Planting dates

garden3• Though a range of planting dates is given for each vegetable, most vegetables are planted only once during that period. The exceptions are the vegetables that have a very short harvest period for each planting. For example, each radish seed produces one radish and all seeds planted at one time are harvested over a short period (7-10 days). To ensure a long, continuous harvest, small plantings are made several times during the recommended planting time (rather than a large planting at only one time). The encyclopedia will tell you if you should make several small plantings of the vegetable.

• Vegetables do best when growth is consistent through the season, not slowing and speeding up due to environmental conditions. You can’t control the weather, but you can help provide consistent conditions by irrigating when rainfall is lacking. Most vegetables need 1-1.5” of water a week.

• Side-dress with nitrogen when needed as listed in the encyclopedia or if plant appearance suggests a nitrogen deficiency (plant stunted, older leaves yellowing, and newest leaves small). Side-dressing recommendations are traditionally given in pounds of ammonium nitrate per 100 ft row. Ammonium nitrate (33-0-0) is now difficult to find in garden centers. Because of this, sidedressing recommendations are given in pounds of actual nitrogen (N) per 100 square feet (sq ft). This allows you to determine the amount of fertilizer needed, no matter the analysis. Select a fertilizer that contains mostly nitrogen and little phosphorus or potassium.

• Mulch will help keep soil moisture and temperature consistent and help control weeds.

• Estimated days to harvest or maturity is given for each vegetable. This can vary greatly depending on variety. The weather can have a great impact as well. Use information specific to your variety if it is available.

• Weeding is an important part of vegetable gardening. Most vegetables are shallow rooted. Cultivate carefully when weeding so you don’t injure the roots. Weeding on a regular schedule will let you remove the weeds when they are small and easy to pull.

• Diseases and insect pests can reduce your yield and the quality of your vegetables. Check your plants on a regular basis. It is easier to control a problem if you catch it early. Brief information on pests is given for each vegetable. Simple cultural techniques, such as crop rotation, spacing to allow air circulation, and removing plant debris at the end of the season can go a long way toward preventing these pests next year. Related plants are listed for each vegetable to help with planning your crop rotation.

• If you are a Purdue Master Gardener, more information on growing vegetables can be found in Chapter 13 of the Purdue Master Gardener Manual. Plant problems and pests are discussed in detail in Chapters 15-25. The Entomology Department at Purdue has an excellent publication on insects. See “Managing Insects in the Home Vegetable Garden”, Purdue Extension publication E-21-W,