Some may consider a Minnnesota farmer's almanac calendar the only vegetable planting calendar they need. Farmers in Minnesota have used almanacs for hundreds of years to chart moon and zodiac occurrences to help them have a better chance for a good crop. Just as following the planting zone for Minnesota, following an almanac calendar is a good place to start.
The idea of making a plan and sticking to it is dependent on the individual gardener and what they are willing to do to ensure a good crop with high yield. For instance, a gardener in a temperate zone may be content to wait until after the frost threat is over, plant all of their crops at the same time, and be satisfied with whatever the yield of one harvest of each vegetable produces. Many people have enough success with this method and do not believe they need any planning assistance.
However, the gardener who has passed the hobbyist stage, has researched the growing season for the area by zone, has researched the best plants for that zone, and has researched what plants can be jumpstarted indoors to stretch the growing season, will generally have better crops with higher yields. A larger variety of vegetables and complimentary plants will be available if the gardener is willing to go the extra mile and prepare seedlings and seed beds prior to actual spring planting time.
Charting with a calendar helps the gardener to plan rotation for following years. Many vegetables will play themselves out if planted in the same space every year. Rotating vegetables to different rows or grids in the garden will help keep the nutrients more evenly distributed and help plants to be healthier.
Knowing the difference between cool season crops such as beets, lettuce, carrots, spinach, and warm weather crops like tomatoes, peppers, okra, and beans helps to have a longer harvest time and better yield. If all the plants are planted at the same time the cool weather plants may suffer if it gets warm too soon and vice versa. Knowing the difference between fast growing, slow growing, vining, or bush type plants will also help to keep the garden neater and healthier.
By using a vegetable planting calendar from year to year, the gardener will be able to predict trends in their specific location for the plants of their choice to make each year's harvest more productive.
If you want to harvest vegetables in Minnesota for the fall season, you should start planting varieties of vegetables in mid summer to late summer. You can harvest warm season crops like corn and beans before the winter. Turnips, radishes, dill kale, broccoli, mustard, cabbage and other cool season crops can withstand light frosts and grow healthy during the cooler fall days. Fall vegetable gardening would succeed through timely planting.
It is important that you identify the typical date of the earliest stretch of fall for you to determine the right period to plant a specific vegetable. Likewise, you need also to know the maturity period of the vegetable group. You can easily determine the best time to begin your fall garden by using the formula for determining the days of the early winter.
The formula can be explained as adding of the quantity of days from sowing the seed to harvest, to the quantity of days from sowing the seed, to transplanting.
However, you can use the frost factor if you have planted crops that are susceptible to frost like the beans, beets, cabbages, cucumbers, corn, squash and tomatoes. To have a reasonable harvest for these vegetables, they must be fully grown in 2 weeks earlier than the frost. The slower growth during the shorter days and cooler weather is accounted in the fall factor. To prevent drying out of sprouted seeds, it should be sowed deeper than the normal seeding and should be watered adequately until they sprout from the soil surface. Sprouts should not break off when planting them in your garden, and so proper care should be put into account.
The dry soil throughout the midsummer time in Minnesota can make it difficult working the soil as well as inhibits seed germination. Planting vegetables during the fall should be done after a rain so that the soil is damp. Otherwise, you can irrigate the area thoroughly. In addition, to preserve moisture in the soil the seeds should be planted in a shallow ditch.
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