When to plant Peas and Cole crops

freefour(z6a S. IL)January 5, 2005

Hello Midwest Gardeners

I am pretty new to gardening. I have two 4' X 12' raised bed ready to go for my first crops Peas, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and maybe Cabbage.

I am in 6a. Everything I read said wait until April 1 on Peas and April 30 for the cole crops. Isn't that really late? I was thinking peas and cole crops love the cold.

I thought about starting the Peas on Feb 15th and the getting the cole crop transplants in the ground around March 1st.

When do you all plant these crops?

Also, how early do you start your seeds for cole crops? Generally, I heard 8 weeks is what you want. I was watching a shop last night that said Cauliflower will be stressed if not planted before 5 weeks.

Any suggestions from personal experience would be greatly appreciated!


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cantstopgardening(Zone 4/5 WI)

Because our winters can be soooo variable, I like to plant a succession of these type crops. That way, if my earliest planting gets froze out, I have another one just planted that should make it.

I have had peas 'self-seed' that where left in the garden over winter, so I know they can take some Wisconsin winter punishment. I've planted potatoes, peas, spinach, and cole crops on St. Patrick's Day, (Ides of March would be another date to help remember. Or even Tax day- yuck!) here in Wisconsin with some success. (Some of the cole crops seeds were a might old, so spotty germination was propably due to old seed more than weather. The potatoes and spinach have always done well for me. And the problem I have with growing peas in early spring has more to do with my dog's affection for eating them than the weather.

Keep a garden journal, which can just be a simple notebook, to record your planting dates, and then your success. These types of notes will help you figure out what works in your yard, which can be different than even your neighbors. You'll find lots of useful things to record in that notebook.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2005 at 8:11AM
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freefour(z6a S. IL)


anyone else?



    Bookmark   January 24, 2005 at 2:08PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

I don't live in your area but have relatives in various areas of the MW. Suffice it to say with cool weather veggies, it's often dependent on whether you can work the ground or not. Around here, we often plant peas, carrots, etc., around mid-March (the old St. Patrick's Day timeframe). However that is also dependent on whether the ground is frozen or not depending on how the winter was. In any case, if you direct sow, they won't sprout until they are good and ready when the ground has warmed enough for them to germinate anyway, so early planting will usually result in nothingness for some time unless there's an extended warm spell to get the seeds going quicker.

If you have pre-sprouted plants, if you can work the ground, then go for it. Just be prepared in case of any heavy snows etc. They can usually handle some snow though, but not sure how they would fare being completely buried for an extended period. I had some sweet peas still trying to grow through to December here and they were even keeping their green during a December cold snap into the teens and a day of single digits. But over the extended period once the second cold snap hit here mid-January, I'm thinking they should be fried. LOL

    Bookmark   January 29, 2005 at 5:48PM
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Hi - I was watching a recent Victory Garden episode and am all ready to try a new-to-me sweet pea planting idea. I have bought peat planting strips which are in groups of 12. The idea is to plant the seeds inside under lights or in a greenhouse (I use lights - alas, no greenhouse). When the seeds germinate and plants are about 2 or 3 inches tall, the plants go into the ground, pot and all to continue growing. The Victory Garden host, Michael something, said to put them out in March here in the MidWest and a little snow is not a problem for them. I thought I'd plant them (inside) March 10th or so, depending upon the 10 day forcast and hope for the best.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 4:19PM
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jepper(z5 indiana)

I'd suggest posting your message in the Vegetable Gardening forum; might get a better response.

My zone is only slightly colder than yours, and I also have raised beds. I'm starting my cole crops this week under lights, and have had success with this timeline. Also starting pepper plants, and will be starting tomato plants in about 2 weeks.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 12:43AM
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Jepper - Where is the vegetable gardening forum?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2005 at 4:28PM
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Plant peas now if you have not already done so. My peas are up and doing good about an inch tall. I planted on Feb. 5th.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2005 at 2:43PM
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