NDSU Extension - Griggs County


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May 14

When and How to Plant the Garden

When and How to Plant the Garden


A good day to everyone!  I hope you are all well.  We have been way below normal for temperatures and rainfall.


As of Monday, nearly all of the wheat and barley had been planted in the county.  Wheat is emerging non-uniformly due to the dry soils.  About 80% of the corn and 40% of soybeans have been planted as of Monday as well.


There are three major time frames to plant vegetables, early spring, late spring and late summer.  Within each of these windows the time frame can be quite large and depends upon the species you are planting.


Early planted species include radishes, spinach, swiss chard, asparagus, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, red beets, carrots, onions, potatoes, parsnip, cabbage, collards, mustard greens, peas, turnip, rutabaga, kohlrabi, endive, kale, sweet corn, popcorn, and celery.  These species can be planted starting in mid to late April, although peas, popcorn, and sweet corn would be better planted for the first time in early May.  It is best to transplant plants of Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, and broccoli during this time frame rather than starting these species by seeds at this time, but you can plant them by seed. It all depends upon how early you want to harvest these species.  Most early spring species can be planted up until the end of May.  However, planting radishes at this time will likely cause them to be very bitter and the spinach will soon produce a stem, called bolting, which you do not want in spinach production.  There are spinach varieties that resist bolting better than others, but at some point all spinach plants will bolt which is triggered by light.


Late spring planted species include beans (lima, green, other), cucumber, muskmelons, watermelons, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, pepper, okra, eggplant, and sweet potatoes.  All of these species should be planted after ANY danger of frost which is normally after May 24th, but the way this year is going who knows.  It is possible to get a frost into early June.  Beans can be planted in mid-May usually with little problems.  All of these species will be killed with a light frost except for beans which would need freezing temperatures, so make sure it is warm.  Sweet potatoes really do not like temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.  Some late spring species can be planted into late-June.  Popcorn can be planted into early-June.  Sweet corn, potatoes and green beans can be planted into late-June depending upon the days to maturity of the variety/hybrid.


Late-summer species include cabbage, broccoli, turnips, carrots, red beets, lettuce, green onions, radishes, peas, spinach, and kohlrabi.  Cabbage and broccoli need to be planted in early August as plants, not seeds.  A short-season pea variety and green onions need to be planted in early August.  The remainder of species can be planted in early August and into late August depending upon the days to maturity of the species planted and when you want to harvest.   


Depth to placing the seeds is critical to planting success.  Plant most species to a depth of twice the diameter of the seed.  Corn should be planted at least 1.5 inches deep, but 2 inches is still acceptable. This is for proper root development and standability.  Lettuce should only have a dusting of soil covering the seed, meaning no more than 1/16 of an inch.  Transplant plants to the depth at which they are coming out of the pots or one half the way to the cotyledons.  The exception to this is tomatoes.  You can plant them as deep as you want as long as you have at least 3 inches of stems showing out of the soil.  For potatoes make a trench at least 3 inches deep.  Once plants get to be about 6 to 10 inches in height and before flowering pull soil up to make a large mound of soil around the plants, but do not bury the entire plant. 


As you can see there is plenty of time to still start your garden.  Get out and begin planting your 2021 garden.  Enjoy having your own produce!  If you have questions about gardening feel free to e-mail jeff.stachler@ndsu.edu.                                                                                                                                                                         

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