Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Why Local, Experienced Gardeners Are A Major Advantage To A Newbie

The first thing people tell 'new-to-gardening' beginning gardeners is to do some research before you begin.
Good advice...
Most of these people take the most convenient way out and hit the internet.
But, there is so much misinformation wandering around on the web that they should probably take what information they find with a grain of salt, unless it is from a well known and trusted site. And, even then...

Take last frost dates as an example:

Old Farmers Almanac results for close to my area-

Syracuse, NY - Last spring frost date - April 28
Albany, NY - Last spring frost date - May 7

Victory Seed results for close to my area-

Syracuse, NY - Last spring frost date - May 14
Albany, NY - Last spring frost date - May 24

Big, big difference in dates.
And if you ask an experienced gardener in this neck of the woods - both WRONG.
Granted, Victory Seeds is close, but that date isn't anywhere near reliable. You'd be taking a huge gamble on believing those dates and planting warm weather veg and annuals that early.
Hardy annuals, no problem. Peppers, well...most likely dead if you didn't know enough to cover them.

Here, the safe date to plant is usually Memorial Day or after.

I almost always wait to plant on June 1, after checking the 10 day forecast. Sometimes I'll take that gamble, but not often. The last fog of winter was February 24, so the last frost should be before May 24 this year. According to the full moon for May, we shouldn't get one after the 20th. We'll see.

The problem most new gardeners run into is that they check, check, check the air temps and completely ignore the soil temperatures.
Warm season plants like warm soil much more than they care about warm air.

You can go ahead and plant, but if the soil is cool they'll just sit there doing nothing or end up stunted waiting for the ideal conditions. If you've lovingly nurtured your plants from seed all through the cold spring or don't have the cash to replace dead transplants, are you going to take the chance on gambling with Ma Nature?
I hope not.

Do you live at a weird elevation, slope or micro climate? Then those last frost dates are going to be even further off in one direction or the other.

So, got questions? Seriously, forget the net, find a book specific to your area or/and experienced gardeners and ask away.
You'll find the books inspirational and the gardeners more than happy to pass on their tips, tricks and hard learned knowledge.



Flighty said...

Good advice! I bet that you can't wait for early June to get gardening there in earnest! xx

Christine said...

I agree, I love to read, and taught myself so much just from reading. If it's veggy gardening, I will tell everyone Dick Raymond is the way to go!

Matt and Jen said...

Hi Tina! That's also why I like to read other people's gardening blogs. Experience counts. -Jen :)