Cool-season crops are best suited for planting in autumn, winter and spring. In spring, cool-season crops can be planted just before or just after the last frost. Planting cool-seaon crops in autumn and winter takes a bit more planning.
To plan and plant your autumn and winter garden follow these steps:
Step 1. Start with the number of days it takes the crop you are planting to grow to maturity and harvest. Days to maturity will be listed on the seed package. (If you are transplanting vegetable starts from the garden center, the days to maturity from transplanting are usually listed on the plant marker.)
Step 2. Determine the average first frost date in your region. If you are not sure, check with a nearby garden center, the master gardener program in your area, or the county or state agriculture extension office. Remember that this date is an average and thus a guideline for your calculations. The first frost date varies from year to year.
Step 3. Add 10 days to the number of days to maturity for the crop you are planting. Now count back on a calendar from the average first frost date the total number of days for each crop. That is the last recommended date to direct seed the crop. (Direct seed means sowing the seed in the soil of your garden.)
As a quick guide, here's how many days several cool-season crops need to reach maturity: