Growing season

The growing season is the part of the year during which local weather conditions (i.e. rainfall and temperature) permit normal plant growth. While each plant or crop has a specific growing season that depends on its genetic adaptation, growing seasons can generally be grouped into macro-environmental classes.


Geographic conditions have major impacts on the growing season for any given area. The elevation, or the height above sea level, and temperature of a region are two of the main factors that affect the growing season. Generally speaking, the distance a location is from the equator can be a strong indicator as to what the growing season will look like, however in a high elevation area, regardless of proximity to the equator, a shorter growing season will generally be experienced. Proximity to the ocean also can create less extreme conditions, especially in terms of temperature, which has the potential to extend the growing season further in either direction. In hotter climates, particularly in deserts, despite the geographic barrier of limited water sources, people have been able to extend their growing season in these regions by way of diverting water from other areas and using it in their agriculture. The ability to use these irrigation methods, despite geographic challenges, has made it possible to enjoy almost a year-round growing season.

Season extension

In agriculture, season extension is anything that allows a crop to be cultivated beyond its normal outdoor growing season. Examples include greenhouses, polytunnels, row cover, and cloches.


North America

In the United States and Canada, the growing season usually refers to the time between two dates: the last frost in the spring and the first hard frost in the fall. Specifically, it is defined as the period of time between the average last date at which the overnight low temperature drops below 0 °C (32 °F) in the spring and the average date at which the overnight low first drops down below 0 °C (32 °F) in the fall. These average last and first frost dates have reportedly been occurring earlier and later, respectively, at a steady rate, as observed over the last 30 years. As a result, the overall observed length of the growing season in the United States has increased by about two weeks in the last 30 years.[1]

In the cooler areas of North America, specifically the northern regions of the United States and Canada, the growing season is observed to be between April or May and goes through October. A longer season starts as early as February or March along the lower East Coast from northern Florida to South Carolina, along the Gulf coast in south Texas and southern Louisiana, and along the West Coast from coastal Oregon southward and can continue all the way through November or December. The longest growing season is found in central and south Florida where many tropical fruits are grown year round. These rough timetables vary significantly for areas that are at higher elevations or close to the ocean.

Because several crops grown in the United States require a long period of growth, growing season extension practices are commonly used as well. These include various row-covering techniques, such as using cold frames and garden fabric over crops. Greenhouses are also a common practice to extend the season, particularly in elevated regions that only enjoy 90-day growing seasons.


In much of Europe, the growing season is defined as the average number of days a year with a 24-hour average temperature of at least 5 °C (6 °C is sometimes used). This is typically from April until October or November, although this varies considerably with latitude and altitude. The growing season is almost year-round in most of Portugal and Spain, and may be only from June to September in northern Finland and the higher Alps. Proximity to the Gulf Stream and other maritime mediations of temperature extremes can extend the season.

In the United Kingdom, the growing season is defined as starting when the temperature on five consecutive days exceeds 5 °C, and ends after five consecutive days of temperatures below 5 °C. The 1961 to 1990 average season length was 252 days (8.3 mo).

Tropics and deserts

In some warm climates, such as the subtropical savanna and Sonoran Deserts or in the drier Mediterranean climates, the growing season is limited by the availability of water, with little growth in the dry season. Unlike in cooler climates where snow or soil freezing is a generally insurmountable obstacle to plant growth, it is often possible to greatly extend the growing season in hot climates by irrigation using water from cooler and/or wetter regions. This can in fact go so far as to allow year-round growth in areas that without irrigation could only support xerophytic plants. Also in these tropical regions; the growing season can be interrupted by periods of heavy rainfall, called the rainy season. For example, in Colombia, where coffee is grown and can be harvested year-round, they don’t see a rainy season. However, in Indonesia, another large coffee-producing area, they experience this rainy season and the growth of the coffee beans is interrupted.[2]

See also


  1. ^ U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2014). "Length of Growing Season". Climate Change Indicators in the United States, Third Edition: 80–81. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  2. ^ "Growing season". National Geographic. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
Alpine plant

Alpine plants are plants that grow in an alpine climate, which occurs at high elevation and above the tree line. There are many different plant species and taxon that grow as a plant community in these alpine tundra. These include perennial grasses, sedges, forbs, cushion plants, mosses, and lichens. Alpine plants are adapted to the harsh conditions of the alpine environment, which include low temperatures, dryness, ultraviolet radiation, and a short growing season.

Some alpine plants serve as medicinal plants.


The genus Amanita contains about 600 species of agarics, including some of the most toxic known mushrooms found worldwide, as well as some well-regarded edible species. This genus is responsible for approximately 95% of the fatalities resulting from mushroom poisoning, with the death cap accounting for about 50% on its own. The most potent toxin present in these mushrooms is α-amanitin.

The genus also contains many edible mushrooms, but mycologists discourage mushroom hunters, other than knowledgeable experts, from selecting any of these for human consumption. Nonetheless, in some cultures, the larger local edible species of Amanita are mainstays of the markets in the local growing season. Samples of this are Amanita zambiana and other fleshy species in central Africa, A. basii and similar species in Mexico, A. caesarea and the "Blusher" Amanita rubescens in Europe, and A. chepangiana in South-East Asia. Other species are used for colouring sauces, such as the red A. jacksonii, with a range from eastern Canada to eastern Mexico.

Many species are of unknown edibility, especially in countries such as Australia, where many fungi are little-known.

Annual growth cycle of grapevines

The annual growth cycle of grapevines is the process that takes place in the vineyard each year, beginning with bud break in the spring and culminating in leaf fall in autumn followed by winter dormancy. From a winemaking perspective, each step in the process plays a vital role in the development of grapes with ideal characteristics for making wine. Viticulturalists and vineyard managers monitor the effect of climate, vine disease and pests in facilitating or impeding the vines progression from bud break, flowering, fruit set, veraison, harvesting, leaf fall and dormancy-reacting if need be with the use of viticultural practices like canopy management, irrigation, vine training and the use of agrochemicals. The stages of the annual growth cycle usually become observable within the first year of a vine's life. The amount of time spent at each stage of the growth cycle depends on a number of factors-most notably the type of climate (warm or cool) and the characteristics of the grape variety.

Annual plant

An annual plant is a plant that completes its life cycle, from germination to the production of seeds, within one growing season, and then dies. The length of growing seasons and period in which they take place vary according to geographical location, and may not correspond to the four traditional seasonal divisions of the year. With respect to the traditional seasons annual plants are generally categorized into summer annuals and winter annuals. Summer annuals germinate during spring or early summer and mature by autumn of the same year. Winter annuals germinate during the autumn and mature during the spring or summer of the following calendar year.One seed-to-seed life cycle for an annual can occur in as little as a month in some species, though most last several months. Oilseed rapa can go from seed-to-seed in about five weeks under a bank of fluorescent lamps. This style of growing is often used in classrooms for education. Many desert annuals are therophytes, because their seed-to-seed life cycle is only weeks and they spend most of the year as seeds to survive dry conditions.


A cherry is the fruit of many plants of the genus Prunus, and is a fleshy drupe (stone fruit).

Commercial cherries are obtained from cultivars of several species, such as the sweet Prunus avium and the sour Prunus cerasus. The name 'cherry' also refers to the cherry tree and its wood, and is sometimes applied to almonds and visually similar flowering trees in the genus Prunus, as in "ornamental cherry" or "cherry blossom". Wild cherry may refer to any of the cherry species growing outside cultivation, although Prunus avium is often referred to specifically by the name "wild cherry" in the British Isles.

Climate categories in viticulture

In viticulture, the climates of wine regions are categorised based on the overall characteristics of the area's climate during the growing season. While variations in macroclimate are acknowledged, the climates of most wine regions are categorised (somewhat loosely based on the Köppen climate classification) as being part of a Mediterranean (for example Tuscany), maritime (ex: Bordeaux) or continental climate (ex: Columbia Valley). The majority of the world's premium wine production takes place in one of these three climate categories in locations between the 30th parallel and 50th parallel in both the northern and southern hemisphere. While viticulture does exist in some tropical climates, most notably Brazil, the amount of quality wine production in those areas is so small that the climate effect has not been as extensively studied as other categories.

