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Best planting calendar planners based on frost date?

 
pollinator
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Location: Ontario - zone 6b!
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I am planning on growing a lot of things this year, including lots of new things- and very frustrated with seed packets that say "plant in x month" , when the seed packet is from Italy or wherever, and I am in a very different climate. Our last frost date is May 10-20th, and I am trying to plan seed starting dates.

Theoretically I could plan the old fashioned way and take a calendar and mark it all back.... but I am lazy, have  20+ things to plant, and am wondering if anyone has found something online that does this? Where you provide the last frost date, and a list of what you want to grow, and it spits out a calendar?
 
gardener
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There is a guy on YouTube that has a channel called OneYardRevolution. He hasn't made new videos in a while but back when he was active he made a spreadsheet for figuring out planting dates based on last frost date. Simple to use and you can download it or use it online. Here is the link:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Atd6d9NeJBIoTCkEet4y_wiO6K2U7fttQDoKji3QEsA/edit?usp=drivesdk
 
pollinator
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I use the Seed to Spoon App (free version) on my smartphone, which tracks first & last frost dates for my zip code. Typically, though, I just use it as a general guide , and I don't see their recommendations being set in stone; or even the best suited for my local microclimates.
For me, it's just helpful to have an idea of what I should start indoors and in what order to plant the different seeds to get the best use of my limited growing space & time.
Screenshot_20200326-114939.png
Screenshot of app
Screenshot of app
 
pollinator
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I like The old farmer's almanac. You put in your city and state, or your zip code, and a guide pops up.  It tells you the best time to start seeds indoors, transplant veggies, and when to direct sow.  It gives you two time frames one based on last frost, and one on last frost and moon cycles.  Most have been on point for me.  The only exception I can think of is pumpkin.  According to them I should start seeds now, but if I want them for Halloween, I need to wait until July.  So if you need something to be ready at a cretin time, then you will need to find the days of maturity and plant by that.  But otherwise this chart will help a lot.  Good luck to you.
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Web Result with Site Links

Planting Calendar - Old Farmer's Almanacwww.almanac.com
 
pollinator
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A big thing to consider is your planting varieties.  Most guides are based on the run-of-the-mill varieties available at most stores by big seed companies.  But if you get local, landrace, or specialty varieties they could be as much as half the days to maturity, or twice!  Like, I grow sweet corn that's producing ears for eating within 70 days.  But mainstream varieties can take 120 days or more.  So a conventional sweet corn guide would be useless to me.  

It also depends on when you want to harvest.  Like, I grow lots of leafy greens and eat the baby greens continually as the plant grows, rather than letting things develop a head or big giant leaves.  So a planting guide for harvest dates on leafy green s wouldn't be much help for me either.  

There's a lot of variables.  I'm a fan of 'allocate as much space to gardening as possible', and just planting anything and everything everywhere you can.  Have extra seeds for succession planting just in case you get a late frost or a hail storm or something.  These things are often learned by experience.  There's an infinite combination of what you can grow, how quickly, and when to plant and harvest.  Allow yourself some wiggle room for experimentation and learning, whatever schedule you go with
 
Catie George
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Thanks everyone!
None of these were quite what I was looking for (admit I didn't download the app). If I get laid off and have time, I may play around with making a webpage that does what I am looking for. I have gardened in several places but dont really have the "rhythm" of what to plant when in my head.

My concern is mostly getting stuff in the ground as early as possible/reasonable, as I am a short season gardener. I do succession plant some stuff like lettuce.
Looks like peas, onions, and garlic can go in now, some root veggies in a week or two. It snowed two days ago but has melted.

Using the farmers almanac and googling some more exotic stuff (bok choy, celeriac, flowers, herbs, etc), I went through and separated my seeds by planting date into file folders. March, early April, late April, early may, late may. Hopefully this will mean I won't suddenly find pea seeds in may. Huge improvement over my childhood garden where nothing went in the ground until the 10th of June!

It looks like I am going to have a very busy spring planting season.  Found quite a few things I still need to start in the next week or two.
 
