Planting and Care & Harvest Guides for Every Season & Climate

No matter if you are a new or experienced gardener, our Plant Growing Guides will assist you in cultivating vegetables, herbs, flowers, and shrubs that thrive in your climate. These guides offer tips, recommended varieties, and plenty of wit and wisdom!

Growing vegetables at their optimal time requires optimal temperatures in your region’s warm and cool seasons. Here is some information based on hardiness zones to help determine planting dates and varieties that can withstand frost-free seasons in your locality.


Gardening can be an exhilarating hobby. You’ll enjoy beautifying outdoor spaces, reconnecting with nature, and relishing in homegrown harvests, but to ensure successful crops, you must understand your specific climate and planting seasons for each plant – this is especially relevant when dealing with vegetable crops, which generally fall into two distinct groups – excellent season and warm season categories; planting at an inappropriate time could result in reduced productivity and stunted growth.

Temperature can enormously affect your garden’s success, and understanding when frost-free dates fall is vital to starting seeds, cultivating vegetables, and growing flowers and shrubs successfully. Temperature can fluctuate widely across regions, so knowing when frost-free days fall can help determine when it is safe to sow seeds, cultivate vegetables, or grow flowers and shrubs successfully.

Soil preparation should be the starting point for your garden success strategy. This involves clearing away any remaining snow or debris, loosening up soil layers, and adding organic material such as compost or aged manure. This will improve structural properties, nutrient availability, and water retention and provide your plants with a healthier environment to grow in during spring.

Next, gradually adapt your plants to changing weather conditions by mulching to protect winter annuals and perennials, starting seeds indoors during the winter, planting bare-root plants when the ground has sufficiently thawed, etc. By following these simple strategies, you can ensure a successful and sustainable gardening experience every season, nurturing your garden throughout its growth and reaping a bountiful harvest throughout the summertime!


Summer is the warmest season, and plants grow and mature to produce their highest yields. Additionally, it provides ample outdoor recreation opportunities and allows you to sample fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Seasonal changes vary slightly across locations, yet all result from the tilting of the Earth’s axis, which controls both the amount and direction of sunlight received. One notable variation between seasons occurs nearer the equator due to more direct sun rays being received there, and therefore, temperatures are more consistent from month to month than elsewhere on the globe.

Planting and harvesting at the correct times of year are vitally important to any garden’s success, particularly with vegetables that fall under either warm-season or cool-season categories. If a crop is planted too early or late, its productivity will suffer, and your garden’s productivity could take a substantial hit. Vegetable planting guides help gardeners track when to sow each crop type so it will reach maximum yield and grow as intended.

In the United States, summer typically begins Memorial Day weekend and ends Labor Day in September. Countries with four-season climates, such as Canada, usually observe summer from Victoria Day until Labor Day; it typically begins around Victoria Day and lasts until the first Monday in September. According to Chinese astronomy, summer generally starts on 5 May when Jieqi (known as Lixia in Chinese) turns into Liqiu on 7 August (the solar term being Liqiu).

Summer days become longer, and temperatures rise while nighttime temperatures decrease. July and August are the hottest months, causing heat waves and drought conditions depending on where you reside. To reduce stress and damage from high temperatures, temporary shade solutions offer relief by creating an environment for sensitive plants to flourish.


At this time of year, days shorten, and temperatures cool off, providing the ideal environment for planting trees, shrubs, and flowers. Furthermore, Fall is also the perfect opportunity to clean out and organize the garden before winter hits; ensure that frost dates and harvest days are tracked so vegetables can be harvested at their prime!

The autumn equinox typically falls on September 22nd or 23rd in the northern hemisphere and marks the official beginning of Fall, when both daytime and nighttime lengths are equal worldwide. While it’s a fantastic momentous occasion, remember that Fall only lasts one month as December’s Winter Solstice awaits!

Deciduous trees shift color as temperatures decrease and drop their leaves in an elegant display that’s best observed from above. Now is an excellent time of year to plant native species of plants suited to local climates in your garden; doing so fosters biodiversity while supporting local wildlife.

Fall is a busy season for farmers to harvest crops and prepare for winter. Many cultures mark this transition between summer and Autumn with various rites and festivals celebrating food and life and natural decorations and festive lighting to celebrate food and life. Fall is also an excellent time for decorating homes with natural materials like mums or pumpkins to add charm.

Fruit trees, berries, and vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts should be planted during Autumn as part of succession planting plans. Keeping accurate records will help ensure an abundant supply of fresh produce all winter long! This makes good use of rain barrels—collect all that rainfall during Autumn to water overwintering plants!


Winter season gardening can be challenging for gardeners, but they can survive and flourish with proper strategies. This Plant Growing Guide includes advice for transitioning from warm-season to cool-season vegetables, starting seeds indoors in late winter to later sow outdoors, gradually acclimatizing outdoor crops to cold weather, hardiness zones, soil conditions, planting times, pests & diseases management techniques, harvesting tips as well as general harvesting wisdom that make this an invaluable resource for seasonal garden enthusiasts.

This article is part of The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s Planting, Care, and Harvest Guides for Every Season and Climate library.

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