Planting Dates for Vegetables, Herbs and Fruit


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Hi there,

I'm actually new here.
I'm starting this thread because I am frustrated with getting in-accurate planting dates. Where I live there are farmers growing corn - and they get very specific planting dates, but for me as a gardener, everything is rough and in accurate.
Please share questions/comments related to specific planting dates for vegetables, herbs and fruit - together we can all help each other.
The more specific the better - exact location, what you want to plant (veg, herb, fruit from seed, seedling or plant), and when you actually plant.

It's time we get accurate information as well.
 
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Unfortunately, we cannot get exact planting dates due to varying weather conditions, daylight hours, temperature patterns, etc. All we can do is guess what might be coming , plant, and hope for the best. Most seed packets will tell you what the best conditions are for that particular seed or plant, but Mother Nature is a Jokester, and everything is pretty much a crap shoot!
 
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You are absolutely right! But from what I read and see farmers have incredible tools that help them predict and react according to weather conditions. I've actually encountered over 10 articles just on optimal planting dates for corn, wheat etc'. But somehow for home gardening all we get is general frost free dates for planting.
I spoke to one farmer, and he told me that though they cannot predict weather they can make risk assessments using new technology for each planting date. I just think gardeners should have the same level of accuracy.
Love the forum so far...tons of information
 
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If you have green house or box, you can wait for the seedling to harden and increase their survival chance.

You can refer weekly weather forecast to determine suitable time.(y)

I read somewhere moon phase also has some effect.;)

Don't know about dance and song rituals before planting.(n), I hope someone here can enlighten me regarding that.
 
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You are absolutely right! But from what I read and see farmers have incredible tools that help them predict and react according to weather conditions. I've actually encountered over 10 articles just on optimal planting dates for corn, wheat etc'. But somehow for home gardening all we get is general frost free dates for planting.
I spoke to one farmer, and he told me that though they cannot predict weather they can make risk assessments using new technology for each planting date. I just think gardeners should have the same level of accuracy.
Love the forum so far...tons of information
And what you don't see are the plantings that either didn't germinate or froze because of early planting. The most important thing to consider when planting in the ground is the soil temperature not a date on a calendar. And even then a late frost will not help the worlds best soil thermometer nor any high tech risk assessment device.
 
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You would also have to have many different risk assessments because, like in my case, I am at a higher elevation than the next town, so they can plant a week before I can. Another town 30 miles away is in a valley and can plant three weeks before I can. Rajesh Sethi can only plant warm weather crops, I can only plant cool weather crops. Like I said, it's a crap shoot. I will have to try a dance ritual and see if that helps!
 
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http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/vegetable/files/2013/09/EHT-056.pdf
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/earthkind/ekgarden14.html

The above two links are for fall and then spring planting dates for regions of Texas. The dates just offer a window during which certain vegetables, either seed or transplants, go into the ground. I've used it for several years, and find it pretty reliable. If the weather has been warmer than usual, I use the later dates for the fall plantings. If the winter has been colder than usual, I use the later dates for the spring planting. As Tjohn said, you have to use risk assessments (usually learned from past experience) to judge when to plant what.

An agricultural college or your local county agricultural agent, if you have one, might be able to provide you with a guideline for planting.
 
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Unfortunately, gardening is an inexact science. Actually, it is more like an art. However, there is a method that is helpful.

First, you need to determine your USDA Hardiness Zone. A little Googling will turn up a very helpful colorful map showing the zones. However, you also must consider the microclimate within your zone. For example, I live in Zone 6a, but I am in a valley and often have cooler temperatures and a slightly shorter growing season than my neighbors 5 miles down the road do.

Your Hardiness Zone gives you a general idea of first and last frost dates. My last frost can be up to May 20. My first fall frost isn't supposed to be until October 20, but I lost my fall crop of string beans on October 1 this year. This was due to my cooler microclimate in the valley.

With frost dates in hand, we can begin looking at specific vegetables. Some such as peas, lettuce, radishes, spinach, kale, and onions may be planted a week to several weeks before the last frost date in the spring. Others such as string beans and corn should wait until the frost-free date. Very sensitive plants like peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant are best off planted a week after the last frost date when the ground temperature is a little warmer.

As Chuck mentioned, a soil thermometer can help you to get a little more scientific in your risk assessment. Between the frost free dates, soil temperature, and the weekly weather forecast, I make an educated gamble. You might compare it to playing the lottery, only much more certain. You can be a risk taker with the first tomatoes in your community most years but no tomatoes other years, or you can play it safe and wait that extra week.

One resource I recommend is The Year Round Vegetable Gardner. In her book, Niki Jabbour gives very helpful tables for almost every common vegetable showing a planting window as frost-free date plus or minus a certain number of weeks. This reference alone makes the book worthwhile. She also covers various season extension methods which I have implemented in my own garden. For example, using a mini hoop house, I had a meal of fresh lettuce and spinach last night a full month and a half after my first killing frost.

Rather than becoming frustrated with the lack of precision in gardening, I encourage you to embrace the art. Time and experience will give you a feel for the right time to plant. Just keep in mind that even master gardeners get burned once and a while just to keep them humble.
 
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alp

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Welcome to the forum, @Kool Gro !

You don't need to fuss over the exact dates of growing anything. There is always some kind of sowing calender, but always remember in a garden, you have various microclimes.. You can work out various niches are and designate them as nursery beds for seed sowing, cuttings .. I have found out that certain moisture retentive areas in my garden are best for sowing hellebores seeds, taking rose cuttings .. I have a very warm area where I overwinter my dahlias and begonias. I don't need to dig them up whilst someone in other parts of the country might have to dig them up, dry them and store them. There is not ONE golden rule for all of us. Sometimes, intuitions and observations help a lot, with the help of sharing experiences and following roughly some gardening calenders..
 

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