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Early Season Gardening:Growing a Lot in a Small Space Chuck Marr Horticulture Kansas State Univ.
Peas Onions Lettuce Cabbage Broccoli Potatoes Beets Carrots Tomatoes Peppers Beans Sweetcorn Melons Cucumbers Pumpkins Eggplant Cool vs Warm Season Crops
Peas Onions Cabbage Broccoli Radish Spinach Romaine Lettuce Cauliflower Beets Carrots Potato Lettuce Cool Season Vegetables Very Hardy Hardy or Half-Hardy All grow best in cool weather. Very hardy will withstand severe freezes and germinate/establish roots under lower temperatures
Is it too early to plant a garden now? • 50% chance of 28 F is April 9 • 50 % chance of 24 F on March 31 • 50 % chance of 20 F on March 19 Newly emerging cool season seeds/plants 28 F Developed cool season plants 24 F Very hardy cool season plants 20 F
Seedlings will not emerge immediately. It will take several weeks before plants start to develop from seeds.
Use soil temperatures as a gauge when to start! Cool Season 45 F Warm Season 55F Very Warm Season 60F 2-3"depth late morning
Critical soil temperatures: Below ‘threshold temperatures' 45 F for cool season or 55 F for warm season Seeds: Seeds will not germinate or germinate very slowly. Cool season seeds will ‘sit there' until temperature warms, warm season seeds may rot! Plants: Plants will not establish roots, start to grow, or (in some cases) not absorb water or nutrients. Cool season plants will ‘sit there' while warm season crops may deteriorate.
Soil temperature is consistent (stable for 3-4 days) Take soil temperature 2-3 inches deep about 10-11 AM Sandy soil warms up quicker than clay but sandy soil loses warmth more quickly in cool conditions Wet soil warms up slower than dry soil but holds heat better Microclimate (location around the home makes a difference)-slope, protected by fences, location around home or exposure
Growing Season 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 WARM COOL COOL 3rd to 4th week of June 2nd weed of August March April May June July August September October November
Growing Season 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 WARM COOL COOL March April May June July August September October November
Asparagus Early (early to mid April), perennial, and requires little care. Needs full sun, well drained location.
Many new hybrid varieties. More productive and will stand taller in hot weather(California cvs) California 157 Atlas, Apollo Jersey Knight Jersey Supreme Jersey King Jersey Giant
Purple Passion Purple in cool, early season Large spears Mild, sweet flavor Not as productive as green varieties. More purple in early spring.
Rhubarb: Also perennial. Later in season. Needs well drained, sunny location.
Peas • Can plant very early. Germinate well in cold soil • Garden Peas • Snow Peas (Sugar Pod Peas) • Snap Peas (Sugar Snap Peas) Double row about 6 inches apart so the vines can support each other.
Onions Onion sets or onion plants Plant early and water/fertilize well to encourage a lot of spring growth Plant thick and pull some for salad onioins
Irish Potatoes Cut seed 8-10 seed pieces per lb or 1 ½ to 2 oz in size. Sprout (root and shoot) develops from bud or eye in potato piece.
Cole Crops Cabbage Broccoli Chinese Cabbage Cauliflower Collards Kale
Select varieties that are moderately early but not too early for dense, tight heads but still will develop before hot weather gets here.
Specialty cabbage: Red varieties Savoy types
Broccoli Green Comet Packman early (55-60 day maturing varieties)
Bibb (most popular variety Buttercrunch) is a semi-heading lettuce. Very tender and mild.
Romaine or Cos Lettuce. Upright, semi-heading with a somewhat stronger texture and flavor. Good to mix with other lettuces
Crisphead lettuce (often called Iceberg) takes a long season. Best to start from plants and transplant early. Hope for a long, cool spring.
Mesculun A mixture of greens crops that can be used as salad greens in early spring or fall.
Spinach can be planted in the fall or spring. Fall planted spinach bolts very quickly
Don’t Forget the Fall Season for Planting a Second Crop Cabbage/Broccoli, Potatoes Mid July Beets Carrots Late July Beans Late July Head/Buttercrunc Lettuce Early August Leaf Lettuce and Radishes Mid August Spinach Mid August
www.oznet.ksu.edu/horticulture • Kansas Garden Guide (Order only) • Vegetable Garden Planting Guide • Horticulture ‘Tip Sheets’- Vegetables • Search publications on various vegetable topics
Kansas State Research & Extension “Knowledge for Life”