Planting times ever flexible?

southerngardengirl(8)May 8, 2014

Question about South Mississippi Gardening: as you are aware, the winter lingered a little longer in our area. I am just now getting to work on our garden. Most dates for our area show that many spring planted veggies should be planted by April. Should I plant this week and hope/pray for the best and see what happens? I know many veggies are borderline: cucumbers, eggplant, peppers. I can plant okra, sweet potatoes now. Should I wait for July and August dates for everything else? We do have drop irrigation as well. Would appreciate your thoughts. Thank you!

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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

The published planting dates are "averages". This year has been anything but average. When you plant depends on several factors: your soil temp, your night time lows, how well drained (or poorly) your soil is, whether you are planting in the ground or in raised beds, and more.

Typically, I like for night time temps to be at or above 55 degrees before I plant tomatoes, but this year, I took a chance and planted them the third week of April. That is still two weeks later than "average". I planted in my raised beds (edged with concrete blocks) which helped the soil warm faster and without mulch. They are doing well. I will be putting down mulch in the next week or two as the night time temps continue to warm.

I put eggplants and peppers into pots at the same time I planted tomatoes. Pots warm faster than the ground always. But I still put floating row covers over both of these heat lovers. They are doing well too.

I only just planted beans, okra, cucumbers, and butter beans this past week. The cucs would probably have been okay a couple weeks ago, but it's been too wet.
Everything else will be fine. They all want VERY warm soil and since our growing season is so long, they may be a little delayed, but I think they'll be fine.

I live in east Central MS. I should think you will be fine for everything by now. The only things I am concerned about are the tomatoes and snap beans. If the high summer heat comes too soon, those crops may be reduced because the blooms fall off and the plants stop producing. But if we don't plant, we definitely won't get....

I hope this helps you!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 3:53PM
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This is one of those years that keeps average years average...

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 8:45AM
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annew21 (zone 7b NC)(7b NC)

Planting times always depend on the conditions in the particular year you are planting. I held off planting this year (and last year, actually) because it took so long to warm up.

I agree with donnabasekts about the nightshades. You should also be able to plant southern peas, cantaloupe, watermelon, and gourds now. As for snap beans, this time of year I really start to run into problems with pests. I waited too long, and now the little plants keep getting munched before they have a chance. I would also be wary of planting any squash that are not in the moschata species because of squash vine borers. The plants need time to get big enough before the onslaught begins. But that's been my experience in central North Carolina, and your conditions are probably a little different.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 11:11AM
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