The Growing Season PDF Free Download

Growing from Seed

Many seeds are easily sown directly into a well prepared seed bed in their flowering position. The seed packet will indicate where they will thrive, whether it is an open sunny location or dappled shade. Some varieties are best sown indoors, into trays or small pots of seed compost, often these plants are less hardy so this method allows them to be nurtured and protected until the weather has warmed up and they are large enough to be planted out. Varieties with very small or expensive seeds are also best sown in pots or trays, either outside or indoors. This way they are easier to keep an eye on before they are large enough to plant out into the garden.
Before sowing outdoors, the surface of the soil should be raked to a fine consistency. Seeds need to be sown thinly, in rows at the distance indicated on the seed packet. It is best to sow in rows so that it is easier to identify the seedlings as they emerge. The seed should be lightly covered with fine soil and watered gently so they are not disturbed. When sowing indoors into pots or trays, make certain they are clean and be sure to use fresh seed compost. To aid germination the trays should be kept warm and covered with glass, polythene or a propagator lid to help keep the compost moist. The cover should be removed when seedlings appear. Don’t forget to use your free Johnsons seed label to identify the variety sown.
Once seedlings sown outdoors are large enough to handle they need to be thinned out to the spacing indicated on the packet. It is best to remove the weaker seedlings leaving the stronger ones the room they need to grow on. This also improves air circulation around the seedlings, reducing the chance of disease. The soil needs to be kept moist (but not wet) and weed free. Seedlings raised indoors should be carefully transplanted to further pots or trays when they’re large enough to handle. Always hold seedlings by a leaf so you don’t risk crushing the stem. They can then grow on until they are large enough to plant out. Before planting out young plants must be acclimatised to outside conditions by being placed in a sheltered location for a few hours during the day, the time spent outside should gradually be increased over the next two weeks (avoid frosts). They can then be planted out to their final growing position at the spacing indicated on the packet.
The range of dates within which flowering and harvesting can take place is stated on the seed packet. With repeated sowings, fast growing flowers and vegetables can provide continuous displays or crops throughout the indicated flowering or harvest season. Annual flower varieties will flower vigorously the same year they are sown and then die back once their life-cycle is complete. Half hardy annuals and perennials will often flower until the weather turns cold in the autumn. Hardy perennial varieties tend to spend the first year bulking up in order to flower the following year and then repeatedly for many years to come.
Some vegetables need to mature before they are ready to harvest but there are many that can be sown succesionally and harvested as young, tender ‘baby’ vegetables, greatly extending the harvest season.
Hints and Tips for Flowers

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  • For many plants the regular removal of dead flower heads will help to ensure the longest possible flowering season, however, leaving some in place will provide seed to feed birds and hardy plants will have the opportunity to drop seed, providing more flowers the following year.

  • Sowing seed in curved rows or a number of parallel rows to create larger drifts will give a more natural effect.

  • Annuals make an easy filler when sown directly into any gaps in the border.

  • To get the best displays, feed flowers when the buds begin to appear with a liquid feed that is high in potassium. The symbol used for potassium is K.

  • Set aside an inconspicuous area dedicated to growing cut flowers, they can then be picked without spoiling your ornamental flowerbed displays. Cut them when buds just begin to show colour.

Hints and Tips for Vegetables

  • To minimise the risk of pests and diseases keep the vegetable garden clean, don’t leave thinned out plants and weeds you’ve removed lying around as their scent can attract pests.

  • When thinning out any young salad plants, save the thinnings for use in salads.

  • The removal of any developing flower heads will help to ensure the longest possible harvest period for leafy annual herbs.

  • Many herbs can be dried for storage but better flavour is retained by freezing them.

  • Grow vegetables that dislike full sun in the shade of taller vegetables

  • Plants will benefit from a regular liquid feed especially on light sandy soils.

  • Remove leaves shading fruit, allowing sunlight to help ripen them.

The Benefits of Growing from Seed

The satisfaction of raising your own plants from seed is immense. There is enormous pleasure in simply knowing that the vegetables and flowers you enjoy are all the result of your own handiwork.
There are also incredible savings to be made, in most cases a great number of plants can be raised for the relatively small cost of a seed packet. Another benefit is that the large number of seeds often found in a packet allows for repeated sowing. Consecutive sowings of salad leaves, for example, can provide fresh and convenient crops over a long season, providing a huge saving when compared to buying bags of salad leaves from the supermarket. In many cases, the repeated sowing of flowers helps to give the longest possible flowering season for maximum enjoyment. Plants bought in a tray from a garden centre will all have been sown at the same time and are usually ready to harvest or flower all at once before they are gone.
Raising your own plants from seed also allows them to adapt to the local conditions as they develop and, with the greater care that can be given at home, will often result in healthier plants that perform better.
One of the other great joys of growing from seed is being able to share or swap any surplus plants with neighbours and fellow gardeners. It’s a wonderful way to meet new people, discuss techniques and experiences and discover great new varieties.

