It’s Not Too Late!

I’m feeling so behind.

I live in the Green Group, and for me it’s already week (-6). I have started my broccoli and parsley, but have yet to start my hot peppers, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Outside I should have planted peas and onions.

Instead, I have 6 bags of compost in my garage, and garden beds in every kind of disarray. My trellises are outside and ready to go–because I left them there all winter!

All spring, the weather has been taunting me. It gets warm one day, and I think, “If it’s like this tomorrow, I’m going to work in my garden.” And the next day is beautiful, but I realize I need to go to the store to buy compost or seeds. And the following day, when I’m really excited to get out there and get things done, it snows.

So this message is for me, and for those who are feeling behind:

IT’S NOT TOO LATE!!!

One of the wonderful things about gardening is that it’s almost never too late. There is so much you CAN do, but few things that HAVE to be done at exactly a certain time. So stop saying “I should have. . .” and replace it with “I could have. . . but I CAN STILL . . .”

Red and Orange groups–honestly, it’s a little late to start onions. But if you want to make salsa, you CAN STILL plant tomatoes and peppers (actually, you have to wait a few weeks), buy the onions and you’ll be sitting pretty!

Red and Orange groups–Other cool-weather plants like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and collard greens could have been planted several weeks ago. You CAN STILL buy transplants, put them in a spot that gets afternoon shade, and hope for the best. By week (0) these would be on the edge for me because where I live it heats up really quickly. But if you live in a more temperate location with a long spring, I’d say you have a fighting chance to grow these veggies.

Red and Orange groups–Parsley could have been planted a while back, but you CAN STILL plant it–buy a transplant.

Red and Orange groups–You could have started lettuce, spinach, carrots, radishes, Swiss chard, and beets during the past several weeks, but you CAN STILL plant all of these!

Red, Orange, and Yellow groups–Peas are best started early, but you really CAN STILL plant some. Your yield may be lower, but if you love fresh peas it might be worth giving them a square or two!

Truly, there are few things that it’s too late to grow, even for those with earlier frost dates (Red and Orange groups, have you figured out that I’m talking to you?).

Yellow and Green groups–gardening is just beginning for you! Don’t plan on starting a lot of seeds inside, just go buy the transplants. If your garden beds aren’t ready, make a goal to prepare them this week or even next week.

One thing I’ve realized is that if it’s snow that keeps stopping me, then it’s not really time for gardening outside yet anyway. Most seeds need warmer temperatures to germinate, so planting a week or two earlier when it’s cold isn’t really a benefit.

Blue and Violet groups–I know you probably feel anxious to get started! But come back and read this post in a month, or whenever you are feeling behind.

Remember “I could have. . . but I STILL CAN. . .

Happy Gardening!

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11 Responses

  1. Emily says:

    I believe that means 65 days from planting to harvesting.

  2. Chad says:

    Hi, Emily. I am square-foot gardening this year for the first time. Your site has been invaluable and I appreciate it so much. I am an internet developer by profession so I know just how much time you put into developing your site, your tools and keeping things up-to-date (plus raising a family!).

    I have one question that I haven’t been able to find a good answer to. I am working with existing beds that are a soil/compost mixture that I hope to amend a little at a time. I set aside one area of my raised bed (3×9) where I amended the soil with peat moss to make it lighter for carrots. Can I just plant the whole things with 27 squares of carrots 16 to a square? Seems like that would be a little crowded. Am I to understand that one of the “tricks” of sqf gardening is the companion planting where you have root crops next to non-root crops? Would you recommend that I amend some other squares in my bed for carrots and inter-plant them throughout the rest of the bed? Thanks!

  3. Emily says:

    Chad–you can plant 27 squares of carrots with 16 in each, but that is an awful lot! Carrots won’t compete with each other for space, but they will compete with onions, beets, potatoes, etc. So plant them all together if you want.

    If you feel 16 per square is too crowded, just plant 9 per square. Check the back of your seed packet for plant spacing, and go here to figure it out. Remember, you can ignore the row spacing–rows function as a place to walk and since you can reach everything and won’t be walking in your beds, it’s unnecessary.

  4. Jack says:

    So when the seed pack notes 65 days to harvest , does that mean 65 days from the day they germinate?

  5. Richard says:

    I have great news! There was an Easter miracle! My corn have surfaced. Now I just have to keep them alive. Thanks for your help!

  6. Emily says:

    I’m sure the seeds are fine, just need a little more time!

  7. Richard says:

    The seeds I bought were at either Lowes or Home Depot. If I remember correctly, the seed brand was Burpee and they were brand new. I’m still hopeful for a successful germination. The soil temps have been averaging in the 70s in the day but the air temp at night is still dropping in the mid 40s. So I think it may have something to do with the recent “cold” snap we had last week that detered them a bit. Also, if I remember right, the seed packet said 8 to 14 days for germination so I still have another couple of days. I’ll probably give them till the friday after Easter then I will reassess the likelihood of germination. I did lightly dig into the hole and check on things yesterday. I think I saw a possible germination beginning so yay for that!

  8. Rachel says:

    Yes, yes, yes!!

    I admit, here in Virginia (orange group), we were not able to get a lot of stuff done as early as usual because of snow lingering too!!

    But I also know that some of the things I will be planting from transplants (because my house just doesn’t have a spot for seeds)… so I am not fretting about tomatoes. No- I just have to prevent myself buying them too early from my local nursery 😉

  9. Emily says:

    A couple of thoughts–I don’t think planting those seeds a week early is the problem. First, how long does the seed packet say it takes corn to germinate? I give it 25% more time before replanting, especially if it has been a little cooler than usual. Second, did you buy quality seeds? I have found that cheap seeds are just that, cheap. Many won’t germinate at all–I’ve replanted up to 3 times when using cheap seeds. When I say cheap, I mean less than $1 per packet. Are they new seeds or stored from previous years? Old seeds can also have problems germinating.

    Since you’re in the red group, you can plant corn for the next several weeks. So you have a little time to offer your corn before planting again. Make sure to keep it watered and let nature take it’s course. It could be they are waiting for Easter–I’d wait at least that long! :)

  10. Richard says:

    You are absolutely right Emily! It’s not too late to do some spring planting. Of course I live in a Red Group area so I’m been gardening for a good while now. Though, I may have jumped the gun on sowing corn. Yes, I direct sowed corn last week. I just couldn’t help myself. They looked so lonely in their seed packets and I just couldn’t resist. (Or maybe it was me not being patient and waiting till the proper timeframe….) Well, it’s been a full week and I have no sprouts…so should I get a priest of some kind to give the corn seeds their last rites or give them more time? With the risk of sounding sacreligious, this weekend is Easter so maybe a Easter miracle will happen! What do you think Emily?

  11. Erin says:

    Just found your blog and I love it!!! We are going to try our first garden this year, I am so excited about all the info you give here! Thank you!