did I plant to late??

shawnalynn3(5b)May 16, 2012

This is my first year gardening and Ive learned a lot here so I figured Id ask one more question that Im worried about! I think I may have planted to late, Ive started everything from seeds and followed the directions, I live in SE Michigan zone 5b and planted indoors about 5-6 weeks ago. My tomatoes are only about 6" with 3-4 real leaves, they have made progress since Ive transplanted them so Im hoping they will catch up to all of the other toms Im seeing at the farmers markets. My sweet & hot pepper plants however are stll only 2-3" :( I havnt started cukes or zucchini as the instructions said to sew in garden after frost is over. Ive heard that this is the common time to plant in the garden but was I suposed to start everything indoors? Everything I see at the farmers markets are huge compared to mine:( Also my eggplants are small like my peppers. Is there any chance they will catch up now that Im going to put them in the ground? Ive had one problem after another. I cant wait another year lol! ( the toms were transplanted into larger pots and started getting bigger while the peppers and eggplant are still in the jiffy pots.)

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Be careful comparing your veggies to what is at the farmer's market. At Springfield's farmers market here in illinois, 95% of the vegetables that are being sold are not grown locally. I even caught one guy who had bought tomatoes at the grocery store before he came.

This time of year for your area, any vegetables that are warm weather crops, like tomatoes and cukes and peppers were either grown in a hot house with professional grow lights to counter the shorter spring daylength, or were shipped in from somewhere farther south.

Keep your eye on fields you see. Corn is planted first, and 2-3 weeks later beans are planted. Corn will tolerate light frosts, but will die completely if it gets a hard frost. Soybeans will NOT tolerate even a whiff of frost.

so tomatoes, just like soybeans, will not tolerate temperatures close to 35 degrees. The same goes for peppers, cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, zuchini, squash.

cold weather crops generally are ones that can withstand temperatures down to 25 degrees. Onions, garlic, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, carrots, parsnips will all tolerate cold temperatures and grow well even if the air has a chill.

So no, you are not late, if anything you are early for where you are. The average last frost date for detroit is May 12th, and the rule of thumb with average frost dates is you can always get a frost 2 weeks after the average last frost date.

Keep an eye on the weather, and if the forecast calls for low temperatures below 40, cover your warm weather (like your tomatoes) seedlings that have emerged from the soil with anything you can, a bucket, a light blanket, anything. But only for emerged seedlings. seeds planted that haven't yet emerged aren't in any danger from frosts.

If I lived where you are I'd think it was early yet. The average last frost date for detroit is October 9th, so you have PLENTY of time to grow a bountiful crop.

As a reference, you will be about 2-3 weeks behind me, and I transplanted tomatoes on the 18th of April.

Here is a link that might be useful: frost dates for MI towns

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 10:46PM
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Oh I forgot to add about the farmer's market as far as when you will actually see locally grown outdoor crops at the market... add 2-4 weeks to these dates:

Sweet corn: anytime after July 4th
Tomatoes: mid june, more in july and august
Peppers: same as tomatoes
melons: after July 30th
Broccoli: April 15 through June 15th
Beans: late june will be the FIRST garden grown green beans
onions and potatoes: late july

Here is a link that might be useful: My Garden

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 11:00PM
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ah what would i do with out you haha. I feel better about it now, thanks. Im just worried becuase if my plants dont grow, I dont want my husband thinking I tore up most of our backyard for nothing! :) I did buy 8 heirloom varieties from a guy from the farmers market that I trust. Juuust in case mine dont make it for some reason :) Thanks for all of your help!!!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 11:34PM
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I know how nerve wracking this can be the first time, and gardening is such an experience, everyone should know the joys and hard work that it takes to make food. So many of us just go to the store and *poof* there it is in the bin waiting for us to buy it.

Act as if ye have faith and faith shall be given to you =)

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 12:06AM
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You'll feel better when your younger transplants are thriving while the overaged market plants languish.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 6:03AM
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Some good advice here. Just a little FYI, I usually don't plant out the majority of my garden until Memorial Day weekend and continue to plant warmer weather crops (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, beans, etc) through the first week of June. Growers really started to push the season when we had a few warm spells. I don't think it'll happen this year (fingers crossed), but I've seen frost in June!

