originally published April 1
Door County is considered zone 5a.
That translates to May 16 as the last frost free date. Data is collected over a 7 year period and then averaged to arrive at the frost free dates for each zone..
If you go to the National weather bureau site, and look up your zip code, you will discover that on an average, there is still a 20% chance of frost by May23. My garden suffered a hard frost in 2019, killing all my Tomatoes and Peppers, coleus and various other delicate annuals I planted Memorial weekend. Therefore, for me, and this series, I am setting the last frost free date for May 31. When I start counting back the timetable for planting, it will be based on May 31 as the frost free date.
This is week 9. Nine weeks before the last frost free date and a perfect time to consider planting any cold crops and begin with indoor seeds.
50 degrees breaks dormancy, so ideally the soil temperature should be 50 degrees for outside planting. That doesn’t mean peas cannot be planted in 38 – 40 degree soil temperatures, they will just take longer to germinate.
Most annuals require the soil to be an optimal temperature of 70 – 75 degrees. Vegetables are in that category as annuals.
So why again do we want to start seeds indoors?
originally published March 30
Why seeds you ask? Cost, variety and satisfaction.
For me, I like the challenge of growing from seed and maybe more than that I am a dreamer.
Every morning, I sit with coffee, phone or computer and read at least 4 garden blogs and as many cooking blogs.
I download tons of recipes that I imagine I’m going to prepare and I notate new and different plants I think I must have either for ornament or for using in a recipe.
Maybe that is why, when I finally inventoried and charted my seed collection I discovered I have 16 different varieties of bean seeds! I don’t even eat beans that much!
I order seeds from John Scheepers and Park the most. I like Baker Creek for their pictures. Botanical Interest has really good and informative blogs. Johnny’s has good information and a wonderful catalogue but shipping is expensive. I usually wait to order seeds until one of the companies offer free shipping or a discount. Don’t count on it now! They are busier now then they have been in decades! However, with the Door County Seed Library, the variety of offerings is amazing and once you sign up as a member you can check out seeds to plant for free! We hope the libraries will be opening soon, but I suspect the charitable nature of the seed library has a plan in mind to overcome the current obstacle of distribution.
Next post I will discuss optimal growing conditions and how to set up a growing station.
Before I do, do you know Door County’s Frost free date?
have you started counting the weeks before to chart your seeds? What different seeds do you plan to start this year?
originally published March 29
I love to garden! But what I love more is finding new and exciting plants! I am one of those crazy people who cannot pass a garden center without stopping. You would have thought that after 30 odd years of gardening and planting that I would have caught the seed bug. I did not. Interesting since seeds provide variety that no garden center can compete with.
I was certified as a U of I Extension Master Gardener in Chicago, I founded a community garden and grants organization, participated in gorilla gardening of neglected public spaces, spent 2 days a month freelancing as a private garden landscaper, and held a full time job. Seeds? No time.
I began seed-starting in earnest when I completed the UW Extension certification and became a Door County Master Gardener. When I agreed to chair the Door County Master Gardener’s plant sale, l inherited the greenhouse seed-starting part of the sale too.
Demystifying the seed starting and growing process took hours of research that resulted in becoming a passion I never knew I had. Watching a tiny seed grow into a 6ft high tomato plant heavy with fruit never ceases to amaze me just as walking in the greenhouse at the height of our growing period and see the explosion of plant life after one week of sunny days and warmer temperatures. Seeds provide hope, anticipation, and wonder.
While I’m not part of the DCMGA plant sale and greenhouse anymore, I have not lost my seed starting passion and look forward to this new gardening adventure and challenge of planning and growing at home.
Join me, on this Facebook page over the next few weeks on my journey of starting seeds for my vegetable and cutting gardens.
Let’s get growing together!