Hello again “Vintage Homemaking Week” friends! What a fun week we’ve had connecting with other bloggers from Karen Ehman’s site. It’s winding down, but hang in there for one more day. There are still a lot of great topics all the bloggers are covering, including: Applesauce bread, DIY wood stain, handwritten scripture tags & encouraging young homemakers and MORE!
I’m hosting the “How to Garden Like Grandma” part of this series. To catch up, follow these links:
Today it’s all about Seasonal Planting and Your Zone!
When you think of planting a garden, what season comes to mind? If you said summer, you’re not alone! I used to think that I was limited to gardening May -August too. But we’re not!
Veggies are grouped seasonally, so you have warm weather (a.k.a. summer) and cool weather (a.k.a. autumn) crops. Neat, huh?
So what’s the difference? Glad you asked!
When do you plant them? Every vegetable has a different germination period that will be noted on the back of a seed packet or can be found online. You can start your plants from seed indoors several weeks to several months prior to the last frost of the season. Once any risk of frost is past, you are free to plant seedlings in the ground. In case of a surprise frost, cover your crops at night with hardware cloth or an old bed sheet.
Keep in mind that many factors affect when the best time for YOU to plant is: climate, altitude, seasonal temperatures. I live in the south, so my growing season runs from late March – early November. However, those in the northeast generally grow from May-September. Here is a great resource for you to plug in your zip code and find specific growing dates per vegetable for your area from All Things Plants.
What are summer vegetables? Most summer veggies are almost always grown for their fruit (Think: tomatoes & cucumbers). They include, but aren’t limited to-
- Zucchini and Yellow Squashes
- Sweet Potato
- And more!
How much sunlight do they need and what kind of temps?
Ideally your seeds need to germinate & grow in temperatures over 70 degrees with 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. Each vegetable has varying needs for sunlight and shade, so be sure to read up on your crops before planting.
How much water do they need? If you start your crops by seed, water consistently with no more than 1 inch per week. Once your seeds sprout, continue consistent watering from the base down. Summer plants enjoy drinking long and deep at their roots. Avoid watering the leaves as many diseases grow in wet conditions. If you do water the leaves, do so in the morning so the water evaporates before nightfall and cooler temperatures.
Side Note: Inconsistent watering can cause damage to your crops, especially when the temperatures are very high. One thing you might see when watering is not done at regular intervals in the same amount are cracks on tomatoes. The epidermis (skin) on the tomato can’t stretch fast enough to keep up with the excess fluid inside the flesh of the veggie. A common question is, Can I still eat cracked tomatoes? Absolutely! Just check to be sure there isn’t mold, fungus, worms or flies in it. Cut around the cracked part and enjoy!
BONUS: If you live in a warm weather area like the southern U.S., you can plant some of your crops twice if you plant your first rotation early enough, like green beans. Once it’s done growing, pull it up by the roots and plant another round of seeds. You can do this with some fall crops too, like kale.
When do you plant them? Most fall vegetables can tolerate a light frost–some can even deal with a light snow–but just like summer vegetables, cover your crops with hardware cloth or a sheet overnight if it suddenly turns cold or a heavy frost sets in.
As I mentioned above, every area around the world had different growing seasons. This will affect when you put your fall crop in the ground. Plug your zip code in this link for specialized information.
What are fall vegetables? There are a few different categories these fall under-
- Salad vegetables: lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard
- Kid Won’t Eat These Vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale
- Root vegetables: carrots, beets, and parsnips
- Leggy vegetables: celery and fennel
- Flavorful vegetables: garlic, onions, shallots, leeks, and chives
That’s all for now folks! Please stay tuned for our last day tomorrow when we’ll talk about Pruning & Harvesting. You’ll be amazed at the results!
To enter this giveaway, please leave a question about seasonal crops. Or leave a gardening tip!