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Zone 6 is characterized by a shorter growing season than its neighbors in Zones 7 and 8. With the last frost date as late as May 1st and the first frost date as early as November 13th, there is not a long window to start crops! The average planting season in Zone 6 is about 150 days. Our Zone 6 planting calendar and growing tips will help increase your success during the short growing season.
Extend Your Season With Crop Protection
Growers in this area will depend on starting 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 protected culture methods for the most successful season. Growers should use row covers for frost and cold protection, greenhouses, cold frames, and other protected culture methods. Row covers are light fabrics that protect crops from frost damage. Our lightweight row cover is .5 ounces; designed to protect from light frosts and keep the crops 2-3 degrees warmer. You may need a heavier row cover for your garden if you expect heavy frosts.
Below is a Zone 6 planting calendar that demonstrates when to start crops for Zone 6. Notice that this Zone 6 planting calendar shows when you can start plants from seeds, succession plant, 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 6, you can enjoy an array of stone fruit trees that will enjoy the long hours of chill. Here in the southern states that are much warmer, 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 6 and plant tons of fruit trees!
Zone 6 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.
In warm summer months, shade cloth can extend the growing season of cool temperature-loving crops. Shade cloth can also help prevent sunscald and extreme wilting during hot temperatures.
Pro Tip: Growing in Zone 6
When choosing vegetable crops to grow in Zone 6, the most important consideration is to make sure they will mature during your period of frost-free days, known as the growing season. You will calculate this by looking at the days to maturity and confirming that they will develop from seed to harvest in time before the first frost. Some of our San Diego Seed Company varieties have long days to maturity because the growing season in parts of Zone 10 is 365 days!