Northern Michigan Garden Maintenance, Renovation & Design
6829 Herkner Road Traverse City, MI 49685
15 Mar 2012

Cold Weather Vegetable Crops

With the unseasonably warm weather these last few days in Northern Michigan, I am quite anxious to get outside and start gardening. While it isn’t quite time to be planting our annuals, vegetable crops, or transplanting, here are a few things we gardeners can be doing.

Turning our compost, preparing the garden beds, removing tree branches from our yards (due to the heavy snows only 2 weeks ago), and researching the plant times for vegetables. So this leads me to “Cold Weather Crops”.

While it is still too early to plant these in Northern Michigan, we can start watching the weather, judging when each can be planted, have all our tools sharpened, compost enriched soil turned, and ready to go at the first sign of “no more consistent freezing temps”.

This list is a quick sample of Cold Weather Crops, please feel free to add to and make comments per your experience in Northern Michigan or like climates.

Lettuce – 4-6 weeks before “frost-free” date
Peas – 6-8 weeks BFFD
Potatoes – 2-3 weeks BFFD
Cabbage & Kale – 4-6 weeks BFFD

Plant these seeds according to soil temperatures:
Beets – soil temps at least 40 Degrees, prefers 50 Degrees
Carrots & Radishes – soil temps 40-45 Degrees
Onions – soil temps at least 36 Degrees, prefers 50 Degrees
Spinach – soil temps at least 36 Degrees, prefers 45 Degrees

Of course there is always the chance of the really late frost (past the “frost-free” date) in Northern Michigan and so if you do plant early, be prepared to watch the night temps like a hawk and have a plan if they start dropping below the preferred temperature.

Some options of protection are:
* Table cloths
* Bed sheets
* Newspaper pirate hats
(Note: Never use plastic sheeting to protect plants from frost because the plastic can act as conductor of cold air. Also, moisture can be trapped, making the space colder.)

Enjoy planning your vegetable garden now, so when the sun is here to stay, you are ready to go.

Also don’t forget to plant an extra row for your local food bank. A great way to give back to your community so we can all enjoy fresh fruits and veggies.