Don't Let This Warm Weather FOOL YOU!

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This has been a long, cold winter.  Thank goodness spring is in sight, Saturday, March 20 marked the first day of spring.  With this being said, it’s time to start thinking about planning flower and vegetable gardens.  If starting a new garden, soil testing the site where the garden will go is a good idea.  If it is an existing garden and the soil has never been tested, now would be a good time to think about testing it.  Your local OSU Extension office can help with soil testing. 

Another gardening task to be thinking about is seed starting.  Growing plants from seed is a lot of fun and now is the time to be doing this.  Below is a chart from The Old Farmers Almanac that will help determine when to start seeds indoors, transplant seedlings outdoors, and when to start seeds outdoors. 

Crop

     Start Seeds Indoors

     Transplant Seedlings

          Start Seeds Outdoors

Beans

 

 

            May 17 - June 7

Beets

 

 

            April 26 - May 17

Broccoli

     March 29 - April 12

         April 19 - May 10

 

Brussel Sprouts

     March 29 - April 12

         April 12 - May 3

 

Cabbage

     March 15 - 29

         April 12 - 26

 

Cantaloupe

     April 12 - 19

         May 24 - June 14

             May 24 – June 1

Carrots

 

 

             April 5 - 19

Cauliflower

     March 29 – April 12

         April 12 - 26

 

Collards

     March 29 – April 12

        April 12 – May 3

 

Corn

 

 

             May 10 - 24

Cucumbers

      April 12 – 19

         May 24 – June 14

             May 24 – June 1

Eggplants

      Feb. 28 – March 15

         May 24 – June 14

 

Kale

      March 29 - April 12

         April 12 - May 3

 

Lettuce

      March 29 - April 12

         April 26 - May 24

 

Onions

 

 

              April 12 – May 3

Peas

 

 

             March 29 – April 19

Peppers

       Feb. 28 – March 15

          May 24 – June 14

 

Potatoes

 

 

             May 3 – 24

Pumpkins

        April 12 – 26

           May 24 – June 14

             May 24 – June 1

Radishes

 

 

             March 15 - April 5

Spinach

 

 

             March 29 - April 19

Sweet Potatoes

         April 12 – 19

           May 24 – June 14

             May 24 - June 1

Squash

         April 12 – 26

           May 24 – June 14

             May 24 - June 1

Swiss Chard

         March 29 – April 12

           April 19 – 26

             May 24 - June 1

Tomatoes

         March 15 – 29

           May 17 – June 7

 

Turnips

 

 

             April 12 – May 3

Watermelons

         April 12 – 19

           May 24 – June 14

             May 24 – June 1

 

Takeing a look at the chart above notice that some of the vegetable crops we like to plant in the garden can handle cooler temperatures and those are recognized as cool season crops.  Some of those include:

  • Cole crops (or brassicas) which are an amazingly large and varied family, whose edible portions span from   leaves to flowers to roots. This includes broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, radishes, turnips, kohlrabi, arugula, Asian greens, and mustard greens (Brussels sprouts, a brassica, are planted in the cool season but take many months to mature).
  • Peas (both edible-podded and shelling) are another familiar cool-season crop.
  • Lettuce is yet another group that has a huge number of varieties.
  • Spinach is also included the cool season assembly.

 

Now that we have talked about testing the garden soil, starting seeds and cool season crops. We need to think about the frost free date in your county.  According to the Old Farmers Almanac the frost free date is May 10th for Morrow County where I live.  However, I caution folks of following this date.  I like to use Memorial day as a frost free date in Central Ohio because the last several years have presented us with a frost and or freeze near Mother’s Day.  Mother’s Day has always been a good rule of thumb for safely planting vegetables and flowers outside, but I caution folks to watch the weather and think about planting around Memorial Day, all threat of frost should be gone by then.

 

I know the temptation is always there to start earlier especially if we are experiencing 65 and 70 degree days.  That is why it is important to follow the planting guide above.  If you have raised beds or micro climates under cold frames the soil might warm up quicker allowing you to start a little earlier.  Ideally cool season crops would like soil temperatures to be above 40 degrees and warm season crops would like soil temperatures to be at or above 55 degrees.

 

If you do jump the gun and plant before memorial day your crops can potentially be protected from frost with old blankets, cardboard and row covers. 

 

Whether you are starting transplants from seed or purchasing them, watch the weather forecast to ensure your little plant babies are protected.  Have a fun and successful spring.

 

If you have questions call your local OSU Extension Office.