The Charmed Garden

From Planning to Planting, and from Harvest to Table.

Spring is So Close You Smell It. Wondering What to Plant First? Let’s Get Started :)

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While we aren’t completely out of freezing temps yet, we are really close.  That means we can finally get our hands in some dirt.

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Spinach and Lettuce from last year’s Community Garden.

Here in Zone 5, we can start planting Hardy and Frost Tolerant Vegetables. These vegetables tolerate cold temperatures the best. The seeds germinate in cool soil and their seedlings are frost tolerant. They will grow in daytime temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cool season veggies can produce more sugar and sugar water freezes at lower temps than water, which actually keeps the water in the plant cells from freezing and bursting, protecting the plant. So go for it!!!! Put the gloves on and start moving that soil!!!

Use these Guides as your schedules for what and when to plant indoors and out.

SCHEDULE FOR STARTING YOUR VERY HARDY COOL WEATHER VEGGIES  OUTDOORS 

  • Asparagus, crowns (Crowns Out March 25-April 10) 
  • Arugula, Mid March through early June. 
  • Onion seeds (Long day variety only)  March through June
  • Onion sets, April 1-25
  • Sweet Peas, April 1-25
  • Potato, Irish (Seed pieces/sets)  April 10-15 or June 1-5
  • Radish seeds March 15-April 15; for a fall crop plant seeds mid to end of July 
  • Mustard greens, sow seeds April 10-25;  for a fall crop sow seeds mid to late July
  • Rhubarb, plants (not seeds) March 25
  • Swiss Chard, seeds best after March 25, and transplants in Mid May
  • Rutabaga, sow seeds April 1-15; for a fall crop sow seeds June 25-July 5
  • Spinach – sow seeds directly from March 15-April 1, transplants after March 25, and for a fall crop sow seeds  from July 15-Aug 15
  • Turnips, sow seeds from April 1-15;  for a fall crop sow seeds mid to late July 
  • Carrot seeds from mid April to early July  
  • Parsnip seeds from late April to mid May
  • Cilantro, seeds from early April, successive planting every two weeks until mid June
  • Cauliflower, best after April 15
  • Beets, best sowed after April 1 through July 1

SCHEDULE FOR STARTING FROST-TOLERANT VEGETABLES BY SEED INDOORS AND WHEN TO TRANSPLANT

  • Cabbage, starts seeds March 1-April 1 and transplant April 15-May 15
  • Collard Greens, start seeds March 1-April 1 and transplant April 15-May 15
  • Kohlrabi, start seeds March 1-April 1 and transplant April 15-May 15, with successive garden planting from April 10 through July 20th.
  • Broccoli, start seeds  March 10 to 25th and transplant from April 15 to May 10
  • Lettuce, start seeds March 15-May 10, (needs light to germinate), and transplant April 10-May 10 with successive garden planting from April 10-May 10
  • Cauliflower, start seeds March 25-April 5, transplant May 1-June 25  ** if sowing directly plant in garden mid April
  • Chinese cabbage (Bok Choy) start seeds March 10 and transplant April 25, and for a fall crop plant seeds directly through June
  • Head Lettuce, start seeds March 1-April 5, and transplant April 15-June 10
  • Brussels sprouts, start seeds June 1-30 and transplant July 1-15
  • Beets, start seeds April 1-June 15 and transplant from May 1-July 15
  • Parsley, start seeds March 15-April 30 and transplant from May 10 though June 15

SCHEDULE FOR OUR TENDER VEGETABLES – Warm-Season

  • Snap Beans, sow directly in the garden after May 15, and plant every two weeks until July 15
  • Sweet Corn, sow directly outdoors April 15-May 30
  • New Zealand Spinach (Hot weather Spinach substitute), sow directly in the garden mid to late May
  • Basil – warm season green leafed herb, start indoors mid April, transplant the first week in June
  • Tomato, start seeds indoors in peat pots first week in April and transplant the first week in June. 

SCHEDULE FOR YOUR WARM LOVING HERBS AND VEGETABLES

  • Lima Bean, sow directly in the garden May 25 and plant every two weeks until  mid July
  • Cucumber, start seeds in peat pots April 25 and transplant May 25, or sow directly in the garden May 15-30
  • Eggplants, super heat lovers, start seeds April 5-20 and transplant May 20-June 10
  • Gourds, start seeds indoors in peat pots May 10 and transplant May 25-June 5  or sow directly in the Garden  from May 25 to June 1
  • Muskmelon, start seeds indoors April 25-May 5 and transplant May 20-June 15
    or sow seeds directly in the garden May 25- June 1
  • Okra, starts seeds indoors May 1 and transplant to the garden after May 30, for a fall crop sow seeds directly in the garden from June 25 to July 5
  • Pepper, start indoors from end of March to Mid April and transplant from May 20 to June 10
  • Sweet Potato, (Slips) sow directly in the garden May 25
  • Pumpkin, start seeds in peat pots mid April and transplant  May 25, or sow directly in the garden late May.
  • Squash, (Summer or Winter),start seeds indoors  April 30 and transplant after May 25, or sow seeds directly in the garden May 1-Jun 5
  • Watermelon, start seeds indoors in peat pots  April 25-May 5 and transplant in the garden May 20-Jun 15, or plant directly in the garden by June 1. 

Here’s a handy map to help you find your zone.

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Here’s a quick view of the USDA Zone Map

You can search your local Master Gardener’s website for greater detail on fruits, veggies and herbs that suit your Zone the best.  Keep in mind that a cool weather veggie will stay a cool weather veggie no matter where you live. Eggplants, peppers, Basil and Tomatoes are always going to need heat and Spinach, Arugula and Cilantro do not like heat. Nothing will change that. The only difference will be how long it is hot or cold in your Zone and your Master Gardener Extension program can help answer those questions specific to your region. Ours is http://urbanext.illinois.edu/veggies. Every state and Canada has extension programs, and they’re always staffed with happy people because gardeners are Zen 🙂

Author: Laurine M. Byrne

I received my certification as a Landscape Designer from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois and I received my horticulture education through classes at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois and through the master gardener program at Univ of Illinois Extension. In my designs, I love mixing veggies and herbs with native perennials and flowering bushes as you can see from the pictures of my own yard. I love creating gardens for people who like to garden, not just installing traditional landscaping, but actually creating gardens that the homeowner connects to personally. I love that my clients who thought they couldn't grow anything now have green thumbs, because all it takes is the right plant in the right site. And I really love that my clients become my friends in the process of creating their gardens.

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