Brettmm92
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Mid-April vegetables

Im in zone 7. I have an abundance of lettuce currently growing. Im very interested in getting a head start on fruiting plants like tomatoes or peppers. Does anyone have any recommendations of plants to start this early? Broccoli is the only non lettuce plant on my cold growing list.

DarrenP
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

Living in Australia, I am unfamiliar with your climate zones. However, I use this site for planting guides. You can adjust it for your region.
https://www.gardenate.com/
Hope this helps.

Vanisle_BC
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

Welcome, Brettmm92. Whereabouts are you?

I'm in zone 7 too, on Vancouver Island. You mention tomatoes & peppers. Mine were started indoors under lights in late March. Are you set up to do that? They will be planted out after all danger of frost - late May or early June. it's not too late now to start tomatoes this way. Peppers may be a bit more dodgy - could give you fruit but not have time to fully ripen, depending on variety and your summer weather. Maybe green bell peppers instead of sweet red ones, but definitely worth a try.

Many veggies can be started now; some only indoors but lots outdoors. I won't try to write out a list; an online search will get you lots of info. and you could check the seed companies in your area - many will have charts of planting dates for viewing online. Others will send free catalogs with good information. In this area I mostly go by the charts in West Coast Seeds' (paper) catalog but I don't see those on their web site. They're appropriate to this zone 7 area, so likely yours too.

If you want to ask about specific plants I'll tell you what I (think I) know and there are plenty of others here who will share their knowledge & experience.
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Brettmm92
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

Thanks Vanisle. And I'm in North Carolina. And I don't have room for an indoor setup but I'm working on a small makeshift greenhouse. Sounds like you got a nice operation going.

Darren, that sure is a helpful site! And it's cool that someone from Austrailia is on here. I've recently been curious if y'all can grow all four seasons?

And I'm mildly familiar with spring and fall (cold hardy I think is the term) plants such as kale, broccoli, spinach etc. But I'm seeking specifically a fruiting vegetable or something along the lines of broccoli in how it isn't just edible lettuce.

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applestar
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

If you don’t have the room to grow tomato and pepper seedlings indoors, you can buy started plants closer to your planting time. It will depend on your last average frost, and tomatoes need consistently above 45-50° F lowest temp while peppers need 55-60° F. I’m guessing around mid to late April for you. Other solanacea crops include eggplants, ground cherries, and tomatillos.

For starting from seeds outside, you could probably still sow broccoli and cauliflower directly in the ground, though I prefer to start them inside earlier, then plant started older plants. If I can get a garden bed ready, my started kale, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli have been hardened off and are ready to be planted. You may find, however, that you will have better luck with broccoli and cauliflower in the fall (start them in July). You could try sowing Brussels sprouts now.

You could probably still sow peas, especially sugar snaps and snowpeas that don’t need to wait until ponds are full — but look for really early varieties. If you are interested in root-crops, carrots, beets, and radish, also parsnips, turnips, rutabaga. You could still buy onion sets or plants and plant them.

There are a lot of edible greens not just lettuce. Swiss chard for example. Also, some of the more heat tolerant or quick growing Asian greens.

You could buy strawberry plants and plant them now.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

I'm also in zone 7. For us this is barely early...

Cool weather crops include: all the brassicas (like broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts), all the root crops (e.g. carrots, turnips, beets), all the leafy greens (e.g. lettuce, chard, spinach, kale)

I always say if I could only grow one thing in my garden, it would be swiss chard. All the other greens tend to bolt and be done as soon as it gets warm. The swiss chard just keeps going and going, through frost, heat, frost again....It is hugely productive and in my gardens at least, hardly anything bothers it. It doesn't get diseases or pests. It is easy to start from seed planted directly in the ground.
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Gary350
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

Our last frost is about April 15 to 20. I think our last freeze was 2 days ago. I will be planting tomatoes & peppers about April 20 and will be prepared to cover plants up with 5 gallon buckets if we have a late frost or freeze.

DarrenP
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

@Brettmm92, yes, in most parts of Australia fruit and veg can be grown all year round, although there are different crops grown in different times of the year. Where I live, the climate borders on arid to warm temperate, so brassicas, most root veggies, and a lot of leafy crops have to be grown in the cooler months. Lettuce is the main exception.
Have to agree with you, rainbowgardener, silverbeet, or Swiss chard, is the crop that keeps on giving. I always grow some, not only for us, but the chooks and rabbits love it too.

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digitS'
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

Brettmm92, I have a greenhouse with heat but also set up my "makeshift greenhouse," recently.

It is plastic film stretched over pvc pipes covering 2 backyard garden beds, about 180 square feet. Some years, I set up a 2nd hoop house over the neighbor's 2 garden beds with the plastic film attached to a small shed I built on the property line. (That probably won't be necessary this year but I'm still likely to be over there making use of his small garden :wink: .)

