Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sewing Schedules

from Melissa's Corner in the Spring 2007 Newsletter
by Melissa Kesterson
photo by Richard Thomas under Creative Commons License

This time of year, seasoned gardeners are busy planning how to get their crops or flowers in the ground at the optimal time. It’s easy for new gardeners to feel overwhelmed by the amount of available information about getting started—what to grow and when to plant!

Easy-to-read lists are always helpful, and I know I have certainly benefited from them over the years. A few examples from the book Just the Facts, published by Storey Books, may help you as you dream about your gardens this season.

Hardy Crops – plant when ground can be worked, 20-40 days before last frost
  • Broccoli: best started from transplants, seeds usually require 80-100 days to harvest
  • Brussels sprouts: best started from transplants, usually requires 100+ days from seed, pick off lower leaves after sprouts form
  • Cabbage: transplants are best, but, fall harvest cabbage is an option from seed
  • Kale: start from seed or transplant; will survive frost and snow
  • Kohlrabi: best results if seeds are planted directly in ground, and rapid growth is a must with this crop as slow growing plants are tough and the flesh is strong
  • Onion sets: onions prefer rich, fertile, reasonably well-drained soil, dry soil can cause onion bulbs to split forming two small bulbs instead of normal growth
  • Peas: sow early in spring, they don’t like hot weather
  • Radishes: plant with other seeds to mark rows—fast sprouting
  • Spinach: likes cool weather, goes to seed quickly in warm weather
  • Turnip: never cover turnip seeds with more than 1⁄4 inch of soil as they are very small and the tender young plants are easily killed when there is a thick layer of soil on top
Semi-Hardy Crops – plant 10-30 days before last frost
  • Beets: prefer a well drained soil but hot, dry weather can cause beet roots to become stringy and tough, beet greens removed during thinning can be cooked like other greens
  • Carrots: one ounce of carrot seeds will sow 100 feet, the seeds should be sown relatively thick, about a half-a-dozen seeds to the inch, darkest green foliage indicates the largest carrots
  • Cauliflower: start as transplants in spring, seed in early summer for fall crops
  • Lettuce: 3” spacing for leaf lettuce, 8” for head lettuce, cut don’t pull for second and third harvest
  • Swiss chard: can be grown in any good garden soil in which lettuce thrives, plants should be placed 12 inches apart and a 15-25 row is usually sufficient for a family of four and can supply greens from July through frost, cut and serve when plants are 8”-10” tall
Tender Vegetables - plant on the average last frost date
  • Snap Beans: from seed, pick young before individual beans are visible in the pod
  • Cantaloupe: plant 5-6 seeds per hill, later thin to best 3-4 plants
  • Sweet Corn: from seed; pick immediately before serving to prevent natural sugars from turning to starch
  • Cucumber: plant 5-6 seeds per hill later thinning to 3-4 best plants
  • Eggplant: transplants are a good idea
  • Peppers: transplants are a good idea, thrive in poor soil
  • Pumpkins: needs space to sprawl, grow as a barrier to keep raccoons out
  • Summer squash (including zucchini): for extra early crop start some indoors and transplant
  • Squash (winter): same as pumpkin
  • Tomato: transplant well after the danger of frost passes, late May in Michigan

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