bobbyg
Full Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue May 24, 2016 1:50 pm

Reliable information as to when to plant what

I have been gardening for 3 yrs now. Basically started with tomatoes and now tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, artichokes (first time this yr), swiss chard, raddish, onions, and cucumbers (also first time). I am in northern CA, zone 9b. This yr I planted my tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers too soon. Tomatoes did well but peppers just stayed without any growth for almost 2 months. We had cold spring this yr. I cut down my peppers but that it turn revived them and now they seem to be doing good. Cucumbers not so. Plants are still quite small.

Problem for me is trying to plan what to plant and when. I have checked so many websites and most give conflicting information as to what I can plant in a given month. Lot of times they are off by months at a time. I wanted to grow some okra, most sites said I should do so in late June or July. Well seeds are in and after 3-4 weeks, it is still 1-2 inch of plant. Lot of seeds didn't germinate even thought it was hot when I sowed them. Next time maybe I do more and earlier. I found out from my co-worker that his okra is already fruiting as he planted in early march. His tomatoes aren't doing well as he planted late. What I am trying to find, is there a comprehensive site with information as to what I can plant and how should I plan so I can do successive plantings and not miss in between. With our nice weather, I think we can plant lot of things. Any help is much appreciated.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Reliable information as to when to plant what

It is not as easy as it sounds. Timing is very tricky, part experience with your own garden and part intuition/luck.

You note "this year was a cold spring." If next year spring comes earlier and warmer, the timing of what would do well planted when could be very different.

And your garden has many micro-climates. If you have a south facing wall that gets sun, that is a very protected location and things could get planted there several weeks ahead of other spots in your yard and will do very well in spring -- but then if they are not heat tolerant, they might fry in that location in summer.

How much sun/shade your garden gets changes the timing. Soils that hold a lot of moisture freeze harder and then warms up slower. Sandy soils warm up quicker.

You can see why it is hard for anyone to give you any more than estimates/ guesses of when to plant what in your particular garden.
Last edited by rainbowgardener on Mon Jul 04, 2016 2:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

Peter1142
Green Thumb
Posts: 313
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2014 1:23 pm
Location: SE NY ZONE 6B

Re: Reliable information as to when to plant what

The most effective and reliable way to determine when to plant is to use a soil thermometer. Aside from frost, soil temperature is the single most important factor in determining planting success, and you can eliminate a lot of the guesswork this way.

But CA gardening is a whole different animal from the rest of us. I suggest looking local for info. Try your local cooperative extension.
Zone 6b SE NY
My blog Peter's Vegetable Garden

JayPoc
Greener Thumb
Posts: 772
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:00 pm
Location: Virginia, The mountains Zone 6a/6b

Re: Reliable information as to when to plant what

Google up your state cooperative extension office. They will likely have a detailed planting guide for your specific area. Also, you're likely to find a group of "certified master gardeners" in your area that are more than happy to share their local knowledge.

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11238
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Reliable information as to when to plant what

I found the sunset Western garden guide to be very useful. They have 24 climate zones in California. They also have a monthly garden planner and tips. The sunset magazine has a monthly planting calendar for the different regions. The microzone climates are described in the guide and you look up the one that fits your conditions the best. You use that to find the calendar for that zone. What is good about it is that the magazine's information is updated to take into account our changing weather and have articles on how to deal with things like water restrictions, using gray water and less thirsty plants.
https://www.sunset.com/garden/climate-zo ... geles-area. I live in Hawaii and it is included in the guide. I also look at similar zones like Florida (Miami) since they have a much better garden calendar than Hawaii and they grow similar plants. Of course we have been having crazy weather but zone 9b does not really have to deal much with freezes. You can look up your weather trends data on Noaa and get the averages for your location. Most warm season vegetables you want to start about 6 weeks before planting out. Give yourself a couple of weeks leeway and start at intervals just in case instead of starting everything all at once. Check your trends and when the weather is on average most likely to be steadily in the 70's-80 range that is your target dates for planting out. A soil thermometer or any thermometer is a good idea though. I just check noaa for the weekly forcast and go by that. Sometimes you get an uncharacteristic front coming, that can't be helped, but for the most part trending helps.

There are several Master Gardener's in California and there are different planting guides for different areas like these:
https://acmg.ucanr.edu/Your_Garden,_Month-by-Month/
https://www.mastergardeners.org/vegetab ... ting-chart
https://www.mastergardenerssandiego.org/ ... Guide1.pdf

As for knowing when to plant here are a few tips I learned

1. Check out the nurseries. The growers usually bring in vegetable starts weekly when it is time to plant. Ask at the nursery when the growers make deliveries so you can get the freshest plants.

2. Better yet, if you have plant nurseries near you, go there instead. If they grow their own plants they can give you better advice on planting.

3. The easiest solution. Look around your neighborhood and see what people are growing in their yard. Make friends with neighbors who share the same interest. Gardeners are usually happy to trade ideas, but like good cooks not always all of their secrets. Because you live in the same microclimate if they can grow it so can you.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Reliable information as to when to plant what

Ca. zone 9b is a far cry from my zone 5. :) All I can do is offer some generalities. Things like onions, carrots, lettuce and radish are cool weather plants and should be planted early. Corn, squash and pumpkins should be planted about 2 weeks before the last average frost. Peppers, eggplant, artichokes, are warm weather plants often started in greenhouses for planting out when the danger of frost is past. Cucumbers are frail and should be planted when all danger of frost is past and the weather is warm. They come on fast and are usually grown from seed planted where it will grow.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
Allyn
Green Thumb
Posts: 485
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:38 pm
Location: Mississippi Gulf Coast - zone 8b

Re: Reliable information as to when to plant what

All good information. I was going to suggest your local coop extension, but folks beat me to it.

You can give this a look-see:
https://www.almanac.com/gardening/planting-dates

Plug in your location and then scroll down to the calendar. I found it quite helpful, and eye-opening when I first tried it.

Peter1142
Green Thumb
Posts: 313
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2014 1:23 pm
Location: SE NY ZONE 6B

Re: Reliable information as to when to plant what

Squash and pumpkins are killed by frost... and also won't germinate in cold soil. I would definitely advise IMO against planting them BEFORE last frost, and that certainly would go against conventional wisdom. But this type of thinking doesn't really apply to the OP's climate.
Zone 6b SE NY
My blog Peter's Vegetable Garden

bobbyg
Full Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue May 24, 2016 1:50 pm

Re: Reliable information as to when to plant what

Sorry to get back late. Someone at work did send me a link to our local extension and master gardeners. Things is that site is also off for some of the plants that I am looking at. I do agree that it seems going with past experience is the best thing. But I would have thought by now with internet all this tribal knowledge would be available through one click. Maybe I need to read more. I will check out the sunset magazine web site.

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”