My first real harvest of spring-planted veggies:
|Cilantro, Black-seeded Simpson lettuce, Purple Plum radishes PHOTO/Amy W.|
The garden hasn’t yielded much since January 1 — a last little bit of broccoli before the hard freezes, a few green onions, some carrots — so the lettuce, cilantro, and radishes that I harvested yesterday mark a turning point in the gardening year. They also made a great contribution to “taco night”!
As the spring crops mature to harvest stage, the planting for summer crops needs to begin. North Carolina State University has published a planting chart/calendar that includes soil temperatures to help us all work out the best order in which to plant our gardens. Gardeners who also have jobs, families, and other additional responsibilities don’t usually manage to get the garden planted all at once, and knowing which plants can do well in cooler soil temperatures can help gardeners decide what to plant first.
According to the chart, corn can be planted at soil temperatures as low as 50 degrees F, and so can pole beans, but squashes and tomatoes need a minimum soil temperature of 60 degrees F, peppers and cucumbers need 65 degrees F, and okra, melons, eggplants and Southern peas need a soil temperature of at least 70 degrees F to do their best.
For those of us in Cobb County who are planning to put seeds in the ground this coming weekend, taking a thermometer out to check on the soil temperature at a 4 inch depth at various points around the garden can help determine what to plant. In my yard, the soil temperature is approaching 60 degrees F, which means there is a lot I can plant now. It also means that I might need to replant those cucumber seeds that I put in the ground last week, when the soil temperature was a little lower.