Fiber crop

Fiber crops are field crops grown for their fibers, which are traditionally used to make paper, cloth, or rope. They are organized into 3 main groups—textile fibers (used in production of cloth), cordage fibers (used in production of rope), and filling fibers (used to stuff upholstery and mattresses). They are a type of natural fiber.Fiber crops are characterized by having a large concentration of cellulose, which is what gives them their strength. The fibers may be chemically modified, like in viscose (used to make rayon and cellophane). In recent years, materials scientists have begun exploring further use of these fibers in composite materials. Due to cellulose being the main factor of a plant fibers strength, this is what scientists are looking to manipulate to create different types of fibers.

Fiber crops are generally harvestable after a single growing season, as distinct from trees, which are typically grown for many years before being harvested for such materials as wood pulp fiber or lacebark. In specific circumstances, fiber crops can be superior to wood pulp fiber in terms of technical performance, environmental impact or cost.There are a number of issues regarding the use of fiber crops to make pulp. One of these is seasonal availability. While trees can be harvested continuously, many field crops are harvested once during the year and must be stored such that the crop doesn't rot over a period of many months. Considering that many pulp mills require several thousand tonnes of fiber source per day, storage of the fiber source can be a major issue.These fiber mostly found in leaf ,seeds or in the body of a tree.Fiber crops are more important in daily life basis.

Botanically, the fibers harvested from many of these plants are bast fibers; the fibers come from the phloem tissue of the plant. The other fiber crop fibers are hard/leaf fibers (come from the entirety of plant vascular bundles) and surface fibers (come from plant epidermal tissue).

Flora of Svalbard

There are 164 vascular plant species on the Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. This figure does not include algae, mosses, and lichens, which are non-vascular plants. For an island so far north, 164 species constitutes an astonishing variety of plant life. Because of the harsh climate and the short growing season, all the plants are slow growing. They seldom grow higher than 10 cm.

In some areas, especially in warmer valleys, the plants produce carpets of blossoms. Svalbard has been divided into four vegetation zones.

Food festival

A food festival is a festival, usually held annually, that uses food, often produce, as its central theme. These festivals have always been a means of uniting communities through celebrations of harvests and giving thanks for a plentiful growing season.


Harvesting is the process of gathering a ripe crop from the fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain or pulse for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper. On smaller farms with minimal mechanization, harvesting is the most labor-intensive activity of the growing season. On large mechanized farms, harvesting utilizes the most expensive and sophisticated farm machinery, such as the combine harvester. Process automation has increased the efficiency of both the seeding and harvesting process. Specialized harvesting equipment utilizing conveyor belts to mimic gentle gripping and mass transport replaces the manual task of removing each seedling by hand. The term "harvesting" in general usage may include immediate postharvest handling, including cleaning, sorting, packing, and cooling.

The completion of harvesting marks the end of the growing season, or the growing cycle for a particular crop, and the social importance of this event makes it the focus of seasonal celebrations such as harvest festivals, found in many religions.

Herbaceous plant

Herbaceous plants in botany, frequently shortened to herbs, are vascular plants that have no persistent woody stems above ground. Herb has other meanings in cooking, medicine, and other fields. Herbaceous plants are those plants that do not have woody stems, they include many perennials,

and nearly all annuals and biennials, they include both forbs and graminoids.

Herbaceous plants most often are low growing plants, relative to woody plants like trees, and tend to have soft green stems that lack Lignification and their above ground growth is ephemeral and often seasonal in duration.


The parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) is a root vegetable closely related to carrot and parsley; all belong to the family Apiaceae. It is a biennial plant usually grown as an annual. Its long, tuberous root has cream-colored skin and flesh, and, left in the ground to mature, it becomes sweeter in flavor after winter frosts. In its first growing season, the plant has a rosette of pinnate, mid-green leaves. If unharvested, in its second growing season it produces a flowering stem topped by an umbel of small yellow flowers, later producing pale brown, flat, winged seeds. By this time, the stem has become woody and the tuberous root inedible.

The parsnip is native to Eurasia; it has been used as a vegetable since antiquity and was cultivated by the Romans, although some confusion exists between parsnips and carrots in the literature of the time. It was used as a sweetener before the arrival in Europe of cane sugar.

