One of the most important tasks for gardeners, especially those who are brand new to the task, is the creation of a planting calendar. What plants should you get started indoors and when? Which seeds should you plant directly in the ground and when? Do you have plans to plant cold climate crops? If so, you need to know when they can go into the ground.
This is why the creation of a planting calendar is an important part of the gardening equation; without it, you may be risking all your hard work for nothing. Plant certain crops too early and they could be damaged or destroyed by a late frost cycle. Plant certain crops too late and they may not produce an abundance of healthy food, or they may experience stunted growth.
There are several ways you can determine the average date of the final frost date for your location. Speaking with seasoned gardeners in the local vicinity is by far the best source of information for all things gardening. These folks are on top of their gardening game; take their advice and put it to good use. You can also check with local agriculture extensions of colleges and universities in the area, and/or local government agriculture agencies.
Once you know the average final frost date for your location, it’s time to divvy up your seeds according to the climate preference for the crops you plan on growing in your garden.
Cold Climate Short Season Crops:
The seeds for crops that prefer colder climates, cooler temperatures, and faster maturity rates should be planted directly in the dirt. The seeds for these crops appreciate cool soil temperatures which assist them with the germination process. Once they sprout, these plants grow rather quickly, and if all conditions remain optimal, they will be harvest ready in the early summer months. Some crops that fall into this category are peas, spinach, lettuce, and beets, just to name a few.
Cold Climate Long Season Crops:
The seeds for the crops in this category should be started inside during early spring. These plants do not do well in the hot summer heat, so start them indoors and keep them cool. Transplant them to the garden a couple weeks before the final spring frost and they should reach full maturity before the triple digit temperatures arrive. A few of the crops that fall into this category are cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, and carrots.
Warm Weather Short Season Crops:
The seeds for crops that appreciate warm weather and that also have a fast maturity rate, should be planted directly in the dirt. These seeds germinate quickly in warm soil, grow just as quickly when the weather conditions are right, and they normally don’t handle being transplanted very well. Plant these seeds in the dirt after the final frost has passed and make sure the ground has had a chance to dry out if the spring weather was wet. Corn and beans are a couple of the crops that land in this category.
Warm Weather Long Season Crops:
The seeds for the crops in this category should be started indoors during early spring months. These crops require a lengthy growing season that doesn’t include coming into contact with frost, or cold weather climates. A few of the crops that call this category home include, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash.