Updated at: 15-01-2023 - By: Sienna Lewis

South Dakota is a great place to raise a wide variety of crops, from cabbage and carrots to onions and peppers to potatoes and pumpkins. As long as you provide optimal growing circumstances, you can choose from a wide variety of plants. Other crops, on the other hand, are restricted by South Dakota’s growth zones.

It can get cold in South Dakota, which has zones 3b to 4b. Due of this, some crops may be damaged or destroyed by freezing temperatures. A greenhouse or Krostrade.com can be used to start crops indoors all year round, and this is the best answer for this problem.

What Vegetables To Grow In South Dakota?

Veggies in South Dakota can be divided into heat-tolerant and frost-tolerant crops according to the Open Prairie of South Dakota State University. Asparagus, celery, sweet corn, cucumber, pea, eggplant, and lettuce were among the 15 vegetables specified in the expansion. Even in a greenhouse, South Dakotans can grow the eight listed below with the fewest difficulties.

Temperature fluctuations in the location can affect how long each vegetable takes to grow.

List of best vegetables to grow in South Dakota


March to May or May to June are the best months to plant cabbage in South Dakota. There are early-maturing and autumn-maturing kinds of cabbage, giving you two growing seasons to choose from. Also good for South Dakota are Pak Choi and Napa cabbage, which originate from China.

10 Best Vegetables to Grow in South Dakota (2023 Guide) - The Gardening Dad

To avoid bolting, place your cabbage transplants when the stems are still small. It’s possible to avoid problems like black rot and tip burn by selecting disease-resistant cultivars. Chinese cabbage should be planted in the middle of the summer since it bolts quickly in the spring.


Carrots can be grown successfully in South Dakota from a wide variety of cultivars. In making your choice, you must take into account your soil type and the planned application of your harvests. Chantenay is better for canning, whereas Danvers can handle thick soil.


An onion crop grown under long or day-neutral conditions will thrive in South Dakota. Early March is a good time to plant them. Miniature bulbs can also be used, but be aware that they are prone to exploding.

Temperature variations and cold weather stress can also cause onions to bolt. It’s for this reason that farmers are turning more toward greenhouse farming, which can safeguard their crops from the erratic weather outside. In the greenhouse, you have complete control over the temperature and other variables.


If you live in South Dakota, you’re able to cultivate both bell and habanero peppers. Color, size, and disease resistance vary among the many varieties. Blossom end rot can occur in either sweet or spicy pepper plantings.


Potatoes of all colors can be grown in the state, including yellow and blue-skinned kinds. However, red and white-skinned potatoes are the most frequent. The starch content, storage properties, and disease tolerance vary from type to type.


The size, shape, and color of the pumpkins you may grow in South Dakota are all different. Their harvest times, growing seasons, and resistance to mildew are also diverse. For competitions, you can cultivate large variations of the same species.


Scallop fruits and Italian marrows, such as zucchini, are two options. Squash can be harvested after 65 days of growth. Immature summer squash are commonly harvested before the rind hardens in South Dakota.


Deciduous versus indeterminate tomatoes will depend on what you intend to do with the fruits. In terms of canning, the former is good, while the latter can produce for a long time. Blossom end rot is a common concern among farmers who grow determinate types.

What Planting Zone Is South Dakota?

Zones 3b, 4a, and 4b are only a few of the many classifications in South Dakota. Then again, there are a few sites that fall under the 5a planting zone. Prior to planting, learn about each vegetable’s temperature requirements and maturation period because the state has an average winter temperature of -35°F.

How To Grow Vegetables In South Dakota

A vegetable is classified as cool-season if it can handle hot weather or not, according to South Dakota State University. Make careful you plant the crops that can’t handle the heat in April or May. Warm-season crops, on the other hand, must be planted after a frost.

In order for vegetables to thrive, they need at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. In addition, the land must be well-drained and fertile. In addition to the typical upkeep, the usage of a greenhouse in South Dakota is helpful since it provides wind protection.

The popularity of heirloom cultivars is increasing, and seed catalogs are expanding their offerings to include additional types. These are types that have been passed down through generations of gardeners and are known for their exceptional flavor. A few of these kinds, on the other hand, may only thrive in a small portion of the world. Other unattractive features include a lack of consistent coloring, the potential to break, stringiness, and other defects. They may also be more susceptible to disease. Make an informed decision.

