Do you question which vegetables should be started indoors for transplanting and which seeds can be sown directly in your garden? We'd like to highlight some common warm & cool-season crops and how to get your garden plot off to a great start!
Garden vegetables can be classified by the temperature in which they produce at their optimum growth. They are categorized as warm-season or cool-season crops. Knowing your favorite seed variety's classification will greatly help in producing the healthiest and most abundant garden harvests.
Which varieties are cool-season crops, and when should they be direct-sown outdoors?
Most cool-season crops are either salad greens or root crops. The most common cool-season vegetables are as follows: Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chicory, Fennel, Garlic, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Parsley, Parsnips, Peas, Radicchio, Radishes, Rhubarb, Scallions, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Turnips.
Cool-season vegetables have a pretty awesome ability. Most often they have two growing seasons; sowing in early spring (prior to last frost) and sowing in early fall. As the name implies, cool-season crops prefer the cold and do not like the heat of summer. Direct sowing must be done early enough in the spring so the crop can reach full maturity before daily temps get too hot. For a fall planting, the seeds require cool temperatures for proper germination.
Water & Fertilizer Requirements for Cool-Season Crops
Cool-season crops have a more shallow root system with limited access to water, compared to their warm-season counterparts. This means that cool-season crops may need to be watered and fertilized more often.
Which vegetables are considered warm season crops, and when should they started indoors to be transplanted outdoors?
Warm-season crops are typically fruits. The most common types are; Beans, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Muskmelon, Okra, Peppers (Bell & Hot), Pumpkins, Soybeans, Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Watermelon.
Warm-season vegetables grow their best in warmer summer months. We are located in Pennsylvania (Zone 6b). Warm-season crops are usually started indoors and transplanted into the garden. Starting the seedlings indoors is done because the growing season when it is 'warm' enough is too short for the plants to reach full maturity from sowing seed directly outdoors. These varieties benefit from a head start on your window sill, or under grow lights, in your home 4-6 weeks before transplanting.
These vegetables are produced in one growing season that starts shortly after the last spring frost has passed.
Water & Fertilizer Requirements for Warm-Season Crops
Warm-season crops tend to have a deeper root system with more access to water. But, as the heat of summer takes hold, water loss comes from evaporation as well as plant uptake. Watering and fertilization will be required often to maintain healthy & productive plants.
Be sure to check out all of our Vegetable seeds here. We wish you a bountiful harvest this year!