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Over the Fence

Where gardeners come to find out what's happening out in the yard.

Garden Planting Reminders

Posted by Richard Hentschel -

Down the Garden Path

In a normal spring, gardeners can rely on the calendar dates and information on the vegetable seed packets to schedule planting of the garden seeds. While that is generally valid this year, planting by actual soil temperatures may prove a better tactic in 2014.
The terms hardy, frost-tolerant, tender and warm-loving associated with how many days before or after our average frost-free date, we can plant by. Other terms like spring, summer and fall gardens are talking about how many times we can plant or replant a garden during the year. Successive plantings are about planting smaller quantities, repeating those seedlings throughout the growing season.
Using a soil thermometer gardeners can without guessing know it is time to sow a variety of vegetable seeds directly in the garden and ensure that seed germination will be quick and seedling growth will not be a risky adventure. When seeds are sown at the best soil temperatures for rapid germination, then you are taking advantage of the seeds resources.
The terms of hardy, spring gardens and now the soil temperatures all tie together and begin to make more sense as you plan this year's garden. An example of a hardy, spring garden vegetable that can be planted when soil temperatures are say between 45and 60 degrees could be spinach, carrot, chard, radish and a variety of leaf lettuces. The days to germination could be as sort as 4-7 days for a radish or as long as 14 days for spinach in the spring garden. An example of a summer garden, warm loving vegetable when soil temperatures are between 65 and 80 degrees could be squash, watermelon, sweet corn or cucumbers. Germination in a summer garden when soil temperatures are much warmer could be only 2-3 days if you are sowing turnips, 4-5 days for squash and 4-8 days for cucumbers.
Once gardeners have made those primary plantings, this is where successive plantings will provide fresh produce then throughout the growing season. An example might be once the soil temperatures for snap beans is right (above 65 degrees), then successive plantings every couple of weeks will provide that continuous harvest through frost. The idea of successive plantings is to sow multiple short rows providing enough for fresh table use. If there is a desire to preserve produce through freezing or home canning, plan for more rows providing enough volume to do the preservation or visit the farmer market and buy what the volume of vegetable to be canned or frozen. The latter is often a better way especially if your garden space is limited at home. A possible third alternative is a community garden plot with the intent of using that produce for the canning or freezing.
Enjoy the challenge of spring this year and experiment with planting dates and new vegetables.
Down the Garden Path Richard Hentschel, Extension EducatorApril 18, 2014Garden Planting Reminders
In a normal spring, gardeners can rely on the calendar dates and information on the vegetable seed packets to schedule planting of the garden seeds. While that is generally valid this year, planting by actual soil temperatures may prove a better tactic in 2014.
The terms hardy, frost-tolerant, tender and warm-loving associated with how many days before or after our average frost-free date, we can plant by. Other terms like spring, summer and fall gardens are talking about how many times we can plant or replant a garden during the year. Successive plantings are about planting smaller quantities, repeating those seedlings throughout the growing season.
Using a soil thermometer gardeners can without guessing know it is time to sow a variety of vegetable seeds directly in the garden and ensure that seed germination will be quick and seedling growth will not be a risky adventure. When seeds are sown at the best soil temperatures for rapid germination, then you are taking advantage of the seeds resources.
The terms of hardy, spring gardens and now the soil temperatures all tie together and begin to make more sense as you plan this year's garden. An example of a hardy, spring garden vegetable that can be planted when soil temperatures are say between 45and 60 degrees could be spinach, carrot, chard, radish and a variety of leaf lettuces. The days to germination could be as sort as 4-7 days for a radish or as long as 14 days for spinach in the spring garden. An example of a summer garden, warm loving vegetable when soil temperatures are between 65 and 80 degrees could be squash, watermelon, sweet corn or cucumbers. Germination in a summer garden when soil temperatures are much warmer could be only 2-3 days if you are sowing turnips, 4-5 days for squash and 4-8 days for cucumbers.
Once gardeners have made those primary plantings, this is where successive plantings will provide fresh produce then throughout the growing season. An example might be once the soil temperatures for snap beans is right (above 65 degrees), then successive plantings every couple of weeks will provide that continuous harvest through frost. The idea of successive plantings is to sow multiple short rows providing enough for fresh table use. If there is a desire to preserve produce through freezing or home canning, plan for more rows providing enough volume to do the preservation or visit the farmer market and buy what the volume of vegetable to be canned or frozen. The latter is often a better way especially if your garden space is limited at home. A possible third alternative is a community garden plot with the intent of using that produce for the canning or freezing.
Enjoy the challenge of spring this year and experiment with planting dates and new vegetables.


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