10 Weeks of Vegetable Gardening: Week 7

by - March 11, 2011

Each Friday I am posting a weekly guide for prepping your home vegetable garden. In Raleigh, the last killing frost date is April 11 (on average, give or take a week), so my first weekend for planting (summer crops) outdoors is April 9

We impulsively go to Lowes on the weekends. We just can't hold ourselves back. Even Scooby requests it, always hoping for a turn on the riding mowers. This week I found myself stopping at Walmart, Burkes Brothers, and Logan's. That's right, THREE places. I picked up some lovely saxifraga (pink-flowered evergreen ground cover), sweet mint, lemon thyme, and some Italian climbing summer squash seeds. What caught me off guard was that some stores were selling tomato plants, and it is still several weeks before the last killing frost.

Two summers ago, I started planting outdoors fairly early, several weeks before my neighbors. You'd better believe I was checking the forecast. Once, I had every bed linen that wasn't on our bed covering veggie plants at night. I made a tarp tent for my peas. Silly me, I didn't know that peas don't need tents and peppers really shouldn't be planted that early (which probably explains the pillar of peppers failure).

From what I've read, there are plants such as tomatoes that may be planted early (although protected from frost). As the temperature drops, they may start to droop, but fruit production won't be impacted later in the summer. Other plants such as peppers, may look completely unaffected by the cold but produce very disappointing peppers later. Peas, broccoli, lettuces are fairly hardy and can handle a little frost in the early spring.

So if you are very eager to plant a tomato bush, go for it, but don't blame me if we get a late spring blizzard. All my sprouts are staying warm in the hot box still. I did accidentally leave it open one night and lost two cucumber sprouts, but I'm crossing my fingers that everything else is okay.

By the way, I counted and I recounted my weeks, and I still had it off on the planting date and counting back 10 weeks. So if you feel behind, don't worry. My neighbor always plants on Good Friday. I'll probably be planting two weeks before on the 9th.

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  1. I am really excited that the last killing frost date is my birthday. Somehow that seems really ominous, even though it's not.



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