I understand that people from all over the world might be reading this blog and because of this, there’s always a chance that there is some confusion about when to plant vegetables. While I might be starting seeds for cool weather crops in late December or early January – that would be absurd for someone else who lives in a different climate. While it’s spring in South Carolina, it’s fall in Australia, so for that reason, I want to make sure anyone who reads this blog, at any time, I can navigate their way through finding out when to plant.
Knowing when to plant will help you avoid frustrating attempts at growing things out of season. This may be why some people have turned away from gardening altogether. While it’s possible to grow cool crops during the warm season and start warm season crops indoors when temperatures are still cold outdoors, it doesn’t mean the plant will grow to maturity and produce an abundant crop. It also sets your plants up for failure and exposes them to pests they are not built to fight off.
I’m located in zone 8a, and when I write about what I’ve planted, I don’t want people to get discouraged if it seems like my plants are so much more advanced. Most likely, we’re in different planting regions and it’s very likely that my plants have had more time to mature.
It’s for that reason that today, I want to provide some resources for those living in other climate regions.
How to locate your plant hardiness zone
If you haven’t already determined which plant hardiness zone you live in, I encourage you to do that now. If you’re in the US, you can do that by viewing the Plant Hardiness Map provided by the USDA. It’s easy to use, just enter your zip code or simply click the state you’re located in. If you live in other parts of the world, you can use the Global Plant Hardiness Map you see below, or you can visit this link:
How to find your frost-free date and days in your growing season
There are many plants that can’t tolerate any frost whatsoever, so even though the weather seems like it has warmed up, you’ll want to refrain from planting if it hasn’t made it past the frost-free date in your area. For my area, that date is April 1, but for other areas it could be weeks earlier or weeks later. If you plant anything before the frost-free date, you run the risk of losing your crops to a cold snap that kills your plants in one evening and all of your hard work would be wasted.
It’s easy to find your frost free date, visit The Old Farmer’s Almamac website and enter your zip code and you’ll get detailed information about your last spring frost date, the first frost date and the length of your growing season. The length for my zone (8a) is 214 days, that gives me plenty of time to grow all sorts of things, but every region isn’t the same, so be sure to check your area.
Use charts to help you decide when to plant specific vegetables
There are books and sites on the internet that can help you figure out when to plant carrots. The Old Farmer’s Almanac also has an awesome chart that tells you when to plant vegetables in your area. Just put in your zip code, city or state and you’ll find a planting chart that you can print for quick reference. You can also set up reminder emails that will notify you when it’s time to plant something indoors or out.
I hope this post helps you sort out what you’d like to grow. If you have photos you’d like to share, please use the contact page to submit them. If you have questions or comments, please submit them below.