When Does Gardening Season Start? A Complete Guide for All Zones

when does gardening season start

A lush, vibrant garden can be a beautiful addition to any home. But when is the best time to start planting? It depends on where you live. The gardening season varies depending on your climate zone. In this article, we’ll discuss the different factors that affect when gardening season starts, and we’ll provide a guide to help you determine when it’s time to start planting in your area.

The gardening season is typically defined as the period of time when the weather is warm enough to grow plants outdoors. This period can vary significantly depending on your location. In some areas, the gardening season may start as early as March or April, while in other areas it may not start until May or even June. However, there are some general guidelines that you can follow to determine when gardening season starts in your area.

Factors That Affect When Gardening Season Starts

There are a number of factors that can affect when gardening season starts in your area. These factors include:

1. Climate Zone

The climate zone you live in is the most important factor that will determine when gardening season starts. The USDA has divided the United States into 13 climate zones, with each zone representing a different range of average annual temperatures. The higher the number, the colder the zone. You can find your climate zone by visiting the USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

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2. Elevation

Elevation can also affect when gardening season starts. Generally, the higher the elevation, the later gardening season will start. This is because temperatures at higher elevations are typically cooler than at lower elevations.

3. Microclimate

Your local microclimate can also affect when gardening season starts. For example, if you live in a valley, you may be able to start gardening earlier in the spring than someone who lives on a hilltop. This is because valleys tend to be warmer than hilltops.

4. Weather Patterns

Weather patterns can also affect when gardening season starts. For example, if you have a late frost, you may need to wait to start gardening until the danger of frost has passed.

A Guide to When Gardening Season Starts

Here is a general guide to when gardening season starts in different climate zones:

Zone 1-4: April-June
Zone 5-6: March-May
Zone 7-8: February-April
Zone 9-10: January-March
Zone 11-12: Year-round

What to Plant When Gardening Season Starts

Once you know when gardening season starts in your area, you can start planning what to plant. Here are a few tips for choosing what to plant:

    Start with cool-weather crops such as lettuce, spinach, and radishes.

  1. Choose plants that are suited to your climate zone.
  2. Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date.
  3. Transplant seedlings outdoors after the danger of frost has passed.
  4. Water your plants regularly and fertilize them according to the directions on the package.

Tips for Extending Gardening Season

There are a few things you can do to extend gardening season in your area:

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1. Plant in a greenhouse or cold frame

A greenhouse or cold frame can help to protect your plants from the elements and extend the gardening season by several weeks.

2. Use row covers

Row covers can be used to protect plants from frost and cold weather.

3. Plant fall crops

Fall crops, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and kale, can be planted in the late summer and harvested in the fall.

4. Mulch your plants

Mulch can help to protect your plants from the cold and retain moisture.


Gardening season is a time to enjoy the beauty of nature and the fruits of your labor. By following the tips in this article, you can determine when gardening season starts in your area and start planning your garden. With a little planning, you can extend gardening season and enjoy fresh, homegrown produce all year long.

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