I want more parsnips, carrots, turnips, rutabaga, and of course a hundred others... how soon can I start seeds or direct sow? I'm in zone 5b but it's acted more like zone 7a this year... very little snow, and hardly any rain, but warmer temps, in the 50's.
DG has a tool for looking up your average last frost date by Zipcode or city & state.
Each crop has different tenderness - some can go out before your last HARD frost, some can stand a light frost, some have to wait for settled warm weather and warm soil.
Then you have to decide how much risk you want to take that this won't be an unusually late spring. A cold spell following a warm spell is probably the worst for most seeds: the warm spell tricks them into sprouting, and then the cold spell kills or stunts them.
You can get your soil warmer and dry enough to work with a black plastic cover - maybe clear also works. Or put a low platic tent or hoop tunnel over the bed and seal the flaps. Once the soil is dry and warm, you might plant weeks earlier than you could have otherwise, and the tent or tunnel will provide warmth until the plants grow high enoguh to touch it. Then the weather had BETTER be warm enough for them, or you'll have to hastily build a taller tunnel!
I calm down my "want to plant NOW" urges by starting seeds indoors under lights. But if you do THAT too soon, you wind up with too many plants to fit under your lights, and root-bound, frustrated plants.
RickCorey_WA wrote:. . . I calm down my "want to plant NOW" urges by starting seeds indoors under lights. But if you do THAT too soon, you wind up with too many plants to fit under your lights, and root-bound, frustrated plants. . .
LOL! My 24 seedlings (nore on the way) will be fully developed and ground ready in about 30 days. Unfortunately, the ground and weather won't be seedling ready for about 60 days.
Sigh, it is hard to juggle trays of seedlings for that awkward 30 days. My neighbors have a sunny spot between their driveway and the road ... maybe a little hoop tunnel ... but I think they would notice it.
Since these new neighbors are going to be gardeners, I actually am trying to find ways to swap favors that might get me access to their sunny spots on top of nice, warm asphalt. Like "you can have half the seedlings" or "I'll run a drainage ditch from you beds downhill accross my lot".
Or "I'll share the coffee grounds I got from Starbucks" or "you can have some of the free pots I got from Home Depot".
I already shared some cherry tomatoes last fall.
But sharing compst from my tiny heap would go too far!
Also, the yard is kind of a mess from some perspectives and I'm already treading on their patience that way. There's always so many tasks waiting for my time, and "tidying up" has been low on my priority until now.