Planning the garden — when to plant

by bestseeds on January 16, 2013

In my younger years, my mother plants most of the garden all in one day.  We had alot of production out of that garden. Since that time, I have moved to a location with a longer growing season.  I prefer to stretch out the fresh heirloom organic vegetable production from as early as I can to late in the fall.

Early crops can include lettuce, radishes, cabbages, potatoes, carrots,  spinach, and peas.  These can grow when the soil is 40-50 degrees.  Crops that need heat to thrive include green beans, sweet potatoes, squash, melons, peppers, corn, okra, and onions. These crops need at least 60 degree soil.  Take a thermometer and push the bulb in the ground to find out your current soil temperature.   Check the minimum and ideal soil temperature on the planting information chart. Labels on seed packages sometimes tell you the ideal planting temperatures.  I once planted cowpeas early like I planted green shell peas.  I did not know that cowpeas are warm weather crop.  Most of the seed rotted in the ground because of the cool temperature.

There are several crops that can be planted every 2-3 weeks to provide an ongoing harvest.  These would include greens, radishes, lettuce, etc.  In our area, green beans can be planted until August 1 and generally provide a good crop before frost.  Here, again, once you have a little more experience, you will realize what crops are harvested all at once, like onions and garlic, and what crops produce for 3-4 weeks, like beans, lettuce, summer squash, and what crops produce until frost, like okra, tomatoes, peppers, etc.  I like variety, so I like to keep as many things productive for as long as I can.  On the other hand, I do NOT want to have to pick green beans every few days, all summer long.  So I make an early crop, which sometimes fails.  Then I plant a main crop which is the one I use for canning and freezing.  By then, I am tired of beans.   So I plant a last crop August 1st and they taste wonderful again in the fall before the frost hits!

Don’t make it all too complicated.  Get started and you will learn as you go.  Remember, there are no failures, only successes and learning experiences!

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