Hard work, dedication and concern for others aren’t quaint concepts at Olde Tyme Farms. These principles helped the 20-acre chicken,…Read More
Winter in Ohio may not have a lot of outdoor opportunities for vegetable gardeners, but it is a great time to reflect on the past growing season and begin garden planning for the new year. The seed catalogs arrive, the days get a bit longer, and sometimes we even get a `warm’ day that sparks gardening inspiration. It may be tempting to scour the seed catalogs and begin ordering right away, but ensure your time and money are well spent on a successful garden. Plan ahead.
Create a planting schedule in accordance to soil temperature, not air temperature. Seeds require specific soil temperature in order to grow. You can find this information on many seed packages, in some seed catalogs and on the internet. Doing your homework is essential.
Germinating Temperatures for Commons Crops:
Note these are the lowest temperatures that seeds will germinate but warmer temperatures may yield better results.
- 35 degrees: Lettuce, onions, parsnips, and spinach
- 40-45 degrees: Beets, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, parsley, peas, radish, and turnips.
- 50 degrees Swiss chard
- 60 degrees Beans, cucumbers, pumpkins, squash (cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash prefer soil temperatures at 75F)
- 75 degrees: Tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, eggplant and okra grow best as transplant rather than from seed.
A good resource for soil temperatures at both 2 inches and 4 inches deep is the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Visit its website and click on the closest station to your garden to find out the weather, humidity levels and more.
Sketch a simple design for your garden to determine the number of crops you can grow, making sure you use your garden space to its fullest potential.
If growing in rows, decrease your path space. Growing plants in 3-feet wide rows will still allow you to tend to plants across the row from either side.
Use trellises or fence for vining crops to encourage upward growth, rather than letting them sprawl across the ground. Pole beans, peas, cucumbers, and Malabar spinach grow well using this method.
Be sure you aren’t planting crops too far apart. Plants grown closer together will help retain soil moisture, control weeds and provide shade. Just make sure to allow enough space for you to harvest the crop.
Extend your harvest by planting in intervals. Staggering your planting schedule will ensure that crops ripen at different times, rather than all at once. Creating a continuous harvest by planting a group of crops every two weeks will keep fresh fruits and vegetables on the dinner plate while avoiding an excess of produce.
A few crops that work well with succession planting include:
- Arugula, beets, lettuce, radish and turnips- 25 to 40 days to harvest
- Kohlrabi and spinach- 40 to 50 days
- Bush beans, broccoli, and cucumbers- 60 to 70 days, plant in four-week increments
- Cabbage and carrots- 70 + days
Keeping a garden journal is essential to successful garden planning. Keep everything in one place-a three-ring binder works well with an attached zippered pouch to hold small items like plant tags and empty seed packets for future reference. Include your garden planning calendar, garden design, and notes on crops that grew well and problems you encountered along the way. Track the dates of planting and harvesting, compost applications, etc. Next year, dig out your garden journal and you’ll be well on your way to planning for the upcoming season.
Save yourself the headache and heartache of an unsuccessful garden. Start planning now to use your garden space efficiently, to create a continuous, multi-season harvest, and to ensure your hard work is enjoyed.
Barbara Arnold is senior Horticulturist at Franklin Park Conservatory.
Having opportunities to attend leadership institutes, advocate for rural Ohioans on the state and national level, facilitate young ag professionals events, and serve in a variety of leadership positions have helped my skills grow exponentially.Growing our Generation
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.Business Solutions
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
I was gifted the great opportunity through an Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Youth Pathways grant to run a series of summer camps here. That really expanded my vision of what ‘grow, maintain, sustain and explain’ could actually be.Farming for Good
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.Leadership development
In real estate — and home gardening — one thing to remember is location, location, location. The ideal garden spot…Read More
As spring nears, the home gardening chore list grows faster than dandelions. What’s a gardener to do? Perhaps turn to…Read More
When Amy Stross decided to grow her own food, the Hamilton County Farm Bureau member leased space from a friend…Read More