Winter Planting Lead Time

by A.J. Coltrane

I’m attempting to at loosely nail down the timing for starting winter vegetables, with the thought that we could harvest all winter and into the spring, rather than just waiting for the spring growth.

The idea is to select winter hardy plants and have them mostly full-grown by whenever the cold and lack of sunlight stops their development. It then becomes an issue of figuring out when that “growth stops” date is. It’s gotta be sometime in the next four weeks, right?

The table below is intended to take at least some of the “figuring” out of the equation. The “Days” is days to maturity.  The dates in bold along the top are potential “growth stops” dates. Most of the plants that we’ve selected are 30-50 days to maturity, with a few outliers running as much as 75 days or longer, so I’ve centered the table on 50 days:

Days Sep-10 Sep-24 Oct-1 Oct-14 Oct-28 Nov-14
25 Aug-16 Aug-30 Sep-6 Sep-19 Oct-3 Oct-20
30 Aug-11 Aug-25 Sep-1 Sep-14 Sep-28 Oct-15
35 Aug-6 Aug-20 Aug-27 Sep-9 Sep-23 Oct-10
40 Aug-1 Aug-15 Aug-22 Sep-4 Sep-18 Oct-5
45 Jul-27 Aug-10 Aug-17 Aug-30 Sep-13 Sep-30
50 Jul-22 Aug-5 Aug-12 Aug-25 Sep-8 Sep-25
55 Jul-17 Jul-31 Aug-7 Aug-20 Sep-3 Sep-20
60 Jul-12 Jul-26 Aug-2 Aug-15 Aug-29 Sep-15
65 Jul-7 Jul-21 Jul-28 Aug-10 Aug-24 Sep-10
70 Jul-2 Jul-16 Jul-23 Aug-5 Aug-19 Sep-5
75 Jun-27 Jul-11 Jul-18 Jul-31 Aug-14 Aug-31

As an example, assuming a 50-day maturity, and targeting October 28 for “growth stop” gives September 8 as the date to sow the seed. Ideally the plant will be 90%+ developed whenever the brakes hit.

Of course, I could have just consulted this. (link)


The thing with the Territorial Seed Co. table is that the harvest dates are all over the place. That’s likely because they’re actually doing it “right”, or it’s how the majority of their customers choose to do it, but I’m hoping that “the other way” works too. We’ll see.

2 thoughts on “Winter Planting Lead Time

  1. I ordered (winter) radishes, (winter) carrots, shallots, and mache from Territorial Seed Co. three weeks ago. I was intending to sow those more or less immediately. I never received a shipping confirmation from them, so I though they were just being slower than usual. (They can take 10-14 days sometimes in my experience.) It turns out the package was lost in transit. They’re sending out more product today. I’m going to try all of those plants.

    I also purchased enough row cover for 15 sheets at 5′ x 5′. Each one should cover one box. Since the boxes are under the deck I don’t *think* they’ll need much protection from the rain. The row covers are supposed to help with cold and wind but still allow the plants to breathe — maybe they’ll work better than the plastic greenhouse did last year.

    Blog post coming sooner or later of course.


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