Jen Fan
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Do you have greenhouses?  We've got 100~ days to grow outdoors.  We put potatoes in in March in the greenhouses.  I planted the first round of taters 10 days ago and they've already endured -4º (outdoor temp at least) but seem to be growing fine still.   They're under a lot of mulch.  I've already direct seeded onions, beets, favas, radish, lettuce, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, etc.   Also just put in garlic bulbs.  But only in the greenhouses!  Within the next month more will follow.  Peas, carrots, turnips, parsnips, cabbage, and many others will be direct seeded soon.  

I have to wait til May or June for the snow to be gone to plant outdoors.  But I start the toms and such indoors at this time, for transplanting into the greenhouses.  Greenhouses really make growing in cold climates a lot easier  One trick I like is planting early in pots and feed bags.  I like doing my corn this way.  I can start them inside and mvoe them out when the weather breaks.  I can pick up and move them in out of the weather if we're going to have an unseasonal snow or hail storm or something, which is common in June.  Or if the cows come chomping through >_>
You can start your plants in a feed bag with 2-4 gallons of substrate, and by the time you're ready to plant outdoors, you've got a large, well started plant in the bag.  You can bury the feed bag partially, or even just set it on some loose soil, and the plant's roots can go through the bag and continue to grow in the ground without having to suffer transplant shock.  Though if you do it that way and let the roots grow out, obviously you can't move the bag around without hurting the root system.  But, you can rip it out of the ground if there's a tomato plant in it that needs a little more time before it freezes.  The destruction of those peripheral roots will shock it into finishing its fruit.  You can bring it inside at that point and prune it heavily.  I've grown tomatoes inside through the winter with some success.  Anywho, the woven feedbags are reusable as long as they're not getting torn up.  We have loads of them so we use them for lots of stuff!

Starting early indoors is a great way to get an edge on the growing season and also sate the green-thumb itch that sets in every winter  
 
Kc Simmons
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Yeah, it sounds like it would work to look up the average first/last frost dates and compare to the "days to maturity" of the desired crops and plant within the window.
There's definitely nothing set in stone on when to plant for success... Only guidelines on when to plant for the highest chance of success. Here, our average last frost date is early March, but a few years back we got a heavy snow & hard freeze over Easter weekend mid April. We usually get some light frosts in November, with the first heavy freeze in mid-late December; but this last fall we went down to 24°F the second week of November, then stayed in the 60-70°F range until last week when it hit 85°F. So I lost most of my fall garden last autumn and, I suppose it's possible we could still get another Easter snow, causing me to lose the stuff I've already planted this year.

But, yeah, definitely look at the typical age to maturity for the crop/variety. Usually the slow growers that don't have many opportunities to mature during the planting window are my priority for seed trays or sowing really early (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, corn) I don't worry as much about the things I can grow multiple rounds of (like bush beans, summer squash, chard, collards). For me, cool season crops often struggle by May, so broccoli, peas, etc. are usually grown first, and are ready to come out by the time I want to plant/transplant things lik eggplant or okra.
And definitely consider keeping a gardening journal to make notes in, because it will help with your specific climate factors when planting future gardens
 
Catie George
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No greenhouse unfortunately, wish I did! Just a few decent windows and some grow lights.

Love the feed bag idea, wish I had space (and feed bags) to try it!

I am just learning to plant cooler season crops this year and last year, I grew up with gardens where everything was put in the ground on the same weekend in early June, and most of my recent gardening is in community gardens in warmer climates where you aren't given access until a few weeks  after last frost.

I managed to hold off the seed starting bug until last week so hopefully this year's transplants wont be too leggy.

I generally only plant the shortest season varieties, and save seed from the fastest to mature plants, as I am scarred from most of my gardening being in zone 3a or 3b where "100 days to maturity" is a gamble on the first frost.  I have never had an issue with anything maturing too soon lol, just a bunch of stuff all coming into production right as temps start to drop and there is the first frost, or not maturing in time.

Was so looking forward to gardening in zone 6, but will be in 4b again this year.
 
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