When to plant stuff

23 04 2012

So you don’t want to visit the library to get a garden book?  Well, I can tell you when i’ll be planting stuff outside. 

For Edmonton, our AVERAGE last frost date is May 7.  Our 90% last frost date is May Long weekend.  That is the reason why it’s so common to see people puttering about in the garden on a brilliant vacation day. 

But wait!  Why wait til then?  There are tonnes of seeds you can get into the garden far earlier than either of those dates.

Dill, garlic, shallots, leeks, peas, and onions are among the earliest seeds you can put in the ground.  In fact, I put garlic in last November.  It will be ready in later July.  Yum yum!  In my experience, spinach can get into the ground before all of those.  This year, about 2 weeks after I was able to fork the garden and not his any ice sheets, I planted the spinach (first week of April).  As it tends to have a very short growing season (my variety will bolt in about 60 days).  Once spinach is gone, it will be replaced by the delicious, feathery tall Florence Fennel.  I hope to be able to tell you about successional gardenning in July August.

I’m growing all the list but the shallots.  Everything but the dill is already in the ground.  I had saved dill seeds from last year…now I need to find them.  Somewhat unfortunately,  the leeks I planted transplants and needed some intense insulation last weekend.  They are small  BUT still green!!!

Root crops: It’s getting to be about time their time to hit the dirt.  We have seed potatoes, beets and radishes to huck in the ground.  But it looks like every root crop can go in (not counting peanuts or sweet potatoes).

Lettuce seeds can be planted in the garden now.  I have transplants for the garden so i’m just going to wait a couple weeks and put those out.

I do want to say that I’m a bit of a risk taker and i’m prepared to emergency mulch AND create a few little cloches for seedlings  that go in at the same time root crops (broccohli, cabbage, swiss chard.  Cloches are little enclosers you can put over plants to protect them from frosts.  I’ll be using milk jugs with the bottom cut out as emergency cloches. 

Incidentally, I get my actual frost free dates, and huge swaths of any garden information on this blog, from the book “The Organic Home Garden” by Patrick Lima.  I have read MANY gardenning books ffrom the library and this book has stood hands above for its  mixture of information, ease of reading and great gardenning ideas.  I have checked it out of our local library several times…then just figured I’d buy it.  I’d encourage you to do the same.  There are quite a few books out there that COULD be a great book for you, but there is also one that will be perfect.

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