What Gets Planted When?

This question was asked of me yesterday when a neighbor wanted to know when to plant her tomatoes, peppers, and basil in the garden.

tomatoesTender plants – like tomatoes, peppers and basil – get planted after all danger of frost is over. Gardeners here generally use Memorial Day weekend as the date though frost has occasionally occurred later. Check the long-range forecast before planting. Tonight is forecast to drop to 34 degrees in Glens Falls. Not quite frost, but not much better.

If you haven’t hardened off transplants by leaving the transplants outside where they get indirect light, then do so this week. Bring them inside if the temperatures dip. After a week of being exposed to more and more light, your transplants will be ready to plant in full sun next weekend.

lettuceIf you can’t wait to get your hands in the soil, there are plants don’t mind a chill. For example, lettuce, beets, carrots, radishes, dill, cilantro, cabbage, broccoli, celery, kale, potatoes, peas and spinach can be planted mid-May.

However, if beans, corn, basil, rosemary, melons, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins or eggplants are on your list….wait until Memorial Day weekend as these are all susceptible to frost. Or follow in Thomas Jefferson’s gardening footsteps. He said that if you didn’t lose a few plants each season you were planting too late.

See you in the garden this week, Natalie

Frost Warning for Tonight!

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures will dip into the 30s for the next two nights.

If you already have plants in the ground, you will want to cover them to prevent damage.

How much can the temperature fall before damage is done?

It depends. Some vegetables are more tolerant of the cold than others. And plants that have been growing in cooler conditions are more tolerant than freshly transplanted from the greenhouse vegetables.

“In general, a frost (31-33 degrees F.) will kill beans, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, okra, peas, pepper, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, tomatoes, and watermelon.

Colder temperatures (26-31 degrees F.) may burn foliage but will not kill broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, lettuce, mustard, onion, radish, and turnip.

The real cold weather champs are beets, Brussels sprouts, carrots, collards, kale, parsley, and spinach,” according to the A&M Texas Agriculture website.

Tender herbs such as basil and rosemary should be covered as well.

In my garden I use whatever is available as covers … sheets, newspapers, even cardboard boxes folded to create tents. For fragile plants, I push a dowel into the ground to keep the cover from touching and breaking stems.

Someday soon we will be shaking our collective heads thinking about the crazy start to our season as we slather on sunscreen and reach for our wide-brim hats and sunglasses.

At least, I hope so!