Ron Wilson

Ron Wilson

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Don't Let The Warm Weather Fool You - Cam Jagger


This has been a long, cold winter. Thank goodness spring is in sight, Saturday, March 20 marked the first day of spring. With this being said, it’s time to start thinking about planning flower and vegetable gardens. If starting a new garden, soil testing the site where the garden will go is a good idea. If it is an existing garden and the soil has never been tested, now would be a good time to think about testing it. Your local OSU Extension office can help with soil testing. 

Another gardening task to be thinking about is seed starting. Growing plants from seed is a lot of fun and now is the time to be doing this. Below is a chart from The Old Farmers Almanac that will help determine when to start seeds indoors, transplant seedlings outdoors, and when to start seeds outdoors. 

Crop

    Start Seeds Indoors

    Transplant Seedlings

         Start Seeds Outdoors

Beans

           May 17 - June 7

Beets

           April 26 - May 17

Broccoli

    March 29 - April 12

        April 19 - May 10

BrusselSprouts

    March 29 - April 12

        April 12 - May 3

Cabbage

    March 15 - 29

        April 12 - 26

Cantaloupe

    April 12 - 19

        May 24 - June 14

            May 24 – June 1

Carrots

            April 5 - 19

Cauliflower

    March 29 – April 12

        April 12 - 26

Collards

    March 29 – April 12

       April 12 – May 3

Corn

           May 10 - 24

Cucumbers

     April 12 – 19

        May 24 – June 14

           May 24 – June 1

Eggplants

     Feb. 28 – March 15

        May 24 – June 14

Kale

     March 29 - April 12

        April 12 - May 3

Lettuce

     March 29 - April 12

     April 26 - May 24

Onions

             April 12 – May 3

Peas

            March 29 – April 19

Peppers

      Feb. 28 – March 15

         May 24 – June 14

Potatoes

            May 3 – 24

Pumpkins

       April 12 – 26

          May 24 – June 14

           May 24 – June 1

Radishes

            March 15 - April 5

Spinach

            March 29 - April 19

Sweet Potatoes

        April 12 – 19

      May 24 – June 14

            May 24 - June 1

Squash

        April 12 – 26

          May 24 – June 14

            May 24 - June 1

Swiss Chard

        March 29 – April 12

          April 19 – 26

            May 24 - June 1

Tomatoes

        March 15 – 29

      May 17 – June 7

Turnips

            April 12 – May 3

Watermelons

        April 12 – 19

          May 24 – June 14

            May 24 – June 1

Takeing a look at the chart above notice that some of the vegetable crops we like to plant in the garden can handle cooler temperatures and those are recognized as cool season crops. Some of those include:

  • Cole crops (or brassicas) which are an amazingly large and varied family, whose edible portions span from  leaves to flowers to roots. This includes broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, radishes, turnips, kohlrabi, arugula, Asian greens, and mustard greens (Brussels sprouts, a brassica, are planted in the cool season but take many months to mature).
  • Peas (both edible-podded and shelling) are another familiar cool-season crop.
  • Lettuce is yet another group that has a huge number of varieties.
  • Spinach is also included the cool season assembly.

Now that we have talked about testing the garden soil, starting seeds and cool season crops. We need to think about the frost free date in your county. According to the Old Farmers Almanac the frost free date is May 10th for Morrow County where I live. However, I caution folks of following this date. I like to use Memorial day as a frost free date in Central Ohio because the last several years have presented us with a frost and or freeze near Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day has always been a good rule of thumb for safely planting vegetables and flowers outside, but I caution folks to watch the weather and think about planting around Memorial Day, all threat of frost should be gone by then.

I know the temptation is always there to start earlier especially if we are experiencing 65 and 70 degree days. That is why it is important to follow the planting guide above. If you have raised beds or micro climates under cold frames the soil might warm up quicker allowing you to start a little earlier. Ideally cool season crops would like soil temperatures to be above 40 degrees and warm season crops would like soil temperatures to be at or above 55 degrees.

If you do jump the gun and plant before memorial day your crops can potentially be protected from frost with old blankets, cardboard and row covers. 

Whether you are starting transplants from seed or purchasing them, watch the weather forecast to ensure your little plant babies are protected. Have a fun and successful spring.

If you have questions call your local OSU Extension Office.


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