Get in Sync with the Seasons
Imagining Garden

Relative to climate, vegetables are divided into two groups, cool and warm-season. The vegetables growing cool season are growing best in the temperatures range between 40°F and 75°F. In the US, most areas can be grown cool-season vegetables two to four weeks before the last spring frost. The cool-season vegetables usually develop edible roots, stems, leaves, or buds. Most cool-season vegetables are able to accept cool weather condition, and their seeds germinate in cooler soils. Their root system are shallower, and plants are smaller than other vegetables. When the day time temperatures go up to 80°F and higher, cool season vegetables will stop producing. In regions where nights remain cool, you can grow a small area of cool season vegetables throughout summer. In the hotter regions, better growing cool season vegetables in early spring time. The carrots, parsnips, and garlic can be survive throughout the winter in some regions under a snow cover.


Some vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, corn, and okra are living in the warm season, specifically, in tropical climates. Usually, they develop edible fruits. Warm season vegetables will be killed in the very cool weather condition, and won't germinate or perform well if temperatures fall below 50°F. If you protect them from frosts and freezes with cold frames, you can grow warm season vegetables in the cool weather condition regions, but they will not grow very well.


The frost temperatures are 32°F or below that mark the beginning and the end of the frost season. The vegetables are killed by the low temperatures, they grow from seeds to harvest in one summer. The time start from spring and end in the fall. Hence, these start and end frosts, and the number of days between frosts are critical markers for vegetable gardeners.


In the north regions, spring come late, while fall is sooner than south regions. The day time in the north is longer in summer but relatively cool. In the south regions, spring comes earlier and lasts longer, and fall comes later and more gradually. The summer in south regions are longer and hotter than north regions. Look at the map below, you can find the seasonal effects of all regions in US. These maps help you to mark the frost season in your region. Using cold frames, hot caps, and row covers can be helped gardeners to protect the vegetables in the cool or hot regions.





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