Monday, January 23, 2017

Seed Planting Schedule

Planting Calendar Dates

One of the myths I hear in our area is that you wait until Memorial Day and then plant the whole garden.  Doing this you will miss out on some wonderful early spring crops and get fewer harvests.  So how do you know when to plant what?
Vegetable crops are either cool season or warm season crops.  Their seeds need a certain soil temperature in order to germinate.  Cool season crops are further divided into hardy and semi-hardy plants.  Warm season crops are divided into tender and very tender crops. 
Since last average frost differs in each planting zone, you will need that information to determine your planting calendar. Planting dates are also dealing with the initial planting. With many crops you can make several plantings 2 weeks apart to have a continual harvest instead of a one-time harvest. Planting dates also give a suggested time frame to start and stop planting.  Depending on the actual spring weather, the timing can be moved up a week or back a week.  

 The important factor in determining when to plant is the actual soil temperature at which a seed will germinate and the soil will be dry enough to work.  Most seed packets tell you the ideal soil temperature for germination.  With cool season crops that is between 40-75 degrees.  Warm season crops prefer soils temperatures above 50 or 60 degrees.   To find soil temperature, go outside in the afternoon and stick a regular thermometer a few inches in the ground. 

Hardy Spring Crops (Plant as soon as the soil dries out and soil temperature is 40-45 degrees) Around St Patrick's Day in my area
Direct Seed:  Broccoli , Cabbage, Kohlrabi,Onions, PeasRadish, Spinach, Turnips
Artichoke, asparagus, and rhubarb are not started from seed but planted at this time.
I recommend using transplants for broccoli and cabbage.

Rhubarb, the pie plant, is one of the earliest spring treats.

Kale is much happier, healthier, and better tasting is planted in the right season.

Semi-Hardy Spring Crops:  (Plant a couple weeks after the hardy group) 

 Direct Seed: Beets, Carrots, Cauliflower, Lettuce Parsley, Parsnip, Swiss Chard, Kale, Mustard, Mizuna, Tat Soi, Pac Choi, Chinese Cabbage, Mache or Corn Salad, Sorrel (perennial), Cilantro, Arugula
Transplant: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Lettuce, Kale   Depending on your zone have protection in case of a late freeze. I put them under a low tunnel or have a row cover on hand to protect from frosts.

Plant Potatoes
Lettuce transplants under a low tunnel.  The forks are to keep my cats from lounging in the low tunnel.
Mache or corn salad needs cool weather to flourish.

Mizuna and mustard early spring greens

Purple Viking potatoes

Pac Choi a quick growing cabbage for stir frying.

Tender Summer Crops (Plant on average last frost date) May 15th in my zone
Direct seed:  Cucumbers, Dry Beans, Snap Beans, Sweet Corn, Popcorn, Summer Squash
Transplant:  Celery, Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Sage, Rosemary, French Tarragon, Marjoram

Varieties of summer squash and a delicata squash

Silver queen sweet corn.
Very Tender (Plant two weeks after tender crops)
Memorial Day in my area
Direct Seed: Muskmelons Watermelons, Lima Beans, Peppers, Winter Squash, Pumpkins
Transplants:  Peppers, Tomatillos, Tomatoes, Eggplant

Isn't it amazing what one small seed produces!

Varieties of heirloom including Pineapple, Old Ivory Egg, Pink German
Fall Garden:  Plant hardy and semi-hardy crops from mid-July - August

Plant Garlic 

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