I prepared this a year ago for a little mini-class I taught on gardening in my zone, which happens to be 8b. Knowing your zone is essential in timing planting and harvesting, because it is based on your last spring frost, first fall frost and your overall winter low temperatures. Find your zone here.
I generally follow this schedule each year and it helps me to grow more in less space. As some crops finish, others are planted in their place for a second harvest. With our long, hot summers, we truly can get two seasons out of the garden! Hope this helps you plan your 2016 gardening year!
A Year in the Zone 8 Garden
January: Beginning- order seeds, start onions, brassica family indoors. Mid-month- start tomatoes, artichoke indoors. Plan the garden-remember to rotate your crops!
February: Beginning-Buy any remaining seeds. Plant peas, potatoes, onions spinach, lettuce, radishes, carrots, beets, brassica family. Start peppers, eggplants and herbs indoors.
March: Last frost will be sometime early or mid-month!
Plant, Plant, Plant!
Beginning-plant tomatoes (with frost protection wall of water or wait for mid-month), artichokes, beans, corn, cucumber, eggplant (with frost protection or wait till mid month), peppers (with frost protection or wait for mid-month), spinach/lettuce, radish, squash, swiss chard, kale, herbs.
April: Beginning-plant melons, okra, radish, spinach/lettuce. Begin harvesting salad greens.
May: Beginning-last chance to plant artichokes, okra, radish. Ramp-up watering. Start harvesting!
June: Enjoy the bounty of your harvest and go to war with the bugs. Ramp-up watering.
July: Plant winter squash from seed by the 4th of July. Can still plant-beans, cucumber, eggplant, melons, peppers, summer squash, carrots. Beginning of the month-start brassica family indoors. Keep those plants well-watered!
August: This is a big month for winter planting. Seeds will need lots of water to germinate!
Around mid-month plant-brassica family, spinach, carrots, beets, lettuce, herbs
Can replant or 2nd plant-tomatoes (or prune original plants), beans, cucumbers, squash
Also keep up on water needs!
September: Plant-radish, lettuce/spinach. Should be able to back down on watering some.
October: Last chance to plant-radish, lettuce/spinach (mostly for spring harvest). Start harvesting what you planted in August. Back down on watering.
November: First frost is mid-month.
Clean out beds when tender plants freeze. Keep up on the bugs (too bad they don’t die when our tomatoes do!) Plants should need substantially less water now-even those wintering over. If the weather is dry, water once a week or every other week through winter.
December: Take the month off (ha!) and look at seed catalogs. Harvest spinach, beets, carrots, brassica family (don’t let these freeze solid or they won’t be good).