GARDENING FRIENDS – ITS TOO EARLY TO PLANT YOUR WARM WEATHER SEEDLINGS OUT DOORS

Each year customers ask nursery growers for plants earlier and earlier in the season. Yes, purchase if you are worried about stock, but do not plant outdoors until after May 31st. Keep in a protected location and gradually acclimate to outdoor temps (hardening off*).  In the old days, after Memorial Day was the standard rule of thumb for New Englanders. We’ve gotten away from that. It’s risky business to plant your annual flowers, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and herbs such as basil oregano outdoors too early, especially this year when we may have a snowfall this coming Mother’s Day weekend.

The following is a handy chart specifically for Cape Ann from the Farmer’s Almanac, although I would modify, ignore the frost date, and plant my warm weather seedlings closer to the June1st – June 5th Moon dates. The first date in each box is based on frost dates, the second line is based on Moon dates. Follow the Moon dates, especially this year when we are having an unusually cool spring.

*What does hardening off your seedlings mean? Think of it this way – seedlings are weaklings. They have delicate slender stalks that are easily blown over and their tiny tender leaves will freeze in a heart beat or shrivel in the penetrating sun of May. Seedlings need time to toughen up before planting out in the garden.

Hardening off is the practice of gradually exposing the seedlings to outdoor conditions. Place plants in a protected area for a few hours a day, out of the way of wind and direct sun. On cold nights bring indoors to a garage, shed, or back inside. Gradually increase the plant’s time spent outdoors. Keep moist and don’t let the soil dry out. In a week or so you will see the stalk and leaves have visibly thickened. House plants and herbs that have been grown indoors all winter (essentially babied) will also benefit from hardening off if you are planning to move outdoors.

Crop Based on Frost Dates   Based on Moon Dates
Start Seeds Indoors Plant Seedlings

or Transplants

Start Seeds Outdoors
Basil Mar 13-27
Mar 24-27
May 8-29
May 22-29
N/A
Beets N/A N/A Apr 24-May 15
May 8-15
Bell Peppers Feb 27-Mar 13
Feb 27-Mar 9
May 22-Jun 12
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
Broccoli Mar 27-Apr 10
Mar 27-Apr 7
Apr 17-May 8
Apr 22-May 7
N/A
Brussels Sprouts Mar 27-Apr 10
Mar 27-Apr 7
Apr 10-May 1
Apr 22-May 1
N/A
Cabbage Mar 13-27
Mar 24-27
Apr 10-24
Apr 22-24
N/A
Cantaloupes Apr 10-17 May 22-Jun 12
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
Carrots N/A N/A Apr 3-17
Apr 8-17
Cauliflower Mar 27-Apr 10
Mar 27-Apr 7
Apr 10-24
Apr 22-24
N/A
Celery Feb 27-Mar 13
Feb 27-Mar 9
May 15-29
May 22-29
N/A
Chives N/A N/A Apr 10-17
Cilantro (Coriander) N/A N/A May 8-22
May 22
Corn N/A N/A May 8-22
May 22
Cucumbers Apr 10-17 May 22-Jun 12
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
Dill N/A N/A Apr 3-17
Apr 3- 7
Eggplants Feb 27-Mar 13
Feb 27-Mar 9
May 22-Jun 12
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
Green Beans N/A N/A May 15-Jun 5
May 22-Jun 5
Kale Mar 27-Apr 10
Mar 27-Apr 7
Apr 10-May 1
Apr 22-May 1
N/A
Lettuce Mar 27-Apr 10
Mar 27-Apr 7
Apr 24-May 22
Apr 24-May 7, May 22
N/A
Okra N/A N/A May 22-Jun 5
May 22-Jun 5
Onions N/A N/A Apr 10-May 1
Apr 10-21
Oregano Feb 27-Mar 27
Feb 27-Mar 9, Mar 24-27
May 8-29
May 22-29
N/A
Parsley N/A N/A Apr 10-24
Apr 22-24
Parsnips N/A N/A Apr 17-May 8
Apr 17-21, May 8
Peas N/A N/A Mar 27-Apr 17
Mar 27-Apr 7
Potatoes N/A N/A May 1-22
May 8-21
Pumpkins Apr 10-24
Apr 22-24
May 22-Jun 12
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
Radishes N/A N/A Mar 13-Apr 3
Mar 13-23
Rosemary Feb 27-Mar 13
Feb 27-Mar 9
May 15-Jun 5
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
Sage Mar 13-27
Mar 24-27
May 8-22
May 22
N/A
Spinach N/A N/A Mar 27-Apr 17
Mar 27-Apr 7
Squash (Zucchini) Apr 10-24
Apr 22-24
May 22-Jun 12
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
Sweet Potatoes Apr 10-17
Apr 10-17
May 22-Jun 12
Jun 6-12
N/A
Swiss Chard Mar 27-Apr 10
Mar 27-Apr 7
Apr 17-24
Apr 22-24
N/A
Thyme Feb 27-Mar 27
Feb 27-Mar 9, Mar 24-27
May 8-29
May 22-29
N/A
Tomatoes Mar 13-27
Mar 24-27
May 15-Jun 5
May 22-Jun 5
N/A
Turnips N/A N/A Apr 10-May 1
Apr 10-21
Watermelons Apr 10-17 May 22-Jun 12
May 22-Jun 5
N/A

1 thought on “GARDENING FRIENDS – ITS TOO EARLY TO PLANT YOUR WARM WEATHER SEEDLINGS OUT DOORS

  1. Pingback: GOOD NEWS CAPE ANN – THINKING ABUT CHANGING THE NAME “TO BEAUTY BY THE SEA”- EPISODE 6 | Beauty on the Wing

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