We are all such busy people these days that we “need” desk calendars, wall calendars, pocket calendars, and of course the ever-present electronic calendars on our computers, tablets and phones, plus text and email reminders. Why are all these necessary? Well, if something happens to your phone, all data is lost unless you have a written record; if something happens to your written records like spilling coffee on them, they go too! If you accidently turn the sound down on your phone, you don’t hear it. So we have to have backups to our backups – the dream of the paperless society is not thriving!
So what does all this have to do with Garden Clubs? Apart from the obvious reminders of meetings and events, one of the most important things to remember at this time of year is planting dates based on average last frost in our area.
Average last frost in the Brazos Valley is about March 2nd. Considering our average first frost is about November 30th, we are lucky to not have a long cold winter; in fact as you know, sometimes we don’t even have a winter!
Ten weeks prior to the average last frost is the time to start indoor seeding of Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Eggplant, Lettuce, Peppers and Onions. So for the 2017 harvest, this would be December 22nd.
Eight weeks prior would be time to sow tomatoes indoors, and Spinach out in the garden. This would be about January 5th. If you don’t have much space to garden try planting “determinate” varieties of tomatoes in containers. “Determinate” means that the plants are not as large and sprawling, they are commonly called Bush Tomatoes because they are bred to grow to a compact height, around 4 feet. They stop growing when the buds set fruit on the top or terminal shoots, tend to ripen all their fruit at about the same time, usually over a two week period, and then die. Read the seed packets for number of days to maturity in order to plan a harvest over a longer period of time.
Five weeks prior to last frost is the time to transplant those Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower and onions seeded in December. This would be about January 27th. Also on this date Peas can be sown directly in the garden.
At four weeks, February 2nd, Cantaloupe, Cucumbers, Okra, Pumpkins, Squash and Watermelon seeds can be sown inside., and at three weeks, February 9th, Brussels Sprouts can be transplanted and Carrots sown outdoors.
The week of March 2nd, all the following can be planted outdoors: Pole Beans, transplants of Cantaloupe, eggplants, lettuce, okra, peppers, pumpkin, squash, tomatoes and watermelon.
Many of the above can be grown successfully in containers. Be sure to check the catalogs and seed packets for mature height and spread as well as days to maturity. On these cold and dreary days what could be better than sitting in front of the fire browsing seed catalogs and dreaming of harvest time!