I'm in zone 5 too.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 12:58PM
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Chris, 95%? Really? :O

If anyone did that at our farmers' market, they would be paraded through the town square and chased out of town (well, almost!).

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 2:06PM
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They get away with it because the city slickers in springfield don't know the difference, and the people who do know the difference don't go to it anymore. There are roadside stands all over springfield during the summer with people who have "home grown" produce, tomatoes as hard as a rock and potatoes from a bag with a bit of soil sprinkled on top.. it's really criminal here.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 2:38PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Chris, you gave some really good information. Most all I agree with, some I don't.

Those growers, as myself, that grow inside high tunnels (unheated greenhouses) will have lots of produce earlier than everyone else. For example, we have been picking zucchini for 2 weeks, cucumbers will start next week. We will be harvesting tomatoes by the end of May/early June. Peppers will be mid June (would have been sooner, but I got them in late). We have been digging carrots for a month now.

At my Markets I have to compete with resellers and it stinks. My stuff is priced higher and some people act like they don't believe me. However, I show pictures and direct them to my website and now they are loyal customers.

This year has been crazy warm in Kansas, I planted green beans on March 26th, they are blooming now and we will start picking them in a week or two!

Shawnalynn- You will be just fine. Get those plants out soon and you will have a great year.


Here is a link that might be useful: Jay's Jellies website

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 3:58PM
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melfield_wy(5b Wyoming)

I plant on Memorial Day too. All the seedlings go in, then I direct sow the beans, cucs, squash. And then all through June I watch the garden and worry: the plants all seem so small and they seem to not be growing. Every year I am just sure that the whole garden will be a dismal failure. And then... in early July everything explodes! One day you go outside and everything is just huge! I have finally figured out that the plants are creating their root systems in June and that I HAVE to be patient. Still, I worry every single year. Patience is the name of the game in May and June for those of us in Zone 5.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 4:16PM
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Jay that's a stunning setup you have there, my hat is off to you sir! I suppose I shouldn't be so hard on the local farmer's market guys, but it's difficult when so many of the vendors are blatantly cheating. There are a few guys there that have top notch vegetables, but most of their produce is gone ten minutes after the market opens.

Those times I gave are when I generally see the first crops of that type, and for her being 150 miles north of me, and her frost dates I just had her add 2-4 weeks to my times, as a ballpark estimate for outdoor grown veggies.

Your blog is excellent, I can't stop reading it. Sooo many tomatoes in there it made my eyes pop out!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 6:41PM
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i am in Michigan as well and all my stuff is out i will be planting sweetcorn this weekend and you tomes are way higher than mine you should be ok to plant everything now

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 6:51PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Thanks Chris, Your blog ain't too shabby either. I like that we are both running the same tiller. I am on my 2nd one. I blew the motor several weeks ago. But it has been run VERY hard.

Keep checking back, school is almost over. During the summer, I try to make a posting ever day to every other day. I am way behind on post!


    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 7:13PM
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Thanks everyone, I just keep second guessing everything. And Melfield- that sounds like me exactly, Im already checking on my plants several times a day wondering why they grow so slow and if they will ever take off or what if they start to grow and they just all die and I wasted so much time haha! So I will keep what you said in mind and try to be patient until July...sounds easeier said than done :)

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 9:40AM
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Oh and at the farmers markets, how can I tell whos re-selling or not??? Ive always wondered this

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 9:43AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

The best way is to ask, then ask specifics. Don't just ask, "Was this Locally Grown". That is a yes/no question that is an easy lie. Ask, "What variety is this, When was it planted, who do you get seeds from, How big of a plant is it?"

If they were the actual grower, they shouldn't have a problem telling you it is a small plant, we got the seed from Bubba's Best Seeds, we planted it on April 1 and the variety is XYZ.

Also, if they have pictures, that helps.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 10:15AM
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