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Kermieterp
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Days to maturity......what exactly does that mean?

so my pack of seeds says 60 days to maturity for green onions....they are tiny!

Cucumber says 55 days but it's been 60 and I've got two female flowers with no male ones.

Does days to maturity mean that the plant is now ready to produce or that I should be able to harvest veggies?

Can someone clear this up for me? :?

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digitS'
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Re: Days to maturity......what exactly does that mean?

It should mean that it's the beginning of a harvest.

Mostly, it's for comparison with other varieties, perhaps better known. Finally, somebody pulled it outta thin air .. ;)

Some commercial varieties are rated by Growing Degree Days. The Weather Service keeps track of them for us and there is probably fair constancy in those ratings. The average daily temperature is used and too low (or, too high) temperatures won't add into the number.

Days to maturity are "near perfect," for plant growth. Along with the Growing Degree Days calculations, all other conditions are discounted. Well, they can't be discounted. Drought, windstorms, soil tilth & fertility, etc. etc., are difficult to factor in but they also influence growth and maturity. Time and temperature can be more easily measured and quantified.

Steve
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imafan26
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Re: Days to maturity......what exactly does that mean?

The days to maturity starts from germination not from the date you plant. For most seeds you add 7-14 days to the days to maturity if you start counting from the day you plant. Since all seeds may not germinate on the same day even if you plant them at the same time it will vary by a few days.

Time of year, temperature, seed depth, and day length may also factor in. Corn I plant in January usually will not really grow very fast. When I plant on March first, corn matures just about 85-95 days after planting.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Days to maturity......what exactly does that mean?

Actually, if you start seeds indoors and then transplant them or you buy transplants, days to maturity starts counting from when the transplant goes in the ground, NOT from when the seed sprouted indoors. It counts time from transplant in the ground to first ripe fruit. But of course that time is very affected by conditions, soil and air temperatures, amount of sun and rain, etc. So the DTM the seed company tells you is their average in perfect conditions. YRMV ... your results may vary!
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imafan26
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Re: Days to maturity......what exactly does that mean?

Rainbow is that still true when transplants are held back because of weather and they end up being put in the ground a lot later?

I usually want to try to transplant to larger pots or to the ground when transplants have four true leaves and between 4 and 6 inches tall.

How do you decide it is time to transplant (if the weather cooperates)? By age or by size?
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Days to maturity......what exactly does that mean?

Interesting questions, which I can't answer. Clearly there is a whole variety of sizes/ maturities of transplants and a large mature transplant is going to fruit a lot sooner than a tiny one.

All I can say is the seed companies have some standard way they grow things, including transplant size, greenhouse conditions, etc. The DTM they give is based on how they do it. So it is only a rough guideline for what the time to harvest will be in your garden. What it does is give you some way to compare different varieties. So Stupice is listed for 55 days, Early Girl is listed for 62 days, Better Boy for 78 days, etc. That doesn't actually tell you how long it will take them to produce fruit in your garden, but it does tell you that the Stupice will probably be producing almost a month earlier than the Better Boy.
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CharlieBear
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Re: Days to maturity......what exactly does that mean?

Correct, the scientific standard is based on the average time that the first chosen percentage of the plants reach maturity under what is termed average conditions. Therefore, if you are only planting say 3 plants they might have been the ones that came to maturity in the latter group or your conditions are not close to average conditions. That is a simple way of saying it is an estimate that seasoned gardeners and farmers use to gauge about either whether it makes any sense to plant that in the average growing season for their region or whether using a formula that estimates how many days longer it will take for a crop to mature in the shorter days of fall it is worth their is likely to be a reasonable crop before the first frost date or not. Plants can then be categorized into short season, average season length and long season plants. Therefore if you have a short growing season your best bet if you want the best chances of having a reasonably good crop would be to plant the short season varieties of what you want to grow, or to realize that is definitely something that is likely to grow where I live. The problem with average conditions is your weather may have been cooler that average or much hotter than average. Your nutrient level may not fall within the average range and you may or may not have given the plants taking into account rainfall the average amount of rain. In other words your garden may not be experiencing any where near ideal conditions. Note, it is possible for crops to fail completely even for experienced farmers, it does happen. If you already have some flowers, be patient, it looks like they are gearing up.

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skiingjeff
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Re: Days to maturity......what exactly does that mean?

@Imafan I'm not sure anyone addressed your question on how to determine when to transplant. If I've misread your question, sorry, just ignore the following.... :roll:

We grow most of our plants indoors and then transplant them outside. If delayed or if a plant ends up getting root bound while awaiting transplant, we up pot to keep the plant happily growing.

Determining when to transplant is a combination of both number of leaves and temperatures outside. Taking summer squash for example. We want to have 2-3 true leaves before we transplant to ensure the plant is mature enough to handle the transplant shock. However, when our plants had 2-3 true leave this year, the outside and soil temperatures were still too cold for the plant to survive well due to our elongated winter. So the plants hung around in the basement growing environment longer than planned and needed to be put into larger pots to "hold" them until transplanting.

Just to complete the cycle since the OP was on what DTM means.... How has the impacted the "DTM"? The type of squash we planted has a 55 DTM per the package which based on the date we transplanted them would put the maturity date at July 27th. But if all goes well the tiny squash already forming on the plants will be ready to pick in another week or so and we'll be picking a month or so earlier than expected. So the delay in transplanting and the up potting did not seem to impact the DTM adversely at all.

Hope this was a helpful discussion :)

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Kermieterp
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Re: Days to maturity......what exactly does that mean?

I have a better understanding now! Thanks for the info! I also needed the transplant info, so this was quite a helpful discussion!

imafan26
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Re: Days to maturity......what exactly does that mean?

Thanks for the explanation. I learned something new. I don't have issues with frost dates so most of my seeds starts if they are not in the ground are in pots on an outside bench.

There are things that won't germinate or grow right until temperature is optimized like the super hot peppers (really like it 70-80 degrees for best germination) eggplant will either not germinate or grow extra slowly if planted when the days are short and it is cooler. Tomatoes and corn will germinate year round but grow a lot slower in cool weather and shorter days. Perilla will bolt in cool weather and shorter days.

I know if I keep my transplants in the pot too long they will stunt. I usually don't pot up transplants I intend to put in the ground.

I usually add the days to germination to the days to maturity to get my first harvest date and it usually works out
within two weeks.

The other things you said about short season and long season growers is also true when selecting varieties, you do have to know which ones to get. Too add to that you need to make sure you get the right varieties if you have a short or long day. That is important when you are selecting onions, garlic and strawberries.

I can only grow southern short day onions. I tried to grow elephant garlic once and the cloves actually shrunk. I grow day neutral strawberries since I don't have a long enough day for the June bearing.
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GardeningCook
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Re: Days to maturity......what exactly does that mean?

Most seed packets will clearly state whether "days to maturity" means from direct-seeding or from transplants.
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