|Internet Photo from http://renaissancefarms.org|
My best recommendation is to rely on your past planting experiences, or your expert garden neighbor's recommendation. Check the long-range weather forecasts but cross your fingers for accuracy. The last two Junes ('13 & '14) are recent reminders that a good offense - later planting, and a well-planned defense - cloches, row covers, sheets etc. is the best bet to get your garden in.
|Internet Photo from http://www.growtolearn.org/|
The warm-season window is anywhere from mid-May to the first of July and includes herbs like basil, vegetables - tomatoes, peppers, squash and corn, plus annuals - petunias, marigolds, sunflowers and cosmos. Hardy perennials, shrubs and trees can be planted during this time as well and all the way to early fall. The exception is to try to avoid planting when temperatures are extremely warm. It can be done, but pay close attention to watering and providing some shade. Mid-summer is when the third season planting window begins - mostly cool-season vegetables that mature in sixty days or less and warm-season crops that also have a shorter maturity date like summer squash, okra and basil.
Knowing about last spring frost dates and planting windows will help you plan your schedule for seed purchases (don't delay much longer) and indoor seeding for planting during the correct window - cool or warm-season. The timing and planting information on seed packets vary per company. Some mention soil temperatures or map zones as guides to direct seed outdoors, or a certain number of days from frost dates to start seeds indoors. Pay attention and familiarize yourself with the seed packet information. More - Garden Primer How to Read a Seed Packet. Some gardeners use a chart or graph to list when and what to seed indoors for later planting or when to direct seed outdoors. Click here for the vegetable planting chart I did on an earlier blog Vegetable Planting Chart.
An excellent resource for climate summaries in Colorado that may also help you plan - Colorado Average Frost Dates and Length of Growing Season
Vegetable seeds that you need to get started soon (indoors) for early transplanting out in March to April include - broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, parsnips, onions and celery. Tunnels or cold frames are recommended for early planting when freezes and frosts are the norm. Also check out Niki Jabbour's blog on how to seed, then plant 'imperial star' artichoke in our cold northern climate for harvest in one growing season - Direct Seed 'Imperial Star' artichoke.
Keep in mind that if you miss the window to start your seeds indoors, you can always purchase cool-season transplants at garden centers starting in late winter into spring, and later in the spring for warm-season plants. Warm-season seeds are generally started indoors in April for late May transplanting.
Now for my Mom*
My mother Madylene is known as "Dickie" to her friends and sister - my Aunt Jo, her only remaining sibling. Why the unusual sobriquet you ask? That comes from her father Sherman who gave his ten children nicknames. Pauline was "Pat," Irene was "Kelly," Florence, the oldest was called "Sister," and Martha was "Hibbie." My Uncle "Tummy's" given name was Sherman. Martin, who died at age seven, was called "Buddy." I wish I could have known my grandfather, but he died a year before I was born. Sherman and Emma hailed from the Lee County Iowa area and moved to eastern Montana a little over one hundred years ago.
|Emma and Sherman Beall 50th Wedding anniversary 1955|
My Mom is a lifelong gardener, as were her parents, siblings and relatives on my Dad's side of the family. My first cousin, and his son still work and live on a ranch forty-miles east of Billings in a small community named Rapelje, MT. I am sure there is scientific research somewhere that proves a gardening gene exists, if not there should be.
|My Mom and sister Lee, in front of compromised junipers from the November '14 freeze|
Happy Birthday Mom! You've been a great influence on my love of gardening today!