Vegetable Gardening

Green Knees Newsletter     Vol. 1 #1     May 2009

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While Mother Nature has been a bit scatty, to put it nicely, spring is coming and it is time to begin planting your vegetable garden.

If you have never planted a garden before, the following information is important so that a killer frost doesn't obliterate your garden. If you have been gardening forever, the following information may confirm what you already know.

Plants are most often categorized by whether they are hardy, half-hardy, tender or very tender. We often think we know what we know and can be surprised by where vegetables fall in the following categories. So check out the lists below before you plant.

Hardy Vegetables

Vegetables that are hardy are should be planted 4-6 weeks before the frost free date in your area. A list follows: asparagus, broad bean, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, chives, collard, garlic, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, leek, mustard, onion, parsley, pea, radish, rhubarb, spinach and turnip.

Half-Hardy Vegetables

Half-hardy plants should be planted 2-4 weeks before your frost free date. Half-hardy crops are beet, carrot, cauliflower, celery, chard, chicory, chinese cabbage, globe artichoke, endive, lettuce, parsnip, potato and salsify.

Tender Crops

Tender crops are those which will not tolerate cold. Depending on the variety, some may be planted on the first frost free date for your area. Other crops do better if planted a week after your last frost free date, otherwise they sulk and may actually produce less if planted too early

Vegetables listed in the tender category are cowpea, New Zealand spinach, soybean, sweet corn and tomato.

Very Tender Crops

Plants most susceptible to frost damage are the last to be planted or the gardener needs to be prepared to cover them if the temperature drops toward freezing.

Cucumber, eggplant, lima bean, muskmelon, okra, hot pepper, sweet pepper, pumpkin, squash, sweet potato and watermelon all fall into the very tender category

Many of the tender and very tender varieties of vegetables are transplanted rather than planted from seed. Among the plants that transplant well are tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants.

In areas who have a very late frost date, gardeners like to get a jump on growing by transplanting plants rather than planting seeds. They often plant melons, pumpkins and cucumbers as transplants. I have heard complaints about the lack of success. The reason is probably because any of these plants need to be tranplanted when they have just two true leaves.

For those readers who live in south central Idaho, I am including the last frost dates (approximately). These dates are listed as having a less than 10% chance of frost.

If you live in another location and don't know when your last frost date is, contact your local County Extension office for the information.

Dates for transplanting

On the following dates there is a 10% possibility of temperatures falling to 32° F. Mitigating circumstances like wind, moisture and length of freezing temperatures affects how plants survive at this temperature.

Rupert May 26th
Twin Falls May 28th
Jerome May 31st
Burley June 5th
Paul June 7th
Bliss June 10th
Oakley June 11th
Castleford June 12th
Shoshone June 16th
Richfield June 22nd
Hailey June 28th
Strevell June 29th
Fairfield July 7th
Sun Valley July 12th

Which Vegetables To Transplant

Yes With Care No
Tomato Vine crops Beet
Pepper Celery Carrot
Eggplant Swiss Chard Corn
Cole crops Lettuce Bean

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