My hoop house beds are about half full of bok choy, right now. Those are transplants from the greenhouse. Additionally, there is seed sown for other Asian greens and for escarole. I'll separate that leafy green from the Asian group altho they will all be prepared the same way in the kitchen: some by steaming but mostly by stir-fry. Kailaan seed is sown. That is often called Chinese broccoli and is related. There are broccoli plants back in the greenhouse destined for the open garden. I could move them under the hoop house instead, for an earlier harvest but they are about early enough, outdoors.

The escarole stands up a little better than some of the others to summer heat heat but none do as well as kale and chard. Kale struggles a bit to grow but I learned long ago to harvest it thru the summer and not just wait for it until fall. There are even some 2017 kale plants in the garden now. They have overwintered and we will harvest some of their new growth as about our earliest greens.

The chard seed is being held for sowing in the garden altho we did debate sowing some of it in the hoop house beds. Maybe we will do that sometime but in 2018 it will be outdoors.

I say indoors/outdoors but the hoop house will only be covering those beds for a couple of months. The plastic film will be pulled off. The greenhouse, on the other hand, will remain "indoors" but I will have that door, wide open during summer days. On hot afternoons, I may even turn on the exhaust fan because things can get real HOT in there! We grew a bed of peppers in the greenhouse last year. That worked real well for them altho the heat delayed their maturing and care was a bit of a bother. The plants grew larger than the same varieties outdoors and produced big crops, by comparison. They were late but had enough time, even though I don't turn on the heat in there though the fall and winter. Yes, of course, it freezes in there.

Steve
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Brettmm92
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

Vanisle, I just realized you are in zone 7 but in Canada. I always thought it was sort of Alaska like up there and never thought would be close to the climate in mid eastern shore of USA I get.

Applestar, peas are definitely something missing from my list. I'll try get some sowed tomorrow. And as far as my know how goes, brussel sprouts and onions take up space for most of the season right? Unless they are like leafy greens and keep growing back I don't think I want to have space taken up by them. And I previously wasn't interested in root vegetables, mainly cause of the hard clay of N.C. but now I'm thinking about amending some soil drastically for some root vegetables. And you feel like listing any of those "more heat tolerant or quick growing Asian greens?"

Rainbowgardener, that's good to hear. I planted some swiss chard for the first time this season and they have just established and I'm very excited to see how they do. If they do half as good as yours I'll be very happy.

Gary350, After checking the NCextension website and weather I feel confident that your right. Is there a reason you are waiting until 4/20 to plant peppers and tomatoes? Those have to be my favorite crop btw. Any specific "species" you have success with in your area? My Banana peppers thrived even in the hard clay of N.C. last year with no amendments.

DarrenP, thanks,I'll have to check out silverbeet. Austrailia always interested me. Especially from what I've heard it started out as some sort of continental jail, and somehow has some very slim crimerates and a great reputation for quality of life.

DigitS, That sure is something. Sounds like you have a good system. I don't know about you but I like to continously pick at multiple kale or whatever green plant and have them continuously grow back rather than just taking them as one mature head. And that definitely inspires me to be more active in my greenhouse building. Where do you get your plastic btw?

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Re: Mid-April vegetables

the greenhouse has very much advantages when we use greenhouse production very much increase & quality also
to get in detail information about greenhouse please follow this article
https://agricultureguruji.com/greenhouse-farming/

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digitS'
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

Brettman,

The hoop house is just covered with construction-grade plastic film. It's only there for about 3 months. This is the first year for me to use 4-mil. I gave up on finding a clearer 6-mil. Even though the film won't last too long in the sun and I damage it when removing from the window and door frames, I am able to reuse it elsewhere and it's not just tossed away every year. We will see if that holds true with the 4-mil.

Both the hoop house and greenhouse go back about 20 years, before I had internet access. The greenhouse doesn't require new UV-resistant film every year but I think that I have ordered from Farmtek from the very first. It's 6-mil.

Steve
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Vanisle_BC
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

Brettmm92: Like you I'm often surprised by zone numbers compared with my ideas of what the weather would be like in various areas. I'm on the southwest coast of BC; you could think of it as your Pacific Northwest, with wet cool winters and summers usually warm, sometimes hot. 100 F, or close to it, is not uncommon and we seldom get really hard frost.

digitS': On my greenhouse I use house-builder's vapour barrier and it stays out all year. I think it's 6 mil; not very clear and has manufacturer's logo but it works well enough and lasts several years.
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Vanisle_BC
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

My Dwarf curly kale from last year died away to an ugly thick stump that looks like the stripped trunk of a tiny palm tree. Now (mid-April) it's putting out multiple green shoots - see photo (ignore the pushy leeks trying to take over.)

Is kale perennial or is it biennial - i.e. if I keep it growing will it be for seed or food?
Kale.JPG
Sorry, couldn't figure how to make the photo stay upright when attached. On my computer, it will correct itself if you click on it.
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applestar
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

There are varieties of kale that are considered perennial — like “Good King Henry” and “sea kale” and “tree kale”. But generally speaking, I believe kale is a BIENNIAL and would bolt and flower/go to seed in the 2nd year. You can, of course harvest the baby greens until they bolt which changes the texture/flavor of the leaves.

