Vegetable Gardening, Yes!

Posted on 04/16/24 by CSU Horticulture Specialist, Linda Langelo

Vegetables and fruits.
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Are you chomping at the bit to get started with the vegetable garden? Don’t be too anxious. When was the last time you did a soil test of your vegetable garden soil? If you haven’t had it done for several years, this is a good time to do it. Then you will know what elements are needed to keep your plants healthy.

Then, be sure you know the frost-free date in your area. Go to this link: https://www.weather.gov/wrh/climate and then go to select location inside a blue box and then go to select first/last dates. These are the first and last freeze dates. Last year in Holyoke, the frost-free dates were May 2, 2023, and October 7, 2023.

Be sure to prepare the ground when it is not too wet or too dry. If it should rain or snow wait a couple of days after to till the garden. The moisture level will be just right when the soil crumbles in your hand. It if stays in a clump, do not till. Once you have tilled then rake or spade the surface into an even surface.

Follow the appropriate temperatures of soil and air for both cool-season and warm-season crops. Cool-season crops like cold soil and mature with cool weather and short periods of daylight. The minimum soil temperature would be 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The minimum air temperature would be 40 degrees Fahrenheit for daytime to 60-80 degrees. The warm season crops require 60 degrees Fahrenheit for soil temperature. The air temperature needs to be between 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you purchase transplants, then be sure to place them outside for a week in a similar location to where they will be planted with some protection to harden them off before placing them directly in the ground. Do not attempt to grow beets, carrots, or radishes as transplants, but direct sowing is best. Also do the same with squash, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe, or pumpkins. They do not like their roots disturbed. If you do buy them in a biodegradable pot where the roots won’t get disturbed, then they should be fine.

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Good luck! If you want to purchase some protection for your crops such as hail screen, it is expensive, but good hail screen can last for years.  

 

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