The parsnip is usually cooked, but it can also be eaten raw. It is high in vitamins and minerals, especially potassium. It also contains antioxidants and both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. It should be cultivated in deep, stone-free soil. It is attacked by the carrot fly and other insect pests, as well as viruses and fungal diseases, of which canker is the most serious. Handling the stems and foliage can cause a skin rash if the skin is exposed to sunlight after handling.


Taiga (; Russian: тайга́, IPA: [tɐjˈɡa]; relates to Mongolic and Turkic languages), generally referred to in North America as boreal forest or snow forest, is a biome characterized by coniferous forests consisting mostly of pines, spruces, and larches.

The taiga or boreal forest is the world's largest land biome. In North America, it covers most of inland Canada, Alaska, and parts of the northern contiguous United States. In Eurasia, it covers most of Sweden, Finland, much of Norway and Estonia, some of the Scottish Highlands, some lowland/coastal areas of Iceland, much of Russia from Karelia in the west to the Pacific Ocean (including much of Siberia), and areas of northern Kazakhstan, northern Mongolia, and northern Japan (on the island of Hokkaidō). However, the main tree species, the length of the growing season and summer temperatures vary. For example, the taiga of North America mostly consists of spruces; Scandinavian and Finnish taiga consists of a mix of spruce, pines and birch; Russian taiga has spruces, pines and larches depending on the region, while the Eastern Siberian taiga is a vast larch forest.

A different use of the term taiga is often encountered in the English language, with "boreal forest" used in the United States and Canada to refer to only the more southerly part of the biome, while "taiga" is used to describe the more barren areas of the northernmost part of the biome approaching the tree line and the tundra biome. Hoffman (1958) discusses the origin of this differential use in North America and why it is an inappropriate differentiation of the Russian term. Although at high elevations taiga grades into alpine tundra through Krummholz, it is not exclusively an alpine biome; and unlike subalpine forest, much of taiga is lowlands.


Tubers are enlarged structures in some plant species used as storage organs for nutrients. They are used for the plant's perennation (survival of the winter or dry months), to provide energy and nutrients for regrowth during the next growing season, and as a means of asexual reproduction. Stem tubers form thickened rhizomes (underground stems) or stolons (horizontal connections between organisms). Common plant species with stem tubers include potato and yam. Some sources also treat modified lateral roots (root tubers) under the definition; these are encountered in sweet potato, cassava, and dahlia.


Viognier (French pronunciation: ​[viɔɲje]) is a white wine grape variety. It is the only permitted grape for the French wine Condrieu in the Rhône Valley. Outside of the Rhône, Viognier can be found in regions of North and South America as well as Australia, New Zealand, the Cape Winelands in South Africa and Israel. In some wine regions, the variety is co-fermented with the red wine grape Syrah where it can contribute to the color and bouquet of the wine.Like Chardonnay, Viognier has the potential to produce full-bodied wines with a lush, soft character. In contrast to Chardonnay, the Viognier varietal has more natural aromatics that include notes of peach, pears, violets and minerality. However, these aromatic notes can be easily destroyed by too much exposure to oxygen which makes barrel fermentation a winemaking technique that requires a high level of skill on the part of any winemaker working with this variety. The potential quality of Viognier is also highly dependent on viticultural practices and climate with the grape requiring a long, warm growing season in order to fully ripen but not a climate that is so hot that the grape develops high levels of sugars and potential alcohol before its aromatic notes can develop. The grape is naturally a low yielding variety which can make it a less economically viable planting for some vineyards.


Vitis (grapevines) is a genus of 79 accepted species of vining plants in the flowering plant family Vitaceae. The genus is made up of species predominantly from the Northern hemisphere. It is economically important as the source of grapes, both for direct consumption of the fruit and for fermentation to produce wine. The study and cultivation of grapevines is called viticulture.

Most Vitis varieties are wind-pollinated with hermaphroditic flowers containing both male and female reproductive structures. These flowers are grouped in bunches called inflorescences. In many species, such as Vitis vinifera, each successfully pollinated flower becomes a grape berry with the inflorescence turning into a cluster of grapes. While the flowers of the grapevines are usually very small, the berries are often big and brightly colored with sweet flavors that attract birds and other animals to disperse the seeds contained within the berries.Grapevines usually only produce fruit on shoots that came from buds that were developed during the previous growing season. In viticulture, this is one of the principles behind pruning the previous year's growth (or "One year old wood") that includes shoots that have turned hard and woody during the winter (after harvest in commercial viticulture). These vines will be pruned either into a cane which will support 8 to 15 buds or to a smaller spur which holds 2 to 3 buds.

