Days to Maturity - what exactly does it mean?


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On my first year of gardening I figured that if I give my plants a 4 week head start by sewing them indoors I'd harvest 4 weeks early. I now realize this is not the case. In fact, in some cases planting 4 weeks LATER produces the earliest harvest!

So what is the 'rule of thumb'? My observation now tells me that days to maturity means number of SUITABLE growing days?

So for example, my Purple Hyacinth beans have grown about 6 inches since being planted out in early June. It's clearly not warm enough to grow, and whilst they're alive there have probably only been 5 or so 'suitable' (warm enough) growing days for them.

My winter squash hasn't quite made it. I have plenty of fruits, but they've come too late and they won't ripen in time.
So from this I conclude that Purple Hyacinth beans aren't a goer in my climate - we just don't have enough days at high enough temps. But I'm thinking if I just improve things a little bit for my winter squash I can probably succeed. So maybe keep them in the warm polytunnel for a couple of weeks longer, then out under fleece.

I'm also thinking that if I can eliminate 'shock' that might be enough. So maybe my squash have enough warm days to ripen, but in amongst them there are some damagingly cold days. If I take them out of the equation (with fleece) perhaps that will be enough?

If anyone can shed more light on what 'days to maturity' means it'd be appreciated.
 
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On my first year of gardening I figured that if I give my plants a 4 week head start by sewing them indoors I'd harvest 4 weeks early. I now realize this is not the case. In fact, in some cases planting 4 weeks LATER produces the earliest harvest!

So what is the 'rule of thumb'? My observation now tells me that days to maturity means number of SUITABLE growing days?

So for example, my Purple Hyacinth beans have grown about 6 inches since being planted out in early June. It's clearly not warm enough to grow, and whilst they're alive there have probably only been 5 or so 'suitable' (warm enough) growing days for them.

My winter squash hasn't quite made it. I have plenty of fruits, but they've come too late and they won't ripen in time.
So from this I conclude that Purple Hyacinth beans aren't a goer in my climate - we just don't have enough days at high enough temps. But I'm thinking if I just improve things a little bit for my winter squash I can probably succeed. So maybe keep them in the warm polytunnel for a couple of weeks longer, then out under fleece.

I'm also thinking that if I can eliminate 'shock' that might be enough. So maybe my squash have enough warm days to ripen, but in amongst them there are some damagingly cold days. If I take them out of the equation (with fleece) perhaps that will be enough?

If anyone can shed more light on what 'days to maturity' means it'd be appreciated.
IF, if you planted 2 bean seeds identically would they grow and ripen exactly the same? NO, they wouldn't. All that "days to harvest" means is that it is an educated average time to harvest guess. There are many reasons why sometimes a plant produces and ripens either earlier or later than stated. These reasons include the weather, temperatures, rain, nutrition etc. Plus when you buy a pack of 50 seeds you may be buying 50 seeds from 50 different plants grown in 50 different places. And it is 100% sure that they are not genetically the exact same. Just as no two gardens are the same there are no two plants the same. What works perfectly in one garden may or may not work perfectly in another. It will probably work but just not the same. You have to experiment with your garden in nutrition issues, such as fertilizing at planting and which added amendments such as phosphates should be used, especially for your winter squash and its lack of early blooming.
 
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