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Hardiness…planting and energy

March 30, 2012

Whatever the cause, it is more and more apparent that the climate has been changing. The mild winter has many of us home gardeners scratching our heads willing to get our gardens ready, but the cautious among us warn it is still too early.

The USDA revised the Hardiness Zone Map in 2012 and an interactive map found online will present a statewide map and will give the zone for any zipcode as well.

However, the map is only a guide. Your entire yard could be somewhat warmer or cooler than the surrounding area because it is sheltered or exposed. You also could have pockets within your garden that are warmer or cooler than the general zone for your area or for the rest of your yard, such as a sheltered area in front of a south-facing wall or a low spot where cold air pools first. No hardiness zone map can take the place of the detailed knowledge that gardeners pick up about their own gardens through hands-on experience.

My bulbs started blooming in late February and these tulips greeted me when I returned from my spring break road trip last weekend. The perennials in our herb garden in the backyard are growing and I have begun to harvest some.   So, what does this mild winter mean for spring planting?

The danger for a frost still exists. Ground temperatures are probably not at the warmth needed to help seeds generate, but recommendations abound for transplanted seedlings.

Rich Sherman, the West Virginia Agricultural Extension agent for Cabell County warns that cold weather crops can certainly be started now, but plants such as tomatoes still should wait for may 1 at least. A general guideline for the month of March includes:

VEGETABLES

Sow Indoors  

Sow Outdoors 

Transplant

Artichoke, globe

XXX

   
Arugula  

XXX

 
Asparagus    

XXX

Beet  

XXX

 

Broccoli 

XXX

 

 

Cabbage 

XXX

 

XXX

Carrot  

XXX

 

Celery 

XXX

 

 

Chard

XXX

   
Eggplant

XXX

   
Endive

XXX

XXX

XXX

Fava bean  

XXX

 
Fennel, bulb

XXX

   
Kale

XXX

 

XXX

Kohlrabi

XXX

XXX

XXX

Leek 

XXX

 

XXX

Lettuce

XXX

XXX

XXX

Mache 

 

XXX

 

Onions, bulb 

XXX

 

 

Pac choi

XXX

XXX

XXX

Parsnip  

XXX

 
Peas (snow, shell, snap)

XXX

 
Peppers

XXX

   
Potatoes  

XXX

 
Radishes  

XXX

 
Rhubarb    

XXX

Radicchio

XXX

XXX

XXX

Scallion (green onion) 

XXX

 

XXX

Sorrel  

XXX

 
Spinach  

XXX

XXX

Tomato

XXX

   
Turnip  

XXX

 
CULINARY HERBS 

Sow Indoors  

Sow Outdoors 

Transplant

Basil XXX  
Chives XXX XXX XXX
Cilantro XXX XXX  
Fennel, leaf 

XXX

  XXX
Marjoram 

XXX

   
Parsley 

XXX

XXX  XXX
Rosemary XXX    
Sage XXX    
Savory, summer 

XXX

   
Thyme XXX   XXX
10 Comments leave one →
  1. March 30, 2012 4:38 pm

    I recall a few years back, 6 I think, I was 60 some degrees a few days in January here in northern Indiana. That drove me crazy because all I could think about was tomato. I had to keep telling my self it was January.
    The warm and now this cold spell likely will have an impact on fruit this year. Hope the farmers and the fruit have made it through OK.

    I totally enjoy my garden. Success to all this year!
    Robert

    • March 30, 2012 4:50 pm

      My husband and I are proud to have been recognized as small farmers as we supply herbs to one of our local restaurants who tries to use local ingredients, but staying patient to plant was something I had to check on. Probably the farmers who read this blog did not need this reminder to take it easy. I think as more and more people are getting into having backyard gardens, it was a timely reminder.

  2. March 30, 2012 7:18 pm

    I think we could start to plant according to the charts, but everything is way too soggy at the moment.

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