Hybrids are the result of meticulous cross-breeding to produce offspring with desirable traits like increased yield, disease resistance, flavor, or appearance. In addition, the vigor of hybrid plants is greater than that of their inbred counterparts. Due to the fact that seed producers must be able to return their investment by selling these types extensively, these cultivars are more commonly tailored for widespread distribution. In order to grow similar plants next year, you will need to start with a new crop from seed collected from this year’s harvest.

There is a vast range of types that have been developed throughout the years for their desirable qualities in between the hybrids and heirlooms.

It’s best to search for “AAS” (All-American Selection) on the label, which indicates that the product has performed very well in tests conducted all throughout the United States. Many other varieties may work just as well for you if you’re willing to try them.

Species of plants

Asparagus. Look for durable hybrids like ‘Jersey Giant,’ ‘Jersey King,’ and other all-male kinds. Many gardeners still choose the tried-and-true “Mary/Martha Washington” and “Viking” varieties, despite their lower yields and greater susceptibility to disease. Try ‘Purple Passion’, which has spears with a purple hue (they turn green when cooked). Keep an eye out for California-only releases like “UC 157.” They aren’t hardy enough to survive in the Badlands of South Dakota, unfortunately.

Tofu (fresh, not dry types). When growing bush beans, you will need to reseed every two to three weeks until mid-summer because they have a shorter harvest time than pole beans. Bush beans are also a week or two ahead of pole varieties when it comes to bearing. It’s a lot easier to cook snap beans than string beans because you don’t have to de-string them or snap off the ends beforehand. French beans must be harvested at least every two or three days because they are designed to be plucked when they are still extremely young (pencil thin). Planting lima beans requires a thoroughly warmed soil (60–65oF). Cauliflower with broccoli. Due to our fluctuating spring temperatures, these two, especially cauliflower, might be difficult to grow in South Dakota. As a result of its heat tolerance and longer harvest period, sprouting broccoli (i.e., broccoli without a huge central head) is more popular.

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Species that are advertised as “doing well in the northeast” should be avoided. In the spring, you’ll obtain the best results with small, young transplants; as they grow larger, they become more sensitive to temperature variations and lose their ability to correctly head. After transplanting, seedlings that have been rootbound are more likely to develop “button” heads.

Cabbage. Plant early-maturing varieties in your garden.

Late May to early June are ideal planting times for spring-maturing varieties, as are autumn-maturing varieties. Different varieties are available that are resistant to black rot, tip burn, Fusarium wilt (yellows), and head splitting or bursting. To prevent the spread of blackleg and black rot diseases, choose seed that has been hot-water treated. In order to avoid bolting, transplants should be planted in the ground when their stems are smaller than a pencil. Types of ornamental cabbage can be eaten (barely). In order to prevent bolting, make sure to plant transplants while their stems are little larger than a pencil.

Cabbage from China It refers to a variety of subspecies, including both heading and nonheading varieties. Napa, Michihli, and Pak Choi all have heads that resemble savoy cabbage, but Pak Choi has long, loose leaves like swiss chard (prone to bolting). The Chinese want to plant in the middle of summer to prevent the propensity.

This happens in the spring, when the cabbage is ready to be harvested.

Carrots. If you have a lot of rocks or heavy clay in your soil, you should go with shorter plants. Nantes is the most common type.

Coiled and thin-skinned, they are ideal for fresh consumption. Chantenay, with a gentle taper and a blunt point, is ideal for canning; it is thick-skinned. For canning, Danvers has a higher fiber content than Nantes and is better suited to thick soils; Imperator has long, slender roots and is common in grocery stores due to its extended season and cone form (think Bugs Bunny). (The small carrots sold in supermarkets are slices of larger Imperator carrots.) Specialty carrots come in a broad variety of shapes and sizes, some of which are virtually ball-shaped, while others are exceptionally vitamin-rich or extra delicious. The plants can be spaced closer together and harvested when they are still little, or you can buy types marketed as “miniature.”

Celery. Celery should only be grown by the most adventurous and determined gardeners in the state’s hotter regions. Celery bolts when temperatures fluctuate and the evenings are cold, so search for types that are resistant to bolting and have a shorter growing season.

Coneflowers. The most critical differential is between su (conventional sweet corn types) and se (special hybrid varieties of corn).

If you’re looking for something that’s a little sweeter, you can try one of the newer-generation hybrids, which are mixtures.

