Do Not Plant Winter Vegetable Garden in January in Zone 7b

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With 6 inches of snow on the ground today, it is hard to believe that this is the month [January] to plant the winter garden.  

[Correction to this post] – Last year, winter would not let go.  I tried to follow this schedule but I failed.  This year is supposed to be equally brutal here.  Against what I read and reported, I’ll wait a bit to plant my 2016 Spring Garden.

Following is a list of the vegetables that I will be planting in a few weeks, along with the dates that I plan to plant them.  Most of these can be planted later; but I plan to get a jump on things.

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January 15 – February 14 – Turnips [As Soon as the Soil Can Be Worked]

Planting

  • Loosen the soil to a 12-15 inch depth and mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost.
  • Start sowing as soon as the ground is workable.
  • Space early types 9 inches apart, thinning seedlings to 4 inches.
  • Space maincrop types 12 inches apart, thinning to 6 inches.
  • Do not cover the seeds with more than 1/2 an inch of soil.
  • Do not thin if growing for greens only.

  • To get the best head start, turn over your pea planting beds in the fall, add manure to the soil, and mulch well.
  • As with other legumes, pea roots will fix nitrogen in the soil, making it available for other plants.
  • Peas will appreciate a good sprinkling of wood ashes to the soil before planting.
  • Sow seeds outdoors 4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost, when soil temperatures reach 45 degrees F.
  • Plant 1 inch deep (deeper if soil is dry) and 2 inches apart.
  • Get them in the ground while the soil is still cool but do not have them sit too long in wet soil. It’s a delicate balance of proper timing and weather conditions. For soil that stays wet longer, invest in raised beds.
  • A blanket of snow won’t hurt emerging pea plants, but several days with temperatures in the teens could. Be prepared to plant again.
  • Peas are best grown in temperatures below 70 degrees F.

Care

  • Make sure that you have well-drained, humus-rich soil.
  • Poke in any seeds that wash out. (A chopstick is an ideal tool for this.)
  • Be sure, too, that you don’t fertilize the soil too much. Peas are especially sensitive to too much nitrogen, but they may like a little bonemeal, for the phosphorus content.
  • Though adding compost or manure to the soil won’t hurt, peas don’t need heavy doses of fertilizer. They like phosphorus and potassium.
  • Water sparsely unless the plants are wilting. Do not let plants dry out, or no pods will be produced.
  • For tall and vine varieties, establish poles or a trellis at time of planting.
  • Do not hoe around plants to avoid disturbing fragile roots.
  • It’s best to rotate pea crops every year or two to avoid a buildup of soil-borne diseases.

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Carrots February 28

Carrots are a popular root vegetable that are easy to grow in sandy soil. They are resistant to most pests and diseases, and are a good late season crop that can tolerate frost. Not all carrots are orange; varieties vary in color from purple to white.

Planting

  • Plan to plant seeds outdoors 3 to 5 weeks before the last spring frost date.
  • Make sure your soil is free of stones; carrots need deeply tilled soil that they can push through.
  • Have you ever seen a carrot that has grown “legs” or forked? Fresh manure, or even recently applied rotted manure, can cause carrots to fork and send out little side roots. Don’t use it before you plant your seeds.
  • Plant seeds 3-4 inches apart in rows. Rows should be at least a foot apart.

Care

  • Gently mulch to retain moisture, speed germination and block the sun from the roots.
  • Soil should be well drained and loose to prevent forking and stunting of the root growth.
  • Once plants are an inch tall, thin so they stand 3 inches apart. Snip them with scissors instead of pulling them out to prevent damage to the roots of remaining plants.
  • Water at least one inch per week.
  • Weed diligently.
  • Fertilize 5-6 weeks after sowing.
  • Carrots taste much better after a couple of frosts. Following the first hard frost in the fall, cover carrot rows with an 18-inch layer of shredded leaves to preserve them for harvesting later.

Planting Information from: http://www.almanac.com/

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