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Download the PDF Guide here
Map of average growing season length from 'Geography of Ohio,' 1923

A season is a division of the year marked by changes in weather, ecology, and the amount of daylight. The growing season is that portion of the year in which local conditions (i.e. rainfall, temperature, daylight) permit normal plant growth. While each plant or crop has a specific growing season that depends on its genetic adaptation, growing seasons can generally be grouped into macro-environmental classes.


Geographic conditions have major impacts on the growing season for any given area. Latitude is one of the major factors in the length of the growing season. The further from the equator one goes, the angle of the Sun gets lower in the sky. Consequently, sunlight is less direct and the low angle of the Sun means that soil takes longer to warm during the spring months, so the growing season begins later. The other factor is altitude, with high elevations having cooler temperatures which shortens the growing season compared with a low-lying area of the same latitude.

Season extension[edit]

In agriculture, season extension is anything that allows a crop to be cultivated beyond its normal outdoor growing season. Examples include greenhouses, polytunnels, row cover, and cloches.


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North America[edit]

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The continental United States ranges from 49° north at the US-Canadian border to 25° north at the southern tip of the US-Mexican border. Most populated areas of Canada are below the 55th parallel. North of the 45th parallel, the growing season is generally 4–5 months, beginning in late April or early May and continuing to late September-early October, and is characterized by warm summers and cold winters with heavy snow. South of the 35th parallel, the growing season is year-round in many areas with hot summers and mild winters. Cool season crops such as peas, lettuce, and spinach are planted in fall or late winter, while warm season crops such as beans and corn are planted in late winter to early spring. In the desert Southwest, the growing season effectively runs from October to March as the summer months are characterized by extreme heat and arid conditions, making it inhospitable for plants not adapted to this environment.

Certain crops such as tomatoes and melons originated in subtropical or tropical regions, consequently they require hot weather and a growing season of eight months or more. In colder climate areas where they cannot be directly sowed in the ground, these plants are usually started indoors in a greenhouse and transplanted outside in late spring or early summer.

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The Pyrenees and Alps effectively divide Europe into two different regions. The Mediterranean, which is below the 45th parallel, has growing seasons of six months or more and is characterized by hot summers and mild winters. Precipitation mainly falls between October and March, with the summer being dry. In the southern Mediterranean, the growing season is year-round. Mediterranean vegetation is often evergreen due to the mild winters.

Northern Europe ranges from the 45th parallel up past the Arctic Circle. The growing seasons are shorter due to the lower angle of the Sun and generally range from five months to as little as three in Scandinavia and Russia. The Atlantic coast of Europe is moderated considerably by humid ocean air, thus winters are mild and it is rare to see freezing weather or snow. Summers are also mild and as a consequence, many heat-loving plants such as corn will not grow in northern Europe. Further inland, away from the ocean, winters become considerably colder. Despite the short growing season in Scandinavia and Russia, the extreme length of daylight during summer (17 hours or more) allows plants to put on significant growth.

Tropics and deserts[edit]

In some warm climates, such as the tropical savanna climates (Aw), the hot semi-arid climates (BSh), the hot desert climates (BWh) or the Mediterranean climates (Cs), the growing season is limited by the availability of water, with little growth in the dry season. Unlike in cooler climates where snow or soil freezing is a generally insurmountable obstacle to plant growth, it is often possible to greatly extend the growing season in hot climates by irrigation using water from cooler and/or wetter regions. This can in fact go so far as to allow year-round growth in areas that without irrigation could only support xerophytic plants.

In the tropical regions, the growing season can be interrupted by periods of heavy rainfall, called the rainy season. For example, in Colombia, where coffee is grown and can be harvested year-round, they don’t see a rainy season. However, in Indonesia, another large coffee-producing area, they experience this rainy season and the growth of the coffee beans is interrupted.[1]

See also[edit]

The Growing Season PDF Free download
  • Annual growth cycle of grapevines - growing season of grapevines


  1. ^'Growing season'. National Geographic. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
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