It is notoriously known that Virginia weather is complicated, having three seasons of temperatures in just one week. However, our Certified Horticulturalist, Diane Burns, has offered her insight for how you can best manage your garden during these weather change-ups! With our first frost last week and the New Year right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to start implementing these tips into your own gardening habits.

Diane’s Three-Season Gardening Tips


  1. Order seeds in January and start cool season plants inside in late February/early March in cell packs (6-8 weeks of before last frost date).
  2. Set up a shelving unit or a tabletop with a grow light and a heating mat to help germination. Cool season plants to start inside: Leeks, head lettuce, spinach, kale & greens.
  3. Harden off plants outside during the day for 3-5 days and then plant in your garden.
  4. Start warm season plants in cell packs in late March/early April. Warm season plants to start inside: tomatoes, basil, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers & melons.
  5. Acclimate plants outside during the day for 3 – 5 days and then plant in your garden after last frost date.
  6. Repeat step 1 of cool season plants in August to plant in your garden in September. Plant “starts” in your garden 6 weeks before the first frost date.

You can extend these late fall plants with row covers to harvest all the way through Christmas.

Visit us at Pippin Hill to see our on-site kitchen-garden 

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