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Watch Your Garden Grow

Published: April 25, 2009

When to Plant Your Veggies

You have all the seed packets ready to go, so when should you start planting your garden?  The National Gardening Association has a suggestion: watch what’s coming up in your flower beds.
You may already have started your broccoli, Brussel sprouts, garlic, onion sets, cabbage, kale, spinach, turnips, radishes, potatoes, peas, and shallots, since they can tolerate late frosts.

For the next plantings, keep your eye on the blossoms. When you see tulips, daffodils, and maple trees in flower, it’s time to plant beets and Swiss chard, which can survive light frost .

When the apple trees and lilacs are in bloom, it’s generally safe to plant squash, pumpkin, bush beans, and sweet corn that can all germinate in cool soil, although they eventually need the summer heat.

When the bearded iris are in bloom and the apple blossoms are falling, plant the more tender items: pole and lima beans, peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, and cantaloupes.

Frost is, of course, the spoiler in the early planting of seeds and seedlings. Many vegetables including tomatoes can survive temperatures as low as 28 degrees F, but they can’t survive frost, which can occur at temperatures as high as 40 degrees F. Frost is crystallized dew that destroys the cell walls of plants as it melts.

If you have already planted and frost threatens, you can often prevent damage by covering plants with sheets or blankets overnight, but be sure to remove them during warm days. Make sure coverings are of light material to avoid damaging the plants. You may use plastic as long as it doesn’t come in contact with the plants, since plastic can convey freezing cold to tender leaves.
To get the jump on your neighbor with tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, you can protect them with a homemade Wall-O-Water. Duct tape together seven or so two-quart plastic containers around the middle to form a circle. Fill with water and place around the young plant. The water will soak up warmth during the day and keep plants from freezing at night.

If you believe in The Farmers Almanac moon gardening guide, here is the planting outlook predicted for the coming week: April 24-26  and April 30 will be favorable for planting the above grown crops including beans, corn, cotton, tomatoes, and peppers.  Avoid April 27-29. Seeds may rot in the ground. Definitely not good!

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