Monday, January 28, 2013


Vegetable gardens for most of the world can be broken down into two planting types; Cold weather crops or vegetables and Warm weather crops or vegetables.
Planting cold weather vegetables is done twice per year in areas with longer growing seasons (6 months or more).  Planting can be done just as soon as ground is plantable (unfrozen).  Ground is not warm to the tough but is workable (not overly muddy).
To determine Your particular planting zone and the last day of frost or freeze, see Part one of Garden plan

Planting warm weather vegetables is done after the ground is warm, the days of sunshine is longer and ALL danger of frost has past, but are going to concentrate on Cool vegetable first.

If you are planting any of the above vegetables they are the first ones you will plant and the first ones that will finish.  Most cool weather vegetables are mature and out of the garden within about 25 to 45 days; a month to month and one half; which is usually perfect timing for the warm weather vegetables to be planted.
Here in MO, I am in climate zone 5b so my cold weather vegetables get planted in about the second week in April and are done by the end of May.  The middle to end of May is when the warm weather vegetables are planted usually in the form of seedlings.  This is perfect timing!
STEP ONE: We know what we are going to grow, now select variety.
For best varieties in your area do NOT rely on Walmart, Target or your local grocery to select the varieties.  Check with your local extension office and then if the local retail stores carry that variety, buy it.  Even local nurseries will carry seed packages that look inviting but are NOT the best for your area although nurseries are better than the big retail type stores.
Search vegetable planting chart, [your state], book mark this page because you will come back to it often.  After all, your tax dollars pay for this information why not use it for FREE.
We will be planting, lettuces(Black Seed Simpson{shown right}, Gourmet Blend and Paris Island(baby romaine), Radishes(cherry belle, crimson giant, white icicle), Onions (candy white, candy red and big daddy seedlings), Purple Top White Globe Turnips

and Detroit Dark Red beet.  Not only do I know these grow well in my area because I referenced my extension site (see Garden Plan) but I grew these last year (2012) and they were perfect.
STEP TWO: We know how much total space we have, to determine how much space we need for each variety, we can look on the back of the seed package or bring up a vegetable chart.  Remember the book mark for the extension list.  Back to that again or use general planting guide below.
RULE OF THUMB SPACING: Cool weather crops
Radishes are 1 to 2 inches apart in the row with 12 to 18 inch row spacing.
Turnips, Beets and greens (leaf lettuces) or like size vegetable are 2 to 3 inches apart and row spacing 12 to 18 inches apart.
Because I like to walk comfortable down my rows or get a tiller in between my rows regardless of type of vegetable the rows are 2 foot apart or greater.
If I had a small garden my rows would to closer together because I can reach into a 5 x 5 garden easily where as a 25 x 50 the reach get a little more difficult.  Take your garden size into consideration. 

I am using homemade seed tapes this year because I want good spacing with no wasted vegetables.  Most seed packets will give most gardeners plenty of vegetable seeds.  EXAMPLE; my Black Seeded Simpson packet(1 gram) yield 840 plants.  I have a large garden and I won't need 840 plants.
I buy the onions as seedlings.  Last year I bought three bunches one of each big daddies, candy whites and red onions.  They were a big hit at the Farmers Market and they keep for months after maturity so I am tripling my bunches.  I buy them at Stark Bros Nursery and  Garden Center which is in my home town but and excellent nursery with lots of organic stuff.  On line however, they carry fruit and berry plants which they have been known 100 years for.

Variety Pack lettuces like the one shown on the right are really good for small gardens and save money on seeds.

Butternut Crunch like the one shown at the right is an excellent choice for firm, crunchy sweet lettuce.

I will plant two rows of lettuce, one row onions, skip a large place for tomatoes, then one row onions, one row carrots, one row beets,  then ship a large space for tomatoes and repeat until all the cool season crops are planted.  In the large space waiting for warm weather tomatoes I will plant cover crops that will be mowed down to give an organic cover for my tomatoes and food and nourishment as the organic matter decays.

GARDEN PLANS Part II cover crops before warm weather vegetables are planted.

variety lettuce

heatwave blend

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