Hardiness zones are determined by frost dates (the last expected frost in the spring and the first expected frost in the fall). There are 11 hardiness zones in the United States. Zone 7 has expected last frost dates between March 30 and April 30. The expected first frost dates are September 30 to October 30. The dates are based on average temperatures for a general area.
Clean garden beds by raking away debris. Cover the beds with a 4-inch layer of compost. Apply lime and fertilizer to lawn and garden beds the second week of February.
Begin filling seed trays with potting soil in mid-February. Sow seeds for cool-weather planting, such as cabbage, head lettuce and early blooming flowers.
Plant spring bulbs such as tulips and daffodils. Plant garlic and spring onions. Plant evergreen trees and shrubs. The last week of February through the first week of March is the optimal time for these plants.
Transplant cool-weather seedlings and potatoes into the garden beds the last week of March. Sow summer and fall seeds for transplanting the last week of April through the first week of May (tomatoes, peppers, early melons and squash). Plant summer blooming flower seeds and bulbs.
Direct sow cool weather seeds such as greens, beets, peas, loose leaf lettuce, radishes, carrots and spinach. Strawberry plants, tomato seedlings, pepper seedlings and berry bushes can be planted the last week of April.
Place a layer of newspaper, 4 sheets thick, around the base of seedlings and between seed rows. Layer 2 inches of straw around plants and between seed rows. Cover strawberries with straw.
The last week of April through the first two weeks of May, harvest cool-weather vegetables. Remove spent early spring plants. Sow bean, corn, squash and melon seeds.
Harvest produce as it becomes available. Frequent harvesting will encourage longer production. Summer vegetables become available in mid-June.
Fertilize summer and fall blooming flowers. Water plants and the lawn every other day. Water in the early morning to prevent evaporation from burning foliage. Direct sow and transplant fall flowers.
Direct sow cool-weather vegetables the second week in August. Warm weather will promote germination and strong plants that will be ready for harvesting the last week of September through the first week of November.
Remove spent plants from summer gardens beginning the third week of September. Cover garden beds with compost and straw. Add another layer of straw to strawberries to protect them over winter.
Install PVC pipe hoops over cool-weather vegetables to extend the growing season. Cover PVC pipes with plastic drop cloth. This creates a mini-hoop greenhouse.
Dig and store spring bulbs just after the first frost. Apply lime and fertilizer to lawn and garden beds.