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When to Plant What: Handy Charts for Garden Planning

5/5/2014 3:48:00 PM

Tags: garden planning, when to plant, spring, Kansas, Toby Grotz

There came a killing frost....

So how’s your garden growing? Around here it’s still early, early but we always jump the gun and get out there to plant hoping the weather won’t turn cold, which it did. We lost some 4” tall Basil transplants due to a late season walk about by old Jack Frost. It starts out warm, then gets cool, which is why the tomatoes I buy in April at the Farmer’s Expo here in Kansas City just sit in the ground for a month and don’t start to grow until mid May but I don’t ever seem to learn that lesson.

So when will you be safe to plant without a frost? There is a great tool at Dave’s Garden that allows you to enter zip code and voila, for my area a chart like this pops out:

 

The chart above indicates that on March 24th there is a 90% chance of a frost but by April 21st there is only a 10% chance of frost.

As discussed previously, Plant Hardiness Zones and Soil Temperature Measurement give us a way to determine when to plant what. Below are two tables listing minimum, maximum, and optimum soil temperatures for a variety of vegetables sorted both alphabetically and by temperature.

Soil Temperatures for Seed Germination

Alphabetical Listing of Minimum, Optimum and Maximum

Vegetable

Min (°F)

Optimum Range (°F)

Optimum (°F)

Max (°F)

Asparagus

50

60-85

75

95

Bean

60

60-85

80

95

Bean, Lima

60

65-85

85

85

Beet

40

50-85

85

85

Cabbage

40

45-95

85

100

Carrot

40

45-85

80

95

Cauliflower

40

45-85

80

100

Celery

40

60-70

70

85

Chard, Swiss

40

50-85

85

95

Corn

50

60-95

95

105

Cucumber

60

60-95

95

105

Eggplant

60

75-90

85

95

Lettuce

35

40-80

75

85

Muskmelon

60

75-95

90

100

Okra

60

70-95

95

105

Onion

35

50-95

75

95

Parsley

40

50-95

75

90

Parsnip

35

50-85

65

85

Pea

40

40-75

75

85

Pepper

60

65-95

85

95

Pumpkin

60

70-90

90

100

Radish

40

45-90

85

95

Spinach

35

45-75

70

85

Squash

60

70-95

95

100

Tomato

50

70-95

85

95

Turnip

40

60-105

85

105

Watermelon

60

70-95

95

105

 

Optimum Soil Temperatures for Seed Germination

Vegetable

Min (°F)

Optimum Range (°F)

Optimum (°F)

Max (°F)

Parsnip

35

50-85

65

85

Celery

40

60-70

70

85

Spinach

35

45-75

70

85

Asparagus

50

60-85

75

95

Lettuce

35

40-80

75

85

Onion

35

50-95

75

95

Parsley

40

50-95

75

90

Pea

40

40-75

75

85

Bean

60

60-85

80

95

Carrot

40

45-85

80

95

Cauliflower

40

45-85

80

100

Bean, Lima

60

65-85

85

85

Beet

40

50-85

85

85

Cabbage

40

45-95

85

100

Chard, Swiss

40

50-85

85

95

Eggplant

60

75-90

85

95

Pepper

60

65-95

85

95

Radish

40

45-90

85

95

Tomato

50

70-95

85

95

Turnip

40

60-105

85

105

Muskmelon

60

75-95

90

100

Pumpkin

60

70-90

90

100

Corn

50

60-95

95

105

Cucumber

60

60-95

95

105

Okra

60

70-95

95

105

Squash

60

70-95

95

100

Watermelon

60

70-95

95

105


Vegetable Garden Calendar: When to Plant (Kansas Region)

There is a great Vegetable Garden Planting Guide published by Kansas State University available on the KSU website. One of the things I like about this chart is that it reminds us that we get to plant in mid to late summer for fall crops. Check out Sweet Potato planting dates for instance.

These dates are specific for Kansas, but our climate zones make a wide swath across the country from New England down to Kansas, across to Colorado, up into Utah, Nevada, Oregon and Washington as shown on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

Keep these charts and references handy you’ll need then next year and pass them on to others who may also have the same questions I hear every year, “When is the best time to plant my [fill in the blank] seeds” and “When is the last frost”.

Happy gardening.

Sources

Vegetable Garden Planting Guide, Kansas State University

Soil Temperature Conditions for Vegetable Seed Germination, Alabama A&M



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