Real Men Sow

What *Not* To Plant This Weekend

a frosty morningAs you will have noticed, it’s been well hot. I’m not sure if this explains a naughty nearby home and garden centre flogging veg plants long before they should be planted out recently. It made me cross to think that newcomers to this wonderful hobby might be fooled into buying these and planting them out.

Before I myself got tempted to buy a couple of plants over this lovely, long, summer-like weekend, I thought I’d dig this picture out to remind myself of something important:

IT STILL MIGHT FROST. STEP AWAY FROM THE TENDER STUFF.

The weather has been so good, I’ve been reaching for my bass fishing rods weeks early, and hovering over my seed packets wearing shorts, t-shirts and sandals.

It’s been very easy to forget that we are still in April. I’ve already fallen in to this sun trap, having sown some French beans in my coldframe a few weeks ago. They’ll be lovely plants very soon, but deep down I know there’s every chance of a final frost or two before true summer. And that would be their lot.

Plus that wind is still pretty chilly. I’ve found in the past that the more tender plants don’t like those nasty winds that blow across the plots this time of year.

Visiting my regular web haunts, it doesn’t seem like I’m alone, either. There are murmurs of planting all sorts of tender stuff out very soon. So, I thought I’d make a note of what *not* to plant out (even if some of the more unscrupulous home and garden superstores are selling these plants), to make sure I keep myself focused on the fact it is still only spring, despite the early arrival of my annual sock marks.

Squashes
I’ve sown mine this week in mum’s greenhouse, and hopefully they’ll all come up nice and healthy. There’s no rush though, as I don’t normally plant them out until the start of June, which is handy, as my winter veg is still in the squash bed at the moment…

Cucumbers
I’ve also sown outdoor trailing cucumbers under cover this week, in pots. I plant these out at the beginning of June with the squashes.

Courgettes
Again, I’ve sown courgettes this week in the greenhouse, although normally I do it a couple of weeks earlier. I find these plants are a tad hardier than cues and squashes, so can go out towards the end of May.

French Beans
As I just mentioned, I got taken in, and sowed some French bean seeds really early in my coldframe this year. I don’t normally do this until mid May, in readiness for planting out at the beginning of June.

Runner beans
Runners are like French beans, so I sow now-ish for planting out at the beginning of June too. They also like sunny, sheltered spots for greatest growth.

Tomatoes
Toms are generally sown a couple of months before the last frosts. Mine have been in the greenhouse in seed trays, and are now about an inch or so high. No where near ready, but that’s okay, as one frost would wipe them out, and the plants grow best at temperatures of 20+ degrees Celsius anyway.

With hingsight, this post could and maybe should have been called What *Not* To Plant Out, But You Can Sow Undercover, but hopefully you’ll forgive me.

The thought was there.

All the other seeds are game of course…

Have a great weekend.

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8 Comments

  1. Alan @ it's not work it's gardeningApril 28, 2011 at 11:25 pmReply

    “Courgettes”? You’re just making stuff up to see who’s paying attention, right? (Too lazy to Google right now).

    Garden centers here do exactly the same thing — you’ll see tomato plants on the shelves in March, right next to the cold-resistant veg like broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, etc.

    “Annual sock marks” — hehe.

  2. Paul @ growingourown.co.ukApril 29, 2011 at 6:56 amReply

    I know the feeling, I was thinking I was really behind till I read the backs of all the seed packets and realised that most of the things I was feeling I should have sown say sow May/June… Guess all the sun suckers us in… ;)

  3. Janet/PlantalisciousApril 29, 2011 at 2:31 pmReply

    Ridiculous, isn’t it. The people who have taken on the plot next to mine have bought plug plants of runner beans and squashes, and planted them all out – Maurice tutted and shook his head at the sight of that, I hope they get away with it. I’m just worried that my squash and courgette plants are romping away so quickly that I will have to pot them on again before it is safe to put them out. Mid May, hope that will be OK, ‘cos I’m not sure there will be room for them for much longer than that… Will have to watch when the oldtimers put theirs out.

  4. NomeApril 29, 2011 at 3:13 pmReply

    I couldn’t resist any longer – I’ve planted a couple of tomatoes outside in pots, and some french beans in a big planter. I can still lug them indoors overnight if I have to though!

    I have to say though, you’re incredibly patient leaving all the planting-out until June. I’ve always got away with mid-May, although last year’s one late frost cut it pretty fine! And my squashes and courgettes are itching to get outside already…

  5. Helen/patientgardenerApril 29, 2011 at 4:54 pmReply

    One of my neighbouring plot holders has already planted all of those!!! I did notice the tomatoes looked a little frazzled around the leaves after it was very cold the other night

    • Jono

      JonoMay 1, 2011 at 1:14 pmReplyAuthor

      Hi Helen – had these photos tweeted to me this week: http://yfrog.com/h69iksnqj / http://yfrog.com/h3tz0byj. Must be heartbreaking when it happens.

      Hi Nome – end of May, is probably fine round my way, as it is very mild. Does take some patience though, especially this time of year when lots of my beds are still vacant.

  6. CroilaApril 30, 2011 at 9:49 amReply

    What really bugs me is that so many of our shops here in Edinburgh have runner bean plug plants all ready for planting out and timescale-wise we are about three to four weeks behind the south of England, which is the climate they seem to use as their benchmark. No beans would survive here outside until June at least!

    I just started chitting/pre-germinating the day before yesterday and I’m actually now wondering if this is still too early …

  7. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » I’m Behind Everyone Else!June 14, 2011 at 7:31 pmReply

    [...] ‘You don’t want to be putting them out that early,’ I’d told her knowingly. ‘One quick frost, and they’ll be a goner’. In fact, I posted a similar thing during the royal wedding bank holiday weekend. [...]

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meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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