Is there a website that has planting calendars for various regions? Is this sort of information more typically acquired through books, or just by word of mouth? I'd like to have a list of crops, sorted by safe first sowing date, also by transplanting date, and perhaps also by last sowing date. Obviously this is quite dependent on local climates, and even micro-climates, but perhaps there is a resource out there that could serve as a rough guide. I'm located in Maritime Canada, but am hoping that this can be a good general question for people in a variety of regions.
I do not know of any websites that provide customized regional calendars. (And it would need to be customized for just about for every town -- if not every person. Our spring temps can be quite different than people who live just 15 miles away.)
Even if they did have a "canned" calendar that was appropriate for your region, different varieties of plants can have special needs.
What I typically do:
- Get a plain-old blank calendar.
- Mark my last frost date. (If you don't know this for your area, there are websites that have this data; see for example this page that has charts and a calculator. Or talk to other local gardeners and see when they plant.)
- With my favorite gardening book(s) and/or seed packets in hand, for each thing I'm planting:
- Look up the number of weeks that is recommended before or after last frost to transplant. Mark that date on my calendar, e.g. "transplant tomatoes" or "start corn".
- For transplants, back up a week from that and mark, e.g. "harden-off tomatoes"
- For transplants, look up the number of weeks that the plants should grow inside before transplanting. ("How to Grow More Vegetables" by John Jeavons has a convenient set of charts with this exact information near the middle of the book.)
- For vegetables that should go in "as soon as the ground can be worked", I pretty much know when that day will arrive, but I also look in my journal for the past couple of years to remind myself of the dates. Mark that tentative date on the calendar. E.g. I expect that around April 1st the snow will be melted and I might be able to plant peas and an oat cover crop.
- Now back up a few weeks prior to the first thing that needs to be planted, and mark order supplies and seeds.
- Now back up another week and mark take inventory -- so you know what you need to order for seeds, tools, and supplies and they'll have time to arrive well before you need them.
- Then, zoom forward, and use the "time to maturity" dates on your seed packets or from the seed catalog to mark expected harvest dates on the calendar. So if you plant corn on June 1 and it matures in 75 days, then you're going to write "harvest corn" on August 15 (it would be a tentative date, but a helpful reminder).
- Then, if you're obsessive like me, you can flip forward to your expected first frost (in the fall) date and plan when you should start your fall crops -- using a procedure similar to the one above. (Or you can use this to know when to stop making succession plantings of frost-sensitive plants.)
It's actually a good idea to wait to mark your harvest dates in case weather causes you to miss (or move up) your planned planting date. (It often does!)
If you use a greenhouse, cold frames, or other season extenders, your experience will tell you how much you can move up the spring planting dates (and move back the fall planting dates).
There is a monthly planting schedule for Maritime Canada and New England, together with some interesting links, here. It doesn't meet all your criteria but should prove useful.
try worldfoodgarden.org, I am hoping this site will have exactly what you want!