What is best time to start planting tomatoes, zucchini, etc?

onno(New York)April 27, 2008

I know that last frost date does not mean best planting time. Does anyone have experience with warming up the soil through row covers, etc? or dates when its best to plant what. I usually wait till end of may, but some of my seedlings appear to be ready early. I'm up on the hill in Marlborough

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Wait until Memorial day. I'm not far from you. You're just south of me. I'm in Poughkeepsie.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2008 at 4:16PM
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onno(New York)

Because the soil has not warmed up enough? I thought global working would make a difference.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 12:14AM
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corapegia(z5 NY)

I planted tomatoes on May 1 back about 20 years ago, covered them with gallon jugs with bottom cut out (cloche)
and it snowed on May 7 that year. I don't remember getting tomatoes that much earlier. I think you could try squash and tomatoes around the middle of May. Eggplant and peppers seems more fussy about the temp. I did use a large sheet of acrilic over a part of one bed to jump start some radish and lettuce seeds and it seems to have given an earlier start. Just save some seed in case you get frosted. Possible freeze in a day or two now.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 8:41AM
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makalu_gw(z5b NY)

Using raised beds and black plastic to get the soil warm, I've gotten tomatoes in the ground as early as May 7th with decent results. The thing is, early in the ground doesn't always translate into early tomatoes since tomatoes use soil temperature as well as air temps to get going and without the soil being consistently warm, they just sit there. Also, we seem to get a couple of really cold clear nights around the full moon of each year and that requires a bunch of wall-o-waters or milk jugs to protect the plants or they freeze.

I guess you have a choice as to which is better - potting up / taking a chance that the plants will become root bound or planting soon with some black plastic and maybe having to use row covers and other methods to deal with a late frost. As for me, I normally plant whatever weekend is after the 15th of May but I may try to plant 1 of a couple of varieties this weekend and the others nearer the end of the month and check to see whether there's a difference in a month. I'm up on a hill in New Paltz and agree with tommyr that Memorial Day is safest.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 8:53AM
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onno(New York)

I started hot peppers early, about 12 different kinds, and they should be started early if you want them to reach color before the end of the season, I was silly enough to also start zucchini and 6 different kinds of heirloom tomatoes, which by now are outgrowing their pots. Needless to say, I want the warmer weather now, though I have seen that it will go down to almost freezing in a day or two.

On another note, does anyone know where to get red plastic? I've heard that this is desirable for Tomatoes. Has anyone experimented? How about with black plastic to increase the heat absorption of the soil? (and keep the weeks down?)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 10:02AM
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blackcat333(z6 NY)

I usually winter sow my tomatoes outdoors in 2 liter containers around March and get the seedlings in the ground in May. I try to put out squash like zucchini after June 1 because I think the squash vine borers have already laid eggs by that time so the zucchini are safe. Those bugs are really disgusting! And they can ruin your whole crop pretty fast.

Try Adams for the red plastic. I know I've seen it in catalogs, but it's probably cheaper in the store.

Here is a link that might be useful: Adams

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 4:33PM
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corapegia(z5 NY)

red plastic mulch is available at Pine Tree Seeds in various lengths. I've never seen it at Adams but they do have a bit more this year so maybe they're catching up.
Just a note, remember to buy any seeds you will need for the season NOW. I was reminded of this thinking of the way Adams tosses every seed packet left into bushel baskets making it impossible to find what you want as soon as they go on to the next season. Holloween and Christmas start in late August, so if you want to plant a late crop of lettuce or other cold crops, plan ahead.

Here is a link that might be useful: super seeds/pine tree

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 10:22AM
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candyinpok(5b or 6, NY)

I read on the national weather service that they're moving up the date for the growing season to start to May 2nd instead of 12th because of the unusually warm spring. Many of the fruit trees are in full flower. So today I see a frost warning for tonight and tomorrow night. I almost started planting this weekend and I'm glad I didn't, but are you really gonna wait until Memorial Day? Didn't we used to hear Mother's day for planting tomatoes, or am I confusing that with something else?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 6:10PM
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cccatcrazy(Z4 NY Catskills)

I'm in the "mountains" not far from Belleayre - a Zone 4 micro-climate, guaranteed frost free only from Memorial Day to Labor Day. I've learned to transplant tomatoes and peppers on June 1 (having already moved them to larger and larger pots, and having them harden-up from the safety of my deck -- spending the nights and windy days on the sunporch)and pop my squash seeds in the same day. I tuck bean seeds in about a week before that, since the ground is warm. I've learned in the last 20+ years that one just doesn't try to beat out Mother Nature -- she's a poor sport with a vengeful spirit!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 6:19PM
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onno(New York)

Last year I was kind of caught napping, - my seedlings somehow did not come up, and I was also too late for Adams -- all they had left were cucumbers, which we had a lot of last Summer. This year is different, I have a zucchini growing out of its third pot by now, with more than a month to go before the official planting time.That kind of got me anxious and I began wondering what to do. Is there a point at which the plants should be moved outside, as they are too large? Can their growth be stunted by being inside? I have noticed in the past that the plants do not do very much except survive if the weather is too cold when planted early.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 12:14AM
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I left my seed tray with some seedlings outside by accident last night. then i saw the posts about the frost. anyone know if the temp. was so bad (around Ellenville) that the beets & corn would've frozen? it's my first time w/seeds and i'm not sure how to tell if i need to start over again. any tips?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 9:49AM
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Glad I haven't put out the tomatoes, basil and peppers yet, it was 31 this morn...brrrr The brussels and collards should be ok, don't know how the lettuce and carrot sprouts reacted, hopefully I'll get home early enough to check.

This year I used 20 oz clear plastic drink cups as mini-greenhouses for the transplants I put out early in April...seems to have worked.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 2:28PM
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    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 11:34AM
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