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Useful Information – The Seasons, Weather, Glossary, Plant Families, Spacing Guide and Harvesting Timeline

  • A bank of useful information which can be used alongside any of my online courses, books or web pages.
  • It contains:
  • Information on the seasons and weather
  • A comprehensive glossary of gardening terms that I use, explained in a few words
  • A table showing which vegetables belong to which plant family
  • A table with detailed spacing information for a wide range of vegetables
  • A harvesting timeline detailing the main months for sowing and harvesting
  • The glossary, plant family information, spacing guide and harvesting timeline can all be downloaded as PDF’s.

The Seasons

I give timings of garden jobs, both by month and by season. The latter is to provide context for those of you in different climates, and in the Southern Hemisphere*.

In my mentions of the four seasons, the months I include in each are shown below. My explanations are to define their gardening characteristics and the main seasonal jobs. Understanding how each season differs really helps you to be a good gardener, for example knowing their differences in light levels as well as in temperature.

Further down are details of each season’s weather at Homeacres, which you can compare to the weather in your area. Knowing the likely weather will improve your success rate, a lot!

*We have created a downloadable calendar of sowings for the Southern Hemisphere.

Spring: March, April and May

2nd May – stored vegetables can keep you going in the hungry gap
11th April – the no dig Small Garden at Homeacres
10th April – the west side of the garden, sporting a lot of fleece

Growth begins for new sowings, or resumes for perennial pants, and many weed seeds germinate. The main growth is of leaves.

Initially, growth is slow for plants starting from seed because they need to establish roots as well.

Spring is the best time to benefit from perennial vegetables, which have already established. Overwintered roots of all plants, if biennial or perennial, grow leaves followed by flowering stalks, as a prelude to setting seeds.

  • A time for many new sowings, throughout spring.
  • Use covers on new plantings in early spring, for weather protection and pests.
  • Prepare new beds, if you need them.
  • Watch for new weed growth – hoe or rake annual weeds as soon as you see tiny seedlings, and keep removing new shoots of perennial weeds.

Summer: June, July and August

10th July – delicious summer lunch dishes, cooked by Kate
A vibrant selection of vegetables in early September – look at those tomatoes!
31st May – after a dry spring in 2020, the front garden at Homeacres looks rather dry, but is brightened up by some peonies

Growth in summer is now considerably faster. This time of maximum plant activity also needs to be the time of your maximum activity!

Plants give harvests of leaf, fruit, root and seed.

Insect pests become common, and weed growth also peaks through these months.

You can add a lot of materials to compost heaps; perhaps turn a heap as well.

  • There are many harvests.
  • Replant as soon as space is clear, on the same day if possible, and/or interplant.
  • Be on time with new sowings, different for each vegetable, especially those of late summer.
  • No need for bed prep with no dig, nor for much feeding or weeding; however, stay in control of weeds.
  • Cover against insects where appropriate.

Autumn: September, October and November

8th September – the beauty of Granat red cabbage seen in my Three Strip Trial area
An equinoctial vegetable harvest displayed in my wheelbarrow, with a 4.8 kg/10.6 lb Filderkraut cabbage at the front
16th October – an evening view of the east end of the garden

Every day there is a noticeable decrease in light, but growth continues strongly until late October, thanks to residual warmth. Also because, in many cases, plants are already quite large, meaning they have established root networks to power more growth.

Make the most of autumn’s possibilities, even in the decreasing day length.

Sowings you made in summer, together with new ones made now, result in a full garden until almost the onset of winter.

Autumn is almost as busy as summer – you continue to plant, and take many harvests.

Your compost heaps keep increasing in volume and you can turn older heaps, just once.

  • Last sowings of leaf vegetables for winter, under cover especially.
  • There are still plantings to make, ahead of winter.
  • There are many harvests to secure and store.
  • There is soil preparation ahead of winter and spring, which is rapid with no dig.

Winter: December, January and February

A frosty view in late November – closest you see broad beans that were planted the day before
Mid-winter – the greenhouse and polytunnel seen in a -6° C/21 °F frost by moonlight
30th December – a view of the frosty garden from the house; we had recently spread wood shavings around the edge to feed soil there

Winter sees you eating small but welcome fresh harvests and a lot of stored produce, as well as planning for the year ahead.

There is still preparation for spring, depending how much you achieved in late autumn.

  • Finish clearing any remains of harvested vegetables, rake beds level and cover with compost.
  • Mulch paths with woody material, and tidy edges around your plot or garden.
  • Monitor your stored vegetables to discard any rotting ones, and enjoy the rest!
  • Sow a few seeds, but not before late winter and under cover only.


24th January 2021 – midwinter snow covering the garden; spring cabbages under mesh closest to the camera, with broccoli behind under a net against pigeons
26th January – Kate’s midwinter lunch is all from Homeacres’ garden and store
Following a slight frost, the snow is settling only on the dig bed of my trial, not on any of the no dig beds; the air temperature is 1.3° C/35 °F

Weather is all-important and affects everything. It means that your experience of one year will not replicate in the following year! This can be aggrieving because you might think, ‘Now I know how to grow celery’, until the following year a different weather pattern means you don’t succeed in the same way. This is the ‘colour’ of weather, which varies wildly within the climatic averages.

Respect those averages, while expecting some extremes. Become familiar with your weather! As a gardener, this will happen, but keep some records too because memory plays tricks.

  • Weather varies so much that I catch myself thinking, ‘Wow, this was such an unusual day/month/year of weather!’ when actually it was not.
  • Weather is constantly unusual, and we need to be prepared for both the worst and best eventualities.
  • At the same time, be aware of your average weather, because it informs our gardening – what we do and when.

Two important dates are the last frost of spring and the first frost of autumn. Do a search to find them for your location, if unsure.

Storm clouds in mid-August, but on this occasion bringing no rain
Grenoble Red lettuce survives wintry weather and then starts growing again in spring
15th March 2020 – my new weather station, a Davis Vantage Pro

In recent years the temperatures have increased. Since 2004, I have recorded a mean temperature of 10.5 °C/51 ° F , rising to 11 °C/52 °F  from 2013 to 2020.

Sunshine is slightly lower, and rainfall about 5% higher since 2007. In spring 2020 I purchased and had installed a weather station at Homeacres – a Davis Vantage Pro 2.

See my Weather video:


Terms I use in my teaching, explained in a few words

Downloadable PDF: Glossary

Plant Families

Downloadable PDF: Plant Families

Spacing Guide

Downloadable PDF: Vegetable Spacing Guide

Harvesting timeline

A broad guide, by main months

Timings vary according to the variety grown, covers used and weather – this is temperate oceanic

Downloadable PDF: Harvesting Timeline