Wednesday, May 9, 2012

When do we eat?

This is the next logical question! And the answer is, I really don't know.  For starters, some seed packets give a "days to maturity," while other seed packets give you "days to maturity from setting out transplant." This wouldn't be a problem except that the tomato seed packets say 60 days, but I imagine it means 60 days from setting out because tomatoes normally take longer than 60 days to mature.  Also, I suspect that putting out my transplants earlier will affect the maturity of the plants - too much cold will probably stunt the plants - plus putting out the plants without 6-8 weeks indoors will probably have an effect too.

Here are my best estimates:

Eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers - planted on 3/17/12 - these vegetables take the longest amount of time (up to 18 weeks from seed; and 60-80 days from transplanting).  I expect to be eating tomatoes and eggplant as early as June 30, 2012, but more realistically around the middle of July to early August.  The good thing is that once they start producing, they can produce until the days get shorter and the weather cools.  The banana peppers got started a week later, and were still quite small when I transplanted them - like really small.  This has me a little worried, especially because peppers are typically heat-loving plants and it has not been very warm at all. I expect to be eating banana peppers much later, if at all.  Target maturity date: 7/14/12 

Zucchini and green beans - planted 4/22/12 - these vegetables are quicker to mature (8-10 weeks in the right conditions).  I expect to be eating zucchini and green beans by mid- to end of June, assuming they are not stunted by the cold weather this month.  Target maturity date: 6/16/12

Bok Choy - planted 5/6/12 - takes up to 7 weeks to mature, but can be eaten beforehand as baby bok choy.  I expect to be eating bok choy by the middle to end of June.  Bok choy is a cold-loving plant, so I'm less concerned with the current colder temperatures and more concerned with the warmer June temperatures.  Target maturity date: 6/23/12

Eventually, and with more access to outdoor space, I will get the timing down better! In a perfect world, I would start cold-loving leafy greens (including bok choy) much earlier and outside.  This year I promised Morgan that I would contain my growing to one grow light and one tray of seedlings, so I could only start the plants that were absolutely necessary to start early.  Typically, these include tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants.  Leafy greens are usually directly seeded in the colder weather, but because my community garden didn't open until the middle of April, this was not a possibility.

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