Gardening Blunder #5

February 18, 2006

The previous Gardening Blunder examined a simple, but important strategy for watering the vegetable garden, today’s blunder covers an important consideration when you’re ready to plant your vegetable seeds.

Gardening Blunder: Planting at the Wrong Time

It’s important that you time your seed sowing so that your plants mature under their optimum growing conditions; otherwise you make things difficult for yourself and your vegetable garden. You can’t just plant all your crops at one convenient time if you want the best results from your garden. More consideration must be given to the specific needs of your plants and the ideal seed starting dates.

Sometimes gardeners struggle in their attempts to grow a particular plant and just can’t understand why a vegetable variety won’t grow successfully in their garden. If you find yourself in this situation, one of the first things to consider is whether you are growing the plant at the proper time and during the proper season.

Some Veggies Like it Cold

Take lettuce for example, this is a relatively easy plant to grow, but it prefers to grow and mature during the cooler periods of spring or fall. Growing lettuce during the wrong season affects not only its growth, but also the taste of these tender salad greens.

If you try to force lettuce plants to grow during warmer weather, many varieties will develop a bitter taste, then bolt and send up a tall seed stalk rather than produce the sweet tender leaves that we all desire. So your timing of when you plant your seeds means everything to a successful harvest.

Some Plants Need the Heat

Melons are the exact opposite, they like it hot and require warm soil temperatures. If you plant them before the soil has thoroughly warmed they won’t grow, but will sit and wait until the weather is more to their liking. Melons planted later in the season will usually catch and perform better than melons that were planted when the soil temperatures were too cool.

Eggplants are another example of a plant that will struggle if planted out before the soil and air temperatures have warmed up. So you defeat your purpose by rushing and planting heat loving crops before weather conditions are right, and actually run the risk of permanently stunting the sensitive young seedlings.

Planting Solution: Match Crops to Proper Growing Season

Finally there are versatile crops such as collard greens which are adaptable and can be planted to grow through extremes of either hot or cold weather. The important thing is to consider and understand what your plants prefer, and to then time your plantings so that they can take advantage of the favorable conditions and grow during the seasons that best suit them.

The next Gardening Blunder will take a look at some of the mistakes that gardeners make when it comes to keeping the vegetable plot free of weeds that can disrupt the growth of your cultivated vegetable plants.

Other Related Vegetable Gardening Posts:

  • Jackie

    I am new to gardening and although last year my garden was bountiful, this year it has not done so well. I was wondering where I can find information about the types of crops and times of the year I should plant for where I live which is Miami, Florida. I enjoy your email’s very much but I need this basic information so I can stop guessing and get to work. Thanks so much and best regards.

  • Kenny Point

    A great source of gardening information and planting advice for your specific area can be obtained from your local Cooperative Extension Office. Another good resource is the Master Gardener Program in your area, either of these agencies can help you to determine the ideal times for planting fruits and vegetables in your growing region.

  • melissa

    How do I find out when the frost/freeze danger is over for my area? Thank you.

  • Pingback: Frost Free Dates » Veggie Gardening Tips()

  • Problem: With simple vegetables, I get growth on tops and nice leaves, but no growth on botten. Radishes, green onions, those sorts of veggies. Any ideas?
    Thanks, Bill

  • Kenny Point

    Bill, the problem could be related to your soil, for example too rich in nitrogen which would stimulate leaf growth. Phosphorus levels are usually associated with good root development. Another possibility is that the plants are being stressed from planting them at the wrong time. Radishes prefer cooler weather for the best results and the growth of onions is affected by daylight hours or length of day issues.

  • I am going to pay closer attention to the needs of each veggie I plant, along with the other tips learned through this series. I’m having a great morning reading all this great info.

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