By Sherie Caffey, CSU Extension-Pueblo County Horticulture Agent
I don’t know about you, but I am so excited that it’s almost time to plant my vegetable garden! I love to grow pretty flowers and interesting native plants, but my veggie garden has always been my favorite. It makes me feel so proud to pick things from the garden and feed it to my family, not to mention there is nothing quite as tasty as home grown produce!
|My little transplants under an LED light|
Warm season vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers can’t be planted outside until the danger of frost has passed. Considering we live in Colorado, this can be quite the guessing game as to when it’s safe to plant. To get a good idea, check out the CSU Extension ClimateSummary for your area. This summary will give you probabilities of having a frost on certain dates in your area. For example, in Pueblo, on May 1, there is a 50% chance the temperature will get down to 32° F. The summary also has a nifty chart that shows you when to plant which crops based on normal temperatures. Although we don’t know what the weather will bring, this is a good resource to help you take your best guess.
|Getting my little plants used to the great outdoors|
Even when the danger of frost passes, you shouldn’t just stick brand new transplants out into the garden without giving them some time to get used to being outdoors. I like to start my new plants outside for 10 minutes, and bump it up every day until they can handle being out there for hours.
|My garden beds after adding new compost|
Another thing you can do if you still have some time to wait before you can plant some of your vegetables, is to make sure your soil is ready! I have relatively new garden beds so I added a few inches of compost to my beds and incorporated that a couple inches into the existing soil. This will add organic matter and hopefully give me a bountiful harvest.
To get in depth information on when to plant a certain vegetable, spacing, germination days, days to maturity or really anything else check out this Vegetable Planting Guide from CSU Extension.