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For the Garden Challenged: When/What to Plant in Nebraska

Written by Leslie Means
I asked mom to get me a list.  No, seriously – I need a list.  What to plant?  When to plant?  It’s all greek to me.
 
I like the idea of gardening.  But every spring this quote from Steel Magnolias comes to mind…(talking about tomatoes)
 
Ousier – Somebody’s gotta take em. I hate em. I try not to eat healthy food if I can possibly help it. The sooner my body gives out the better off I’ll be… I can’t get enough grease into my diet.
 
Anelle – Then why do you grow them? 
 
Ouiser – Because I’m an old Southern woman and we’re supposed to wear funny looking hats and ugly clothes and grow vegetables in the dirt. Don’t ask me those questions. I don’t know why, I don’t make the rules. 

No.  Really.  Same thing.  Except I’m not southern and I do actually like to eat veggies (although I’m fond of grease, too.  I know.)

Mostly, I just like flowers and plants.  But I come from a long line of farmers and my mother and three older sisters also have nice gardens and plants.

So dang it, I will too.

Here’s the list from my mom on what to plant and when.  Hope it helps you on your garden adventure!

Dear Garden Challenged Daughter!

Things that can be planted when the evenings are still chilly (mid to upper 40’s)  broccoli plants, cabbage plants, lettuce seeds,  radish seeds, pea seeds, white potatoes.  Don’t plant anything else until  all danger of frost is past ( about the 15th of May in south central  Nebraska — I’m sure will be different in other parts of the state)….bean  seeds, beets, carrots (these need warmer ground for the seed to  germinate).  Wait until after the middle of May to plant the tender plants  like tomatoes, peppers, egg plant.  Plant cucumbers, pumpkins, squash  seeds, watermelon, sweet potato plants the third week in May or  later.  Once again they need the warm ground to germinate.  All of  these tender plants (tomatoes, peppers, egg plants) should probably have some  kind of wind/cold protection when first set out.  All of these are  estimated dates from years of trial and error.  We all get really eager and  probably “push the normal” all the time with success some times and failure at  others.

Start seeds indoors with something as simple as sterile  potting soil and a “shop light”-type fluorescent light.  The favorites of  tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, watermelon plants should be started no more than  3-4 weeks before you want to set them out.  Wait until they get “true  leaves” (as opposed to the fist leaves after germination) and then let them hug  the fluorescent light until you are ready to set out.  If they don’t have  this kind of light they will get long and spindly and won’t survive the  transplant to the garden.  Give your plants a sip of diluted general  purpose fertilizer after the true leaves have come on.  A few days before  you are ready to plant (and it’s warm enough) set your plants along the  semi shaded area of your house foundation to “harden”…that is to get  tough enough to stand the Nebraska winds and sun.  They will need to be  protected in this foundation bed as well.  The transition to the outside is  “shocking” to them.  Be sure to check multiple times a day when they are in  this hardening stage to be sure they have enough water, are not getting beat up  by the wind and that your cat hasn’t decided this will be a warm, protected spot  to sunbathe as well. 

Indoor plants should be coming out of the winter rest  and could probably stand a shot of general purpose fertilizer at anytime  now.  If you are going to need to repot them for outdoor summer display I  like to use potting soil that already has slow release fertilize and those  “moisturizer crystals” in it.  Now is the time to clip off the dead leaves  and reshape your houseplants.  All my plants spend the summer on the porch.  (This year they will be getting a new home on the porches at our new home).   As with the garden plants the houseplants also need a hardening period after  going outside.  I just let them hug the outside house wall for a week or so  before I move them into a more open spot.

For you I would suggest that you WATER your plants and  keep the cat out of them!!!  Love, Mom

Thanks, mom!  She’s right with the watering thing.  I forget. 

Here’s a handy dandy little chart for you to use when you’re hunting for those plants!  (note:  this is south central Nebraska dates – and can vary in different locations throughout the state.

whentoplant

Feature Image from Herb GardeningInscribed Photography

About the author

Leslie Means

Leslie is the co-founder and owner of Her View From Home.com. She is also a former news anchor, published children’s book author, weekly columnist, and has several published short stories as well.

She is married to a very patient man. Together they have two pretty fantastic little girls ages 8 and 6 and one little dude born March 2017!

When she’s not sharing too much personal information online and in the newspaper – you’ll find Leslie somewhere in Nebraska hanging out with family and friends. There’s also a 75% chance at any given time, you’ll spot her in the aisles at Target.