24 February 2009

Garden Jitters

It's that time of year when gardeners begin to feel edgy. The long winter nights have finally turned as the days are noticeably longer. We begin to feel that the time is near to begin in the garden. Knowing that timing for planting is an essential key, the anxiety starts to build. For beginning gardeners, timing can seem like a daunting task. For experienced gardeners, timing can seem like a daunting task.

Hopefully the seeds have been ordered, and if they haven't already arrived, are soon to be in the mailbox. If seeds haven't been purchased, there is still a little time before the early spring crops go in the ground. When I first started gardening, I sat down after receiving my first seed order and worked out a chart as to when to plant. Then when I worked at Beardsley Farm under Sabrina DeVault, I benefited greatly from her years of farming experience.

I have compiled a chart of planting and starting dates for this area, Knoxville, Tennessee which is technically agricultural zone 6B, but in recent years, it has been more like 7A. If you are someplace else reading this and you don't know your zone, the Arbor Day Foundation can help. You will then need to adjust the dates for your zone. These dates are approximated. I encourage each gardener to keep a journal and find what works best for your area or yard.

Everything revolves around the last frost date which is around April 20 for THIS zone. This date is not written in stone. Plants that go in the ground before last frost shouldn't be effected, but it is especially important for transplants that may suffer severely if the temps drop too low while they are in the ground. Plants that are started indoors should be planted after last frost. You just have to keep a careful eye on the weather.

I have split the chart into two sections; direct and indirect sowing by date of activity. Direct sowing is when you put the seed directly in the ground. Indirect sowing is when you start the seed indoors (or in a greenhouse) before the last frost. If I haven't included something, that is because I don't grow it or haven't had much luck with it. The Chart is a Microsoft Word Excel Chart.


Hope this helps with the gardening jitters.

Thanks for reading.