What can I still plant?

by - June 21, 2012

The end of June is just around the corner and you are wondering if it is too late to plant. This depends on where you live. If you live in the Northwest, your season is just getting started. If you live in the Southeast, your growing season is well underway and will just keep on going. Here in downtown Raleigh, NC, I use the weather station "Raleigh NCSU" to determine the length of my growing season. The average first frost is November 5, with a standard deviation of 13 days. I feel fairly comfortable considering my conservative first frost date to be October 23.

Counting back from October 23, there are 124 days left until the first frost. Therefore, nearly anything that takes less days than that to grow and produce harvest and is known to grow well in my region is reasonable to plant. Most summer seed packets (those crops that do not tolerate frost) will specify when you can start sowing and how many days before the first frost it can still be sown. Those plants that like cooler weather typically have a late spring cutoff and then a late summer second plant date. If you try to plant those in the heat of the summer, the sprouts will likely wither. I've found some lettuce mixes this year that state they can be sown all summer long.... results yet to come as many of the sprouts are choking off in the heat or then the very top of the soil crusts over. I must remember to mist seed beds every morning and afternoon!

So, there is plenty you may still plant. Some can be planted now, and some are best waiting on until mid July/ mid August.

Midsummer Planting:

Snap beans: 50-55 days
Pole beans: 65-70 days
Tomato and Pepper transplants: 75-85 days
Okra: 60-70 days
Basil: until July
Corn: until July, ~85 days

Fall Planting (planting starts in July or August depending on the season length):
Mesclun Mixes: ~ 40 days
Lettuces: ~ 70 days
Carrots and root crops: 65-96 days
Kale*: 40-50 days.

*Kale is a biennial and will survive our winters here in Raleigh. This past winter was so mild, I had carrots and some lettuces overwinter. I start my onions and garlic in September.

Here are some other little secrets of mine.
As lettuce and herbs go to seed, I pinch off seed heads and rescatter them, no matter the timing of the season. Those that survive will be enjoyed in the fall. Some will even overwinter if the conditions are right. As plants die, I fill in the garden gaps with more beans. My lettuce beds are done and have been replaced by a variety of beans, which I will keep planting every one to two weeks. Because during the peak of summer is difficult to get seeds to germinate, I just give it a rest and enjoy eating the tomatoes.

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  1. I don't think I can't plant anymore now till at least mid September. I will try the beans though. I thought radishes would grow constantly, but the last couple of sowing's came to nothing. Probably to hot for them to germinate.

  2. we have found that regular mulching in the garden means I don't have to mist or even water my lettuce seeds. I mulch with double-shredded hardwood, lawn grass cuttings, newspaper, etc. the hardwood mulch absorbs so much water and breaks down so fast that among the smallest particles of mulch it's like an old growth forest's floor! but I do have only 6 hrs or so of sunlight, and I'm sure that contributes greatly to retained moisture :) lettuces right now are under chard and tomatoes and in a gutter.

  3. oh! and I forgot to mention, it's been hotter here than in NC, so I can't imagine the problem is heat for lettuce germination or success.



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