Share this Post
Zone 8 is characterized by a long growing season with an average of 240 days to grow! That’s ample time to grow a bountiful garden and succession plant several times. The last frost date is as late as April 1st, and the first frost date as late as December 1st. Our Zone 8 planting calendar and growing tips will help increase your success during this growing season.
The main difference between growing in Zone 8 and 9 is that in Zone 9, you can safely grow citrus and tropical plants in most warm areas like plateaus and thermal belts. Because Zone 8 gets colder and has cold air basins (cold air sinks), it’s more challenging to grow citrus and tropical fruits in Zone 8. You can enjoy all vegetable varieties in your climate and most flowers too!
Extend Your Season With Crop Protection
Growers in this area will want to start crops early under protected culture to get the most out of their season. Starting seeds indoors will be key to getting plants up to size in time to plant out. Growers in this zone will also want to use row covers for frost and cold protection, greenhouses, cold frames, and other protected culture methods for the most successful season. Row covers are light fabrics that protect crops from frost damage. Our lightweight row cover is .5 ounces; it is designed to protect from light frosts and keep the crops 2-3 degrees warmer.
Below is a Zone 8 planting calendar that demonstrates when to start crops for Zone 8. Notice that this Zone 8 planting calendar shows when you can start plants from seeds, succession plant (plant again), and harvest. This planting calendar is for reference only, and your specific climatic conditions may require slightly different planting dates and requirements.
Each zone in the United States has unique growing patterns with crops that do exceptionally well in that zone and crops that do not thrive in those zones. In Zone 8, you can enjoy an array of stone fruit trees that will enjoy the long hours of chill. Here in Zones 9 and 10, we have very few stone fruit varieties to choose from due to our very low chill hours. So enjoy this benefit of growing in Zone 8 and plant tons of frost-hardy fruit trees!
Zone 8 growers can also enjoy tons of cold-loving plants like rhubarb, Brussels sprouts, and cold-hardy brassicas. Here in the warm south, we struggle to grow cold-loving crops. During the warm summers of Zone 8, you can utilize shade cloth to protect sensitive crops from sun scald and drought conditions.
Pro Tip: Growing in Zone 8
Growing in Zone 8 can be hard to understand as your growing season extends well into the fall and winter. The best gardeners know when to plant crops in their ideal season. Cool-season crops such as brassicas and lettuces like cooler temperatures. Warm-season crops like all your fruiting crops (tomatoes, melons, and squash) prefer warmer temperatures.
Knowing which crops to grow in which season is important but is only half the equation. Crops that like cooler temperatures will also enjoy waning sunlight hours. These are crops like broccoli, cauliflower, lettuces, and greens. Although it is possible to grow them in the early spring when temperatures are still cool, they must mature quickly before the day length gets too long and signals them to bolt. Bolting is the process of going to flower prematurely, due to day length and other environmental cues. When growing these cool-season crops in the spring, make sure you plant them early enough to be able to mature before the day lengths get too long (around mid-May). When planting these in the fall, make sure you plant them early enough to mature before the first freeze. If you only encounter a light freeze, you can use row cover to protect your crops.
In the same sense, warm-season crops like warm temperatures and increasing day length. The warmth and increasing daylight signal them to perform important biological processes like flowering and producing fruit. When succession planting several rounds of warm-season crops in the summer, consider the day lengths as well. Plants that are maturing in the shorter days of the fall (even with warm temperatures) may not do as well.