Wednesday, February 22, 2012

When To Plant ?

Recently I received this comment from Michelle and wanted to share my experience with her.

Michelle says:

You're in Missouri, right? I am. I am trying really hard to be more deliberate about the garden this year. I want to get my plants in the ground on time. I am thinking it's about time to plant peas, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower. Is this correct? Is there anything I'm missing? Onions? It would be so great to have a chart that tells everything to plant in each zone including time frames! You don't know of one, do you?

Michelle the answer to your question is yes I am in Northern Missouri about an hour from the Iowa line. I garden in zone 5A. I understand you wanting to get things in on time and can relate. When I first moved here to Missouri from Louisiana that was the hardest thing for me to learn was when to plant. I had always gardened but never where it snowed or temperatures were this low. I had so much to learn. I can say since you are in Missouri that you are probably also in zone 5. Now is the time to have started your cool weather crops from seeds. This includes cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale and onions. Right now I have small onions that I started from seeds in trays. I also have my  cabbage and broccoli seeds started. The onions  will continue to grow for at the least 3 more weeks and may be ready by St. Patrick's Day which is the middle of March. Many people in my area actually plant their leaf lettuce now by throwing the seeds in the snow. As the snow melts the seeds go into the soil and germinate. My neighbor has lettuce up.

Broccoli plants ready to go into garden

Peas may be planted as soon as you can get into your garden. They are forecasting a possibility of snow flurries next week so I will wait until at least after that.   The reason for planting cool weather crops early is to allow them time to fully develop before the hot weather gets here. Once it turns hot your cool weather crops want to bolt and go to seed. Once the weather gets hot your peas will get hard quickly and not be as sweet. Your lettuce will turn bitter. All of these crops will germinate and grow under cooler conditions some even tolerating light frost. As the weather continues to improve within the next several weeks you will be able to start planting your peas, mustard, spinach and leaf lettuce seed directly into your garden soil. Also potatoes and onion bulbs or sets can be planted the same time as potatoes which is mid March.

This is my cool weather garden from last year. In the row closest to you there is mustard and lettuce. The next row is broccoli. The next row with the fence is sweet peas. The next several rows are potatoes with onions growing beyond the potatoes. 

Again the same cool weather garden with a different view of the potatoes. As you can see we are just starting to pull dirt around them or hill them. The row of onions and another later row of sweet peas. Again staggering plantings to prolong the harvest. Beyond the peas growing on rings is a row of cabbage. This view is probably mid to late April.  

By the beginning of March I will start my tomato and pepper seeds inside.

There also is a website that can help you with planting schedules. You simply put in your zip code and it will give you planting times for your area. It is called sprout robot. I have never used it but you may want to take a look at it. It is free. 

Just remember there are lots of variables that effect planting schedules such as weather conditions, soil types and also vegetable varieties. Some require a longer growing season to maturity than others. As you continue to garden through the years you will get better at knowing when to plant what.   

Hope this helps!

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter



  1. Very educational post, CQ. :-)
    How far apart are your rows? I had read somewhere that potatoes and onions could not be planted near each other, but yours are obviously doing wonderfully!

    Thank you so much for expanding on your last post. :)

    1. Wide enough for my tiller to get through which is 3 foot. I am considering experimenting with a no till method this year to be able to plant closer and not till though.

    2. I've read about the no till gardens. Some people like them a lot. I look forward to seeing how it goes for you. :)

  2. Can't wait for spring. Your garden is beautiful

  3. Oh, wow! This post is so helpful!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to write and illustrate all this! We are still having freezing temps. Last night it got down to 26, I believe. Should I wait until we are at or above freezing for night time temps?

    You just showed me why my potato crop didn't fare all that well. I didn't know how to hill them! I had heard of doing that, but didn't know how. So... do you just keep pulling the soil up around them like that and keep it where only that much plant is above ground all season long?

    Do you use grow lights and warming mats for your seeds that you start indoors? I tried starting from seeds a couple years ago, but the plants were stunted and pitiful; never bearing fruit (I assume) because I didn't have those things. If you do have warming mats and grow lights, do you use them on all the plants, or just certain ones?

    On the onions you planted in the trays, are they for bulb onions that you will store all year? I assume that you direct sow the ones you want to eat green, right?

    You're my new hero! :-D


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