When is it Too Late to Plant a Garden? Step by Step Guide

When is it Too Late to Plant a Garden

When is it Too Late to Plant a Garden: An in-depth Analysis that May Save Your Plants: If you plant a garden too late, there is a high probability that the plants may die. But when is it too late to plant a garden?

Well, some may tell you it is never too late. That is true if you plan to plant a different seed. In contrast, when you have a particular plant in mind, there is a specific time frame.

You need to do a little bit of calculation to find out when it is too late to start a garden. Additionally, there are some factors that affect the answer. This article will explain everything in detail. In the end, we will also show you an example to make things easier. Hence, please read the full article to know when it is too late to plant.

Factors that Affect the Timeframe to Plant a Garden

The ideal timing of gardening varies on multiple factors. Where you live, what you plan to plant, and many things affect the answer.

So, do not decide in a rush if it is too late to plant a garden or not. First, get a good knowledge of the following factors:

  • Location

Location plays a crucial role in deciding the best time to plant a garden. And also helps to know when it’s too late. While in some areas, April-May is the best time, in other areas, it can be June. This happens due to the difference in humidity, weather, quality of soil, etc.

  • Days to Maturity of the Plants

Different plants have different maturity dates. It refers to the days a plant takes to harvest from seed. Usually, it varies from 50 to 90 days for vegetables. So, if you are a little late, you may still plant vegetables that will take only 50 days to mature.

  • Frost Schedule


Frost Schedule


The biggest factor affecting the time frame is the frost schedule. It will also tell you if a particular plant can survive in your area or not. You need to find the frost schedule, both first and last, for your area from the USA Hardiness Zones. Later in the article, we discussed what you need to do next.

When is it Too Late to Plant a Garden? An In-depth Analysis


When is it Too Late to Plant a Garden? An In-depth Analysis


Now the major question is, when is it too late to start a garden? Usually, most people plant in April-May for spring and summer blooming. You can plant vegetables just before summer and water them during the hot days.

To know if it’s too late to plant a garden, find the frost schedule for your area first. Then decide which vegetables or flowers you want to plant. Find the maturity date for it.

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Now you have the dates for both the first frost schedule for your area and the maturity period for your plant. Count the maturity days from the present date. If it crosses the first frost date, then you are late, and it is not a good idea to plant.

Practical Example of Calculating If it Is Too Late to Plant a Garden

The USA Hardiness Zones are divided into 13 zones. You will find all the details about your area by visiting the link we provided earlier in the article. Now we will calculate when it is too late to plant seeds of carrots in your garden. We are assuming that you live in one of the areas in Zone 5.

Step 1: Find the Maturity Duration

Depending on the variants, carrots will have a maturity date of 50 to 80 days. When you buy seeds, the package should mention the maturity period. Let’s take 60 days, for example. So, you have two months on your hands.

Step 2: Mark the Frost Schedule

You need to mark two dates: the last frost date and the first frost date. In zone 5, May 15 is the last frost date, and October 15 is the first. You need to plant within this time period. It means you have five months to grow your plant, which is relatively high.

Step 3: Count Days to Find if it’s Late or Early

Remember one thing, if you are scared of being too late, do not plant too early. Planting a garden earlier than necessary will also bring negative results. So, use this calculation carefully to avoid all the risks.

As you have two months in hand with the carrots, mid-June will be the best time. You will still have plenty of time before the first frost to let your plant grow properly. Late June can also be suitable, considering the first frost date is quite late in Zone 5.

However, the latest time for planting a carrot garden is late July to early August. Though the first frost is on October 15, it may come a few days early or late. Hence, crossing August 10 is not a good choice for carrots with 60 days of maturity period.

You need to be cautious if you are planning to plant in late July. That’s because the weather will be cooler, especially at night. Hence, you need to prepare for that too. Try to find a way to keep your plants warm.

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Final Words: When is it Too Late to Plant a Garden?

We hope you have found the answer to when is it too late to plant a garden. Our suggestion is to plant a few weeks after the last frost date. But if you are already too late, you may look for alternative options. Switching to another plant that may grow in the fall can be an ideal choice. Or you also can wait for the next season to plant a garden.

Elysha Murphy

I'm Elysha Murphy, the creator of Easier Gardening. I am very passionate about gardening, and love sharing everything I learn about them.

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