My goal is to produce and store all of my own produce, trade the extra that I grow for other food products (goat milk, etc.), and sell enough at the Farmer’s Market to pay for my growing costs.

To reach these goals,   I need to extend our growing season whenever possible. That means planting at least 5 times during the year. The following dates are a guide…each year the weather and soil temperatures determine the actual planting dates.

 Extra-early planting         March 15-Apr 30          

I will plant seeds in my hale-bale greenhouse (see photos below from previous years). I arrange the hay bales in a rectangle, fill inside with my good garden soil, plant seeds, water and cover with old glass doors or windows. This year I will make one half the size of those shown in the photos.  I have had amazing success with these in past years.

  • spinach, lettuce, kale, chard


This year, I will also experiment with planting directly in the soil. After planting, I will cover the seeds with a frost blanket. I use floating row cover material, but they cannot be left unsecured…they will float over to Nebraska (will post photos when I plant).

  • cabbage
  • spinach, lettuce, kale, chard
  • peas

 Early  planting                  May 1-15

This the typical “cool season” vegetable planting time.

  • potato
  • onion
  • carrots, beets
  • spinach, lettuce, kale, chard
  • cabbage
  • cooks Garden soup stock mix (celeriac, root parsley, carrots,
  • Peas
  • Containers:   I am running out of space in the garden, so I am experimenting with containers of all kinds. In early May, I will plant seeds and cover containers with greenhouse plastic in hopes of getting a jump on the season for bush cukes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and more.

 Main season planting     May 22-June 15

Woo hoo! The frost date has passed and the warm season veggie planting frenzy begins. On the negative side: the tornado/hail season is in full swing. Seedlings that go out now need to be protected from the wind and hail.

On 22 May, I will plant:

  • cucumbers,  pickles,
  • summer squash, winter squash (seeds and seedlings)
  • corn
  • fennel
  • carrots, beets

On June I plant:

  • tomatoes and peppers (seeds and seedlings of both)
  • pole beans
  • herbs

Towards June 15 I will plant:

  • bush beans
  • tomatillo  (seeds and seedlings)
  • eggplant  (seedlings)
  • okra
  • loofah  (seeds and seedlings)

Fall                    July 15-30

I will plant quick growing veggies in the extra-early spots, for harvest in late Sept, early Oct.

  • sugar snap peas
  • lettuce, spinach pac choi, kale, chard, carrots, beets

Winter            Aug 15-Sept 15

Seeds planted now are a mixture of things:

  •     garlic for harvest next July
  •     carrots and broad beans for harvest next spring

  Miscellaneous comments on planting schedule:

  •  I start my own seedlings, more on this in the near future
  • I plant cabbage seed directly into the soil
  • I wait until early June to plant bush beans, tomatillo  (seeds and seedlings),eggplant  (seedlings),okra, and loofah  (seeds and seedlings) because they are heat lovers and will just SIT in the ground quietly rotting away until soil and air temps are just right! I’ve tried to rush them but it doesn’t work.
  • I plant seeds and seedlings of longer season crops (winter squash, gourds, tomatillos). They do not really like being transplanted but if it works, I get a few extra weeks from them. Some years, the season is just a tad short for very long season winter squash and only the transplanted ones have time to produce)
  • If you want to get more out of your garden by extending the season, it helps to understand the following: many vegetable plants are far hardier than we realize, many seeds can survive a harsh winter and germinate the following year just fine, and some   vegetables even overwinter and/or store well in the ground. I will explore all of these later in the season.

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