Warm-season vegetables can not survive in cold weather. Some of the more popular plants that fall under this classification are tomato, beans, eggplant, melon, pepper, corn, and cucumber. A single morning frost can kill these fragile vegetables. This means you should plant them after the last frost date. Precisely when this takes place will depend on the area in which you live and the expected weather patterns. Use the Almanac planting calendar to find out the right planting time for your area.
They can technically grow anywhere between the temperatures of 60 and 95F (16 and 35C). Temperatures outside of that range in either direction can cause the plants to either die off or stop growing well. This article will explain how to grow warm-season vegetables in detail, with sections going over growing tips and extending the season.
Warm-Season Vegetable Growing Tips
Here are some helpful tricks and tips that will have your leafy greens growing strong and healthy. Each of these factors is important when it comes to producing a healthy yield of any size. You should know if you don’t give each factor proper attention the plant will suffer.
The ideal temperature for germinating the seeds of warm-season vegetables is between 80 and 95F (27 and 35C). Yet, the can withstand low temperatures as far as 60F (16C). You can check your soil’s temperature by inserting a Soil Thermometer at the recommended planting depth. You can also download apps that give estimations of soil temperature and moisture based on local weather patterns.
Warm-season Vegetables love sunlight, they need at least eight hours a day of direct sunlight. Consider planting in the south side of your backyard, it is warmer and gets more sunlight in the northern hemisphere.
Water makes up to 96% of vegetable plant content, make sure that your vegetables get frequent access to water. If you live in an area that does not get a lot of rain, plant your garden near your home or any source of water. This helps to make watering much easier. It is just as important that the water content of your soil remains consistent. Going from too dry to wet can cause the roots to rot.
The best rule of thumb is to water your vegetables with 1 inch of water per week. In hot weather, you need to monitor the soil and don’t let it get dry. That means you might need to water your garden every other day. If you are using water can or hose, water your garden using a slow small stream. This helps the water to go deeper and reach every part of the soil around the plant roots.
Try to avoid dumping water straight onto the plant leaves. That reduces the chance of fungal and disease problems.
We grow warm-season vegetables for their fruits, and to produce fruits they go through three different stages of growth. Each stage needs a different kind of fertilizing.
For example, while seeds do not require fertilizer to germinate, they will need a nitrogen-rich fertilizer once they become seedlings. When they start to produce flowers they will need a fertilizer high in Phosphorus to set fruit.
Follow the instructions listed on the back of the seeds package, and ask your local supplier about the fertilizers you need to use in each stage of growth.
Pollination takes place when pollen is transferred from the male part of a plant to the female part. This is how fertilization and the creation of seeds are produced. Plants will not develop fruit if they are not pollinated. Self-pollinating plants have the necessary female and male sexual organs that make it unnecessary for outside interference.
For plants that are not self-pollinating, there are several ways in which the pollen is transferred. Corn, for example, needs wind to pollinate. However, the most common way of pollination is by insects like bees and butterflies. Some flowers attract these types of insects, so make sure there are some insects drawing flowers nearby.
Extending the Growing Season
Generally, warm-season vegetables require between 80 to 100 days of optimal weather to achieve their full potential. If you live in an area that has shorter summers or if you would like to give your plants more time to take advantage of the sunlight and heat, then there are a few easy ways to extend the growing season.
Start Seeding Indoors
You can start your seeds indoors several weeks before the last frost date. By doing that you will give your plants a head start of the season and transplant them outside when the weather gets warm enough.
Additional Methods for Heating Soil and Air
Mulch helps the soil to warm early. Also, you can plant under plastic covers or inside greenhouses to protect your garden from frost damage.
No matter what type of warm-season vegetable you are looking to grow, there are some efficient and quick ways to make sure they produce quality food stock. The most important thing to remember is that a holistic approach to tending your garden and consistency with how you care for it are major contributing factors to a successful season.