Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Let’s go googling and why does “Days to Harvest” matter?
Floating in a sea of catalogs, immersed in a maze of vegetables and perennials SHOUTING at you to buy them, try them, eat them! While these companies are reputable, because most of my audience hales from the colder climate zones, I suggest googling! I KNOW, there’s a lot of bunk on the internet, however, check your sources and take a peek at how these new plants grow in YOUR climate zone.
Compare and verify. You need to pay attention to the specifics of light requirements, what type of soil your plant likes best (what type YOU have) and how disease resistant a variety might be, this one is particularly valuable for vegetable growing if you’ve had issues in the past. It’s also important to know what zone you live in. Check out the zone map to the right.
Because our growing season in the north is short, we need to pay special attention to the “days to harvest” number on those veggie seeds.
Some packets will say “maturity” others may says “days to harvest” or “days to maturity”…. pay attention to that. For zones 3 to 5 we “generally” have between 120 to 160 frost free days. [Zone 3 is colder.] That doesn’t necessarily mean warm, as we know! Plants like tomatoes and peppers like it warm. We’ll talk more about early warming of your soil in other Garden Bites.
Remember to check your local garden centers first for any variety of seeds or plants that you prefer. Keeping it local is good for the economy, good for our planet in terms of shipping in trucks and it’s generally cheaper. Getting your seeds and plant material locally is also handy in that you have a built in resource to go to if you have questions or concerns about your plants. They’re most likely grown locally and are acclimated to our climate.
But there are always those seeds and plants that are not available locally, then do take advantage of those catalog offerings. Check out my Favorite Links tab and for further research on online companies go to Garden Watchdog.
Here’s a quick guide to the more common plant disease resistance codes:
- A – Anthracnose – fungus
- AB – Early Blight – fungus
- B – Bacterial wilt – bacteria
- F – Fusarium wilt – fungus
- V – Verticillium wilt – fungus – the above link for Fusarium wilt also covers verticillium wilt
- PM – Powdery mildew – fungus
Johnny Seeds has a much larger list. Click HERE
While much of what I focused on today is vegetables, it’s also a very good idea to research perennials, shrubs, trees and roses for your region as well. I know that I’ve found some plants are listed with different climate zone tolerance depending on the site you go too. In that case, adding a little extra mulch for the winter or planting them on a berm (generally slightly warmer) or out of the wind will make the difference.