Sugars are converted to starch in the su types immediately after picking, whereas the se and sh2 varieties take longer.

genes that slow this process down, allowing them to retain their sweetness for longer

longer. Se kinds tend to be more crisp-textured than sh2 varieties. Soils lower than 60oF will cause the seeds of both se and sh2 to decay.

There is one exception to the rule that pollen source has no effect on the fruit quality of vegetables: sweet corn. Even if you don’t intend to save the seed, you should be on the lookout for sources of corn pollen. There should be a separation between sweet corn and other types of corn, such as hulled popcorn and Indian corn. In order to avoid having the flavor and texture of field corn in the ears, Sh2 varieties must be kept at a distance of at least 300–500 feet from su and se types as well as field corn. It’s possible to avoid pollination by planting early and late types.)

concomitantly nate. It is possible to cultivate Se kinds.

other than su kinds Even more complication is added to the situation.

are already available in hybrid forms that combine se with sh2, thus

Make sure to read the isolation requirements thoroughly in the descriptions. Even if the kernels are a little darker in color, the taste should be good if they were pollinated by a yellow sweet corn.

You’ve complied with all of the aforementioned rules). While some cultivars are specifically designed for baby corn, most varieties can be harvested at the 2–3-inch stage before to pollination or approximately one to two days following silking.

Cucumbers. Sliced cucumbers are the most common type of cucumber.

‘Warty’ skin is more common in fresh eating and pickling. To avoid mushy pickles, exclusively use burpless (no bitter skin) varieties. There are a few “dual-purpose” cultivars on the market that can be eaten fresh or pickled, but they are not burpless. Look for bush-type kinds, or create stout trellises, if your space is constrained. Eggplant. Either long or huge oval are the two most common shapes.

Decorative and edible container types are available, as well as smaller-fruited varieties. Days to maturity might range from 50 to 80 days after transplanting, depending on the cultivar you choose. Eggplants can have a wide range of colors in their fruit, from white to pale pink-purple to black. Tobacco mosaic virus can be tolerated by some cultivars.

Lettuce. There are a variety of lettuces available.

Romaine; Butterhead; and Crisphead (Crisphead) are all loose-leaf lettuces (Iceberg-types).

In South Dakota, crisphead varieties are not suitable because they require lengthy, chilly summers. The description should include “bolt-resistant” or “slow to bolt,” as well as “heat-tolerant,” if you’re planning to cultivate the plant in the spring or early summer.

Muskmelon, or cantaloupe in the United States, is a sweet, juicy fruit. In order to encourage developing fruit, vines need to be maintained directly. From 65 to 88 days are needed for full maturation. Traditionally, “eastern” types are fresh-market variations with coarse netting, deep sutures (ribs), powerful aroma, mushy meat, and a short shelf life; whereas “western” versions are smaller, lack ribs, have less aroma, and keep longer in the refrigerator. It’s possible that newer variants may incorporate the best features of both kinds. It’s important to know that “shipping” cultivars have harder flesh and a milder flavor, but they store better. To minimize the risk of disease, choose melon types that are resistant to powdery mildew, Fusarium wilt, and downy mildew.

Melons that are similar include: 80–88-day honeydews have green or white rinds and meat with smooth skin. Blue-green skin and orange flesh characterize Charentais (75 days). It has a yellow rind and pink, delicious flesh (90 days). Gourmet flavors and a variety of flesh colors distinguish a slew of different varieties.

Onions. Growers in South Dakota should choose for lengthy days or day-neutral varieties. Onions can be grown from seeds.

the bulbs were purchased in bags and planted in the beginning of March. A word of caution: if the sets are excessively huge, they may bolt instead of creating a bulb (over a dime’s diameter). As a general rule, the longer an onion can be stored, the longer it will last. Cultivars in the same color group may also differ significantly in their ability to store.

Peas. Green peas, our “typical” garden kind; snap peas, with an edible pod (some varieties may need to be destringed); and snow peas, likewise edible pods, usually requiring destringing, are the three primary sorts for fresh eating. When making your selection, keep in mind heat tolerance and resistance to powdery mildew.

Peppers. Peppers can be mild (such as the bell pepper) or extremely spicy (such as the habernero pepper).

range of sizes are available. The color spectrum includes everything from

green or bluish green as an immature color, which changes to red or yellow when mature

mature. You should search for kinds that are resistant to diseases like bacterial leaf spot or certain viruses if you have had problems in the past. Blossom end rot susceptibility varies between varieties, according to reports, but this isn’t often mentioned in descriptions, so if you’ve had a lot of trouble with it in the past, you may need to try a few other kinds or varieties to see if it helps.