If not saving seeds to grow, you can eat the flowers and the tiny baby seedpods while still soft like you do with radish, and you could also collect seeds for sprouting in winter or micro-greens... or, technically, they are “mustard” type so you might be able to use them as mustard seeds... or if you have enough, get one of those seed oil presses and press your own Canola-type oil... or leave them out and finches will go crazy over them — you Won’t have to buy finch seeds for the feeder any more.

It doesn’t get as cold in your winters right? I was thinking maybe I have been too hasty about pulling stumps like that in the past, but in the negative single digit depth of winter temps, I’m pretty sure they would have been dead through and through.
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Vanisle_BC
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

Thanks, applestar.

I'll assume my kale is biennial, & let it make seed. Meantime those fresh green baby leaves are very tasty.

Here's another late-sprouter: the discarded cut-off top of a rutabaga that decided it's not done yet. I'll plant it in soil and see what comes of it.
Swede.JPG
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Brettmm92
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

a lot of information but I definitely think it's for much larger commercial projects than I'd undertake. I'll bookmark the site though

DigitS, I have the same problem about trying to find a clear 6 mil. I bought a big ole roll from ace hardware of "clear constuction plastic" (polyethelyne) and was very dissapointed in how opague it was. I'll be sure to check out that site after I type this. But I recently talked to a local nursery and was advised to check amazon for uv coated 6 mil material and after a quick search it seems like they have plenty but it isn't cheap.

Vanisle, Wow, that is very interesting. Do you happen to have redwoods over there? And do you mean that you seldom get hard frost in the winter? Those are some beautiful pictures, did you pick at that kale for so long it grew a base that thick or is it something else?

Vanisle_BC
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

Sorry, I seem to have double-posted here. Crazy computer! :) Couldn't find a way to delete this one.
applestar wrote:There are varieties of kale that are considered perennial — like “Good King Henry” and “sea kale” and “tree kale”. But generally speaking, I believe kale is a BIENNIAL.
Thanks applestar. I'll let it keep growing to make seed. Meantime the young leaves are very tasty. You're right; we seldom get really severe freezes. This winter only light frosts (so far!)
"There are two kinds of people in the world - those who think there are two kinds of people in the world, and those who do not" - Robert Benchley

Vanisle_BC
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

Brettmm; No indigenous redwoods here, I believe; why do you ask? There are a couple of planted(?) Sequoia(?) in town. Is that the same tree? W. Red Cedar grow like weeds here.

It's been years since we had what I'd call a hard frost - i.e. ground frozen too deep to harvest root crops. The "dwarf" kale in my picture just grew that stocky without any help from me. I only once grew the full-size variety. Takes up too much space for my liking, and produces more than 2 old folks can eat.

I'm surprised that people are concerned about the transparency of construction-grade poly. It's definitely not clear but I've assumed the light level under it is quite adequate; never noticed plants struggling with it. Then again I only use my greenhouse for raising transplants.
"There are two kinds of people in the world - those who think there are two kinds of people in the world, and those who do not" - Robert Benchley

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jal_ut
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

Cool weather crops: Lettuce, onions, spinach, broccoli, peas, carrot, radish, chard. Warm weather plants: corn, beans, squash, cucumber. At this location the early crops can usually be planted in April. The warm weather crops mid May to June first. Have fun!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Brettmm92
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

Vanisle, after a google search, those sequoias look similar. As a young boy watching discovery channel (when they had real documentaries instead of just reality shows about people working) I was always fascinated about the redwoods. Especially how each branch had it's own thriving ecosystem based on decomposing foliage that fell from previous years. And good to hear about your success with construction poly as that is exactly how I plan to use my makeshift greenhouse. Just about to hinge the door and call it done.
Jal, thanks, peas are definitely something I've been missing

Vanisle_BC
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

Brett, this is the tree I was guessing as Sequoia. Am I wrong? It's certainly a baby compared to the Redwoods in Oregon/Washington. But when you're in among them you can't see their shape so I haven't a clue!

Sorry, I still can't stop the pic from lying on its side (the original is upright.)
Poss.Sequoia.JPG
Enjoy your greenhouse. Mine has been makeshift for over a decade with occasional re-covering. One of these days (?) I'll make something more permanent. Maybe even without using plastic.
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digitS'
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

I hope it was okay to do this, Vanisle_BC?
Vancouver Island.JPG
Originally from northern California, I returned to live for a few years in Arcata. Wonderful forests ...

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Brettmm92
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Re: Mid-April vegetables

Vanisle, that tree sure is impressive. And I wish I could tell you what it is. I am far from a tree expert, just interested in the natural wonders. After googling sequoia again, I'd say it looks similar but all asians, ahem, I mean trees look alike to me ;) And it is impressive, the closest thing I've seen to a tree that big is an antennae in my area that it looks like they (very poorly and almost humorously) attempted to make it look like a tree.

And as far as my very simple greenhouse, I have noticed impressive results. I have tomatoes that germinated in 8 days (which was labeled as the earliest time on the package for indoor and far ahead of outdoor estimates).



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