How to figure out if you have enough time to replant before winter.

I went out today to check on my tomatoes I had replanted the other day. To put it mildly, I was not pleased.  Out of 40 plants maybe 10 will make it.  I am not sure what I did wrong, but my guess is that I should have waited longer to up pot.  I think I damaged the roots in the transplant.  This got me thinking (smoke coming out of ears, ha ha).  They say that in my area tomatoes are one of the plants that can still be planted in August.  But now that I am weeks behind, do I still have time?   I will be starting from seeds in August as opposed to planting reasonably sized plants?

So, how do you figure out if you have enough time to replant before winter? 

1.  You need to find out what you frost date is.  If you live in zone 8b, that date is November 20.  Now, we all know this date is not set in stone but it gives us a basis to go on.  I would like to say, it is very important for you to know your microclimate.  Microclimate by definition is the climate of a very small or restricted area.   For example, where I live tends to be colder then the surrounding areas.  I know that if the weatherman says it will only get down to 35 to 38 degrees, I’d better be prepared for frost.   Pay attention the the weather and learn you microclimate.

2.  Decide what vegetables you want to grow.

3.  Look on your vegetable package for the days to harvest.   For example, Purdens Purple Tomatoes, says between 67-85 days to harvest.

4.  To be on the safe side, take the 85 and divide it by 7 this will give the weeks until harvest.  85/7=12.14  This means I need approximately 12 weeks.

5.  Take the frost date, I’ll use mine, November 20 and back up 12 weeks from there.  This gives me August 28.  As long as I have my Purdens Purple tomatoes planted by the last week of August, I should be fine.  Of course, if at all possible, it would be best to have a little extra time to get a longer harvest period.

To make things a little easier.  Figure out how many weeks from a given date, we’ll say Aug 1st, until your frost date.  Once again, using my frost date, November 20, I figure I have 16 weeks.  Now multiply 16 times 7 and this will give you the number of days.  16 x 7=112.  If I have my garden prepared by August 1st, I can plant any vegetable that takes less than 112 days to harvest.

Now I know, that even though I am going to have to start more tomatoes from seed.  I have plenty of time, and all is not lost.

If you have any questions, email me at

This post is linked to Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #37

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