips on planning, planting and growing your northern vegetable garden.


A stunning backyard vegetable garden in zone 3 Calgary Alberta.  The Alberta planting calendar used had cool crops were seeded in April and warm weather crops were planted in May.



 









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Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba zone 3 planting calendar.


When to plant your vegetable garden in zone 3 Alberta, gardening in Calgary.


4 comments

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4 Comments


the cool weather plants you have listed to plant early, are you referring to planting seeds or seedlings???

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Rose Bayer
Rose Bayer
Jun 28, 2022

Hi. I have read that to get big Spanish onions to seed them in the fall,as well as garlic and lettuce. I live in zone 3b in Alberta. Was wondering if I can do that with turnip seeds too?

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If I plant peas now when should they be red to pick?

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Krista Green
Krista Green
Jan 24, 2022
Replying to

Peas normally take anywhere from 50 to 70 days from the time you plant until harvesting. Check the back of your seed package for your specific variety and when it will mature.

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