Everyone has a different growing season depending on where they live. You’ll find most seed catalogs mark the growing season by zones.
First, find your zone to calculate your growing season.
A zone indicates which plants will thrive in your area. Certain plants won’t thrive in a southern heat, so it’s important to know what zone certain plants do well in, so you don’t purchase a plant that can’t grow in your area. In Arkansas, we are in zone 7-8. Which means we have hot, hot, HOT summers and need drout resistant plants. If you live up North with snowy winters and cooler summers, you’ll need plants that are cold hardy. Starting to make sense? If you aren’t sure which zone you are in, you can find out by looking at this zone map.
Secondly, when determining your growing season, look up in the Farmer’s Almanac your first and last frost dates.
Once you’ve determined what planting zone you live in, you’ll need to determine frost dates. In every area there are first frost dates and last frost dates. By definition, the first frost date is an estimated date in which the Farmer’s Almanac predicts temperatures will drop enough to create frost (which kills most seeds and plants) in your area. The last day of frost is the same concept, but estimating when temperatures will rise high enough you will no longer have frost in your area.
Third you need to count the number of days in your growing season.
Now that you know your zone, your first and last frost dates, your ready to start calculating. In Arkansas, our last frost date is typically around April 10th. So pull out your calendar and mark whatever date your last frost date is. This is the day you can technically begin planting. Of course, weather changes from season to season. So remember this is just a guess.
Now look at your last frost date. Our last frost date is typically October 15th. Mark this date on your calendar. All of the days in between these two dates are your growing season! For us, we have around 240 days. Most people have about half of that.
The main reason this is helpful is because as you start planting each plant has a certain number of days until harvest. If you only have 90 days in your growing season and your plant takes 70 days til harvest, you won’t be able to plant more than one cycle. In our garden we do succession planting (if you don’t know what that is be looking for a post soon). The gist of succession planting is you can plant multiple times because your growing season is so long you have time for plants to completely grow to fruition.
So whip out that Farmer’s Almanac, grab your calendar and get to counting!
~Until Next Time,
Question: How many days did you calculate in your growing season?