West Antarctica

West Antarctica, or Lesser Antarctica, one of the two major regions of Antarctica, is the part of that continent that lies within the Western Hemisphere, and includes the Antarctic Peninsula. It is separated from East Antarctica by the Transantarctic Mountains and is covered by the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. It lies between the Ross Sea (partly covered by the Ross Ice Shelf), and the Weddell Sea (largely covered by the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf). It may be considered a giant peninsula stretching from the South Pole towards the tip of South America.

West Antarctica is largely covered by the Antarctic ice sheet, but there have been signs that climate change is having some effect and that this ice sheet may have started to shrink slightly. The coasts of the Antarctic Peninsula are the only parts of West Antarctica that become (in summer) ice-free. These constitute the Marielandia Antarctic tundra and have the warmest climate in Antarctica. The rocks are clad in mosses and lichens that can cope with the intense cold of winter and the short growing-season.

Wet meadow

A wet meadow is a type of wetland with soils that are saturated for part or all of the growing season. Debate exists whether a wet meadow is a type of marsh or a completely separate type of wetland. Wet prairies and wet savannas are hydrologically similar. Wet meadows may occur because of restricted drainage or the receipt of large amounts of water from rain or melted snow. They may also occur in riparian zones and around the shores of large lakes.Unlike a marsh or swamp, a wet meadow does not have standing water present except for brief to moderate periods during the growing season. Instead, the ground in a wet meadow fluctuates between brief periods of inundation and longer periods of saturation. Wet meadows often have large numbers of wetland plant species, which frequently survive as buried seeds during dry periods, and then regenerate after flooding. Wet meadows therefore do not usually support aquatic life such as fish. They typically have a high diversity of plant species, and may attract large numbers of birds, small mammals and insects including butterflies.

Vegetation in a wet meadow usually includes a wide variety of herbaceous species including sedges, rushes, grasses and a wide diversity of other plant species. A few of many possible examples include species of Rhexia, Parnassia, Lobelia, many species of wild orchids (e.g. Calopogon and Spiranthes), and carnivorous plants such as Sarracenia and Drosera. Woody plants if present, account for a minority of the total area cover. High water levels are one of the important factors that prevent invasion by woody plants; in other cases, fire is important. In areas with low frequencies of fire, or reduced water level fluctuations, or higher fertility, plant diversity will decline.Wet meadows were once common in wetland types around the world. They remain an important community type in wet savannas and flatwoods. The also survive along rivers and lakeshores where water levels are allowed to change within and among years. But their area has been dramatically reduced. In some areas, wet meadows are partially drained and farmed and therefore lack the biodiversity described here. In other cases, the construction of dams has interfered with the natural fluctuation of water levels that generates wet meadows.The most important factors in creating and maintaining wet meadows are therefore natural water level fluctuations and recurring fire. In some cases, small areas of wet meadow are artificially created. Due to the concern with damage that excessive stormwater runoff can cause to nearby lakes and streams, artificial wetlands can be created to capture stormwater. Often this produce marshes, but in some cases wet meadows may be produced. The idea is to capture and store rainwater onsite and use it as a resource to grow attractive native plants that thrive in such conditions. The Buhr Park Children's Wet Meadow is one such project. It is a group of wet meadow ecosystems in Ann Arbor, Michigan designed as an educational opportunity for school-age children. In Europe, wet meadows are sometimes managed by hay-cutting and grazing.

Zestar apple

The Zestar! apple (trade mark) or Minnewashta (cultivar) is an apple cultivar released in 1999. It was developed by the horticulturalists at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's Horticultural Resource Center, at the University of Minnesota.The Minnewashta apple is known for its earlier ripening season, ripening in late August through September, marking an earlier start to the apple growing season in Minnesota. The Minnewasheta trees were subject to cold climate testing in laboratories to ensure that the fruit is capable of growing in northern climates.


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