Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Planting warm season vegetables

It's tempting when the weather's mild to think about putting out tomatoes and peppers, and sowing seeds of squash and cucumbers, especially when the garden centers are full of plants. It's still too soon for us for the really warm-weather loving plants, based on the last 'average' frost date of April 15.

But, there's a progression of sowing as the soil temperatures gradually warm. First, the really cold-hardy plants (garden peas, snow peas, sugar snap peas, fava beans, and onion plants), then as spring gets underway (but frost might still be a possibility), planting spinach, potatoes, carrots, beets, chard, more greens, and lettuce. Winter squash seed can be planted now, getting a jump on the long season they need, but basically the seeds wait until the soil warms up enough to trigger germination.

It's always an interesting progression, swapping out bed space, checking soil temperatures, and watching the amount of rain and whether a cold snap might be in store. This year, I seem to have an awful lot of space allocated to garlic, onions, and their kin. We quite enjoy all of them, but definitely I'm not ordering so many onion plants next year! Clearly fresh 'scallions' and young garlic will be on the menu to make room for some of the warm-season vegetables.

3 comments:

  1. Vegetable gardeners are so industrious! This might be why i don't grow them...a great deal more work...but worth every nibble on every pea, bean, potato or squash! gail

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  2. Sounds like you have all sorts of veggies in your garden. Do you participate in a co-op? Some seasons I used to have the kids put the tomatoes and cukes in the red wagon and walk the neighborhood giving all the neighbors as much as they wanted.

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  3. Gail,
    I'm not sure about iindustriousness. But it is a gardening activity to putter with almost all year.

    I think you'd be surprised at how easy it is, especially with small raised beds -- and do give the lettuce mix in a container a try before it get too warm!

    I enjoy monitoring my vegetables and herbs (which basically I manage like a perennial border with change-outs), and the main veg garden is right outside the kitchen door, so it's easy to keep track of.

    And, Janet, I like to grow all sorts of things and experiment, but do have to give things away sometimes, too. That's why my gardening companion won't agree to converting more (boring) scruffy lawn space to vegetable beds! I was hopeful last year that the drought had kiiled the grass in that area, oh well.

    A co-op sort of plant swap would be a great idea, too.

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