The lament is real. It hits Mother’s Day weekend and on every Facebook community page (and backyard gardening page) people start freaking out that they have missed the magical start line. But the thing is, in Grow Zone 8b (and even into Zone 7) you have time plenty for most crops. There are exceptions of course. Tomatoes that are giant heirloom ones, especially the deeply colored black and blueish ones, they are hard to get a successful crop if the plants are not started in the end of winter, you can’t start seeds in Mid May, but you can plant a large start you purchased and catch up. If a crop is 110 days from seeding to harvest, your chances do diminish for success, but even then that is only the end of August if you were to start it by May 15th. So yes, you have time. In fact, you have PLENTY of time still. To even grow a couple times of succesion rows, of items such as bush beans, carrots, lettuce and beets.
If you are really behind, find a good local source of starts and buy them up. Just make sure the starts look healthy and were kept watered while waiting to sell. Avoid starts with wilty texture and yellowed leaves. In general I avoid starts from big box stores such as certain home improvement chains that is “HD” or “L”. They don’t water often enough and often sell varieties that don’t grow well locally. But local farm stores are often a good source, as are nurseries and local farms.
The good news is outside of the heat wave in early April, we have had a relatively cool spring. Locally, on Whidbey Island we are seeing upper 50’s to mid 60’s during the day time. We will cross 15 hours daylight this week. And for the foreseeable future the weather stays the same. This buys us time, where as a hot May can eat up time. It has also been rainy the past week, meaning the things you plant will grow well.
In a few short months I will discuss what to start for your late summer/fall garden.
So! It’s Monday. Let’s get our gloves on, and get to work on eating awesome in a few short months.
(Waiting to be put in the ground)
Crops to start from seed, direct sowed:
- Bush Green Beans
- Bush Yellow Beans
- Bush Purple Beans
- Pole Beans, but look for as short of days as possible
- Bush Green Peas (They often can produce before it gets too hot)
- Hardy Spinach (more delicate verities may go to flower)
- Kale, especially dwarf types
- Summer Squash such as zucchini
- Pickling Cucumbers
- Small gourds for decorations (such as mini pumpkins)
- Swiss Chard
- Short Season Sweet Corn (as short as possible)
- Bell and Hot Peppers
- Green Onions (Scallions)
- Winter Squashes
- Melons, such as small watermelon and cantaloupe, if your grow areas are warm and sunny
- Strawberry, consider ever-bearing as you get strawberries all season long instead of June bearing
Start from seed, in pots for transplanting later:
- Swiss Chard
- Bush beans, to proceed with a second or third seeding, to give a crop all summer long