I was SO excited to start my garden seeds last weekend! Then I pulled out my seed box to get my winter squashes going and discovered I had used up the last of several packets of seeds last year and forgotten about it. I thought I had more tomato seeds, more winter squash, more snap beans – but apparently not. So Neil and I made up a list of all the things we wanted to grow and trekked to the feed store (it’s not really a trek, it’s one of the closest stores to our house. But it felt like a trek for some reason)
Just as I was about to rip open the bag of soil and get started, I thought to check the calender one last time. The problem with northern VT is that our last frost dates are pretty far into what the rest of the world considers spring. I love the Freeze Climatology info put together by NOAA. They don’t just give you an average last frost date but explain the medians, percentiles, and extremes.
The earliest I’m supposed to start any of these seeds is 6 weeks before last frost. That means I’m not starting anything until April 9th. I made myself a timeline so I won’t forget, or try to get a head start again next weekend:
April 9th (6 weeks to last(hopefully!) frost):
Start cabbages, broccoli, marigolds
Start melons, indoor start flowers
April 23rd (4 weeks before last frost):
Start winter squashes, start tomatoes
Start cucumbers, summer squash
Move broccoli and cabbage seedlings to green house
Direct seed lettuce, spinach, chard (may not be needed, the ones in my cold frame look like they survived!)
Direct seed snap peas, spread wildflower seed? – assuming the weather’s cooperating…
May 14th (1 week before last frost):
start strawflowers, columbine inside
Direct seed bush beans, dry beans, sunflowers, snapdragons
Transplant most veggies and flowers
June 4th (2 weeks after last frost):
Direct seed sweet corn, edemame, basil
Why no, I don’t leave for the whole weekend very often in the spring, do I? May 21st will be the big weekend, the rest of these are fairly quick tasks. But as soon as all this $*(#&! snow melts we need to get started on preparing the front yard. We have to fix the giant (150 year old pine tree stump sized) divots so the land can be brush hogged once a year before we put the wildflower seed down. And I have plans for a fenced in front yard this year. I’m going to let the chickens free range wherever they want, and fence them OUT of the human areas so hopefully there will be less poop on the patio.
I’ll be putting the tomatoes outside every day the temps reach 65 or more, but I always bring them inside at night. I did this until the middle of June last year (putting them in bigger pots when needed) and oh boy did they TAKE OFF. Much better then trying to nurse them along outside in the cold.