Potatoes. Potatoes with red or white skin and flesh are the most popular, but growers can also cultivate those with yellow or blue skin or flesh. If you’re unsure of how to use or store a particular kind, read the product description to learn more. While certain types are better suited for boiling or mashing and baking, others can be used for both purposes, depending on their starch level. Some will keep well, while others will not do so. It’s best to start using “seed” (pieces of tubers cultivated under certified circumstances to avoid infections) unless you are growing a heritage variety that cannot be obtained from a verified source. Don’t use potatoes from the grocery store for seed; they’re probably contaminated.

a sprout inhibitor has been used, and this is common

the spread of infections such as scabies dis-satisfaction in the past

to minimize issues, try to find plants that are resistant to scab and/or blight

Avoid using manure, which can cause scabs, as it might exacerbate the problem.

Pumpkins. A variety of sizes, shapes, and even colors are available for these plants, ranging from a 3-inch diameter to a 3-foot diameter. Pie or processing variety will be less stringy if you want to use them in baking as well as adornment. For “giant” pumpkin contests, type “giant” in the search bar.

types of (these are actually a different species, Cucurbita maxima). Make sure to check the harvest time for all pumpkins, as some types require too much time to grow in South Dakota. Powdery mildew is a common disease, so search for types that are resistant to it. Squash. Summer squash includes varieties that are harvested before their rinds have gotten hard. Bush-type plants provide a variety of summer squash fruits. Scallop (or patty pan), usually white or yellow; constricted neck (crooked neck or straight neck), usually yellow and club-shaped; and Italian marrows such as zucchini, cocozelle, and caserta, which range from gray-green to dark green to yellow. Harvest time for summer squash varieties is 50–65 days. Powdery mildew, cucumber mosaic virus, zucchini yellow mosaic virus, and watermelon mosaic virus are all tolerable to some types. Hybrids that are resistant to many viruses tend to be less productive than those that are not. When the fruit is ripe and the rind is hard, it is considered a winter squash. Most of these plants are vining varieties, which necessitate a large amount of growing space (50–100 square feet per hill of 2–3 plants). They should be grown in Gardeners who have limited area can also plant semi-vining and bush-type kinds. Squash can grow up to 100 pounds in weight, depending on the type of squash you choose to grow. As a result of squash’s ability to create a wide range of skin hues,

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options for decoration Powdery mildew and/or Fusarium wilt tolerance varieties are available.

Tomatoes. Deciduous and bushy kinds are preferable.

if you want to preserve the fruit, because they develop their fruit in clusters. Indeterminate

varietals will continue to grow and produce for a longer period of time.

a specific length of time. There is less pulp in the paste, ‘Plum’, or ‘Roma’ types, making them ideal for cooking and canning, although they can also be enjoyed fresh. Blossom end rot is more common in determinate varieties, likely as a result of the strain placed on the plant by the simultaneous production of all the fruit. There may be a difference in flavor between early and late-season cultivars. If you’ve experienced problems with wilting, look for disease resistance. Tobacco mosaic virus, Verticillium wilt, Fusarium wilt, rootknot Nematode, and Tobacco wilt are four of the most frequent tomato illnesses.

Watermelon. Shorter season cultivars should be sought out by farmers in the colder regions of the state. Watermelons without seeds are becoming more popular, but they require special care, such as planting them as transplants so that the seed can grow under optimal conditions (85°F and equally moist). To bear fruit, seedless watermelons need pollen from a seeded neighboring plant. In terms of size, flesh color, and rind color, growers have many options. Ice-box or “personal-size” melons are small, round fruits weighing 5–15 pounds each, ideal for households with less than five members. As a general rule, most watermelons mature approximately 75–85 days after planting, however there are exceptions.

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There are certain regions of South Dakota graded 5a in the USDA planting zone 3b to 4b. Cauliflower is also a good choice for vegetable gardening in South Dakota because of the mild climate. Additionally, South Dakota State University’s list included asparagus, celery, sweet corn and cucumbers.

The maturation period and temperature requirements of your veggies are the next consideration after identifying cold- and warm-season crops. Starting indoors in a greenhouse is also an option because of the state’s intense heat and wind.