Placing seeds in the ground should be done when the ground has warmed up to temperatures of 60 degrees or above. Peas and spinach are the exception; they will germinate at 50 degrees. (Don't forget the old farmer's adage that peas should be planted by Patriot's Day!) I place an old outside thermometer in the ground about 3 inches deep into the soil. When it's ready, I plant. If you use weed block over the soil, the soil will warm up much faster and it will keep weeds out all season long. Great advice about the weed block!
|Many Great Tasting Vegetables Can Be Grown from Direct Seeding in the Ground!|
Your soil should be prepared before planting with good organic matter--we can help you with that right here at Skillin's! If your soil is heavy, be sure to add liquid gypsum to break up the clay soil and add lime if your soil is acidic. Powered lime can be applied in the fall, but if you want a better garden and forgot to lime last fall, use Jonathan Green Mag-I-Cal because it will change the acidity in just 7 to 10 days. Most vegetables want a pH between 6 and 7 reading for better growth and to help make the fertilizer you apply work better.
If the weather is wet and air temperatures cold, hold off and plant your seeds a week later. Wet soil will rot the seeds and germination will be erratic with many misses in the row. If the weather pattern persists, plant your seeds closer together and thin the rows later as they develop. Spacing is very important with root crops and thinning the rows will help them produce more vegetables and better quality.
When planting in rows, I always cut a shallow trench with my garden hoe to plant seed into. This helps to keep the rows straight; you can see where they are planted, making it easier to water before and after they germinate and become visible. Use the soil on each side of the row to cover the seed and be sure to mark the front and back of the row so you will know what you planted there.
I always add Soil-Moist and fertilizer (I recommend all natural Garden Tone by Espoma for a vegetable fertilizer) to this trench before planting and mix well. Blend the soil to a depth of 2 to 3 inches, as soft soil will encourage quick root development. Potatoes need to be planted in a trench 6 inches deep and just as wide to help young tubers to develop in soft soil. Fill in the trench slowly as the shoots begin to grow until the ground is level.
Water the garden daily, and keep the soil moist during the seed germination period. Side dress plants growing in the trench with a granular fertilizer; apply on both sides of the planting row 3 weeks after foliage forms in the trench. Keep notes and enjoy the season.
Thanks to Paul Parent!
April 1, 2011