Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Garden Gambling and Spring Planting

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What is garden gambling?  It is the term I use for pushing the envelope on how early I plant my seeds in spring.  As with any gamble, there is a risk but with earlier (notice I didn't say greater) rewards.  It all depends on how much you want to tempt Mother Nature.

So with my garden expansion project complete, I couldn't resist getting my corn and white acre peas in the ground.  Last year I planted my peaches and cream corn on March 19th, so this year I am early by about 8 days.  My planting chart from UGA recommends March 15th as the earliest corn planting date.  I checked the 10 day forecast and temps look good with no sign of frost.  Everything turned out fine last year, so I am hoping I will be ok this year too. 

Now my white acre peas on the other hand, I am probably way too early.  My planting chart from UGA recommends April 1st, so I am about two and half weeks early.  I have so many cow pea varieties I want to try this year, so I am taking a calculated risk by planting them so early.  If they germinate, I should be ok, but they may take a little longer to produce.

I planted five rows of corn and five rows of white acre peas in my new garden area.  I planted them using a new seeder I bought over the winter and boy was it a great investment.  The total length planted was 125 feet of corn and 125 feet of peas, and they were planted in under 20 minutes.  I will be posting a detailed review of my seeder in a few days.

Here is my new seeder

This was after I planted everything, straight and evenly spaced rows.


kelli said...

very nice! i'm taking a gamble with my planting too. last year i was told my the master gardeners in my town to use may 15th as my average last frost date, which seemed way too late. i'm going with my gut this year.

Jenny said...

I'm gambling with mine this year as well. If it gets cold again I'll use row covers to protect my beds but weather channel shows 60's for next 10 days and I don't want to waste prime growing time!

Crafty Cristy said...

Ooh, I have looked over a few crowder peas. You'll have to do a post about which ones you are planting this year.

I looked up White Acre Peas. They look like they will be tasty. Where'd you buy yours?

Kris said...

Kelli - It is all a guess at best because Mother Nature can always throw a curve at us. I use an average lost frost date chart from UGA and hope for the best.

Jenny - It sounds like you should be fine. My area is too large for row covers so hopefully I won't get caught. I am with you, I can't waste these warm days.

Cristy - I think I did a post, check this one out and you can add to the list Sadandy which I have picked up since then.


As for the white acre peas, it is kind of a long story. Basically you are not going to be able to buy white acre peas and many others this year. I have looked online and at all my resources locally. I was told by the owner of my local feed store that the drought last year in Texas is the reason. He said Texas is a huge supplier of seeds and apparently that was the worst drought in a long time.

The seeds I planted may not even germinate. Last summer I purchase 2 bushels of freshly shelled white acre peas from my local farmers market. I saved some of the seed and let it dry out. I am sure glad I did since you can't get the seed this year. I am hoping that it will germinate, the guy at the feed store said it should so we will see.

Kris said...

Cristy - I forgot to add, yes white acres are super delicious if you have never had them. They don't taste anything like crowders to me. They have a really smooth and creamy texture. The other varieties I am planting like zipper cream, sadandy, and texas cream 40 are supposed to be good too. So you could try some of those.

Crafty Cristy said...

Thank you so much. They sound delicious. I haven't ever had them.

I had noticed in my online searches that lots of the crowder pea family seeds were listed as "Crop Failure. Unavailable." I didn't put it together with the drought. Man, that's really terrible.

I follow a garden blog from Texas and she has really made it clear the terrible drought they have been under. Only in her most recent posts (within the last week or so) does there seem to be any relief at all. She said the drought is the worst one Texas has had since the Dust Bowl in the 30's. (!)

I haven't decided what type I will plant. Thanks for the suggestions.

Down here, it's best to wait until May or June to plant them, because they are the only things that like the heat we get.

I'll go check your link. :)

Ed said...

I'm going to be gambling with almost all my spring crops this year. Normally I get my peas planted in March and everything else in Mid April. Everything is going in a month early except the peas.

I don't go by frost dates etc, I normally go by what's frowing and blooming.

Kris said...

Ed - That is a good way to go about it, I sure hope we aren't in for a hot summer. This was one of the mildest winters I can remember.

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