Quiz: Which is more difficult?
A. Moving a 2 ton rock with your bare hands
B. Growing a successful crop in a backyard vegetable garden
Did you pick B?
Growing a bountiful garden can seem daunting. There are so many things to consider: soil temperature, soil mineral levels, sun vs shade, frost, and insects.
One secret to growing a bountiful garden is knowing when to plant. To save time, you may be tempted to throw all the seeds into the ground in one weekend. However, to achieve a successful garden, plant seeds according to their desired schedule.
When determining when to plant, there are three types of crop categories: cool season, warm season and tender.
Cool Season Crops
Cool season crops can be sown directly into the ground in March and April. Such crops include broccoli, lettuce, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and onions. You can replant a second crop when the days begin to cool in the Fall.
Warm Season Crops
Warm season crops have a longer growing season and are typically more “picky”. You must wait until the danger of frost is past to transplant warm season crops. In the Minnesota and Wisconsin region, that is typically mid to late May. Warm season crops include tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers.
Tender crops include cucumbers, pumpkins and watermelons. You can plant them early similar to cool crops, but place a hot cap over the soil before planting and until the plant emerges from the soil. This helps warm the soil and allows the seeds to germinate.
An excellent resource is the University of Minnesota Extension office planning guides. The guides offer guidelines and best practices to help you grow healthy plants in your own yard and garden.