changes. Many people don't realize that plants like lettuce put up a flower stalk, which then goes to seed. If you wait too long to harvest lettuce, the stalk will shoot up, and the same thing happens to other crops like cabbage. The head splits open, a stalk shoots up, develops flowers, and then turns to seed. It's natures way of allowing the plant to reproduce, but the plant changes taste when this happens. All the energy goes toward the seed and the plant itself, as far as taste is concerned, becomes rather tough, coarse, and bitten
In cooler weather, this process is delayed. The plant feels no urgency to complete the growing cycle. So in the fall, the plant slows its maturation process, allowing it to maintain flavor for a longer length of time as temperatures continue to grow cooler and cooler. If its frost-hardy, it doesn't matter if it is the middle of fall and you start getting frost. Some plants can endure some freezing and still provide a crop for harvesting. Fall is a great time to plant if you put in the right crops.
Soil temperatures vastly influence sprouting times. For example, if you plant carrot seeds in the summertime when the temperature of the soil is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the seeds will sprout in less than a week. But if you plant the same seeds in early spring when the ground temperature is perhaps 40 degrees, they will take a month and a half to sprout. Just another 10 degrees warmer and they will sprout in a little over two weeks. The chart shows that when the soil is cold and freezing, no seeds will sprout. When it warms up to 40 only half of them will sprout; but as soon as it gets to 50 degrees, suddenly almost all of them will sprout and will continue right through the warmer temperatures of summer and fall.
What happens to seeds when they don't sprout because the ground is cold? They could rot, or fungus could attack them. They could break their dormancy and then go dry. They could be attacked by insects, or dug up by animals or birds. So, the quicker you can get them to sprout the better off they will be.
Spring, Summer, and Fall Crops
Some crops, like the cabbage family, take so long to grow that there isn't enough time to plant seeds directly in the garden and wait for the harvest. So you have to buy from nurseries or raise your own transplants indoors ahead of time.
The same situation applies to the warm-weather summer crops like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. They take so long to produce that you must plant your garden with transplants. The charts show this all in detail, indicating when to start seeds and when to transplant.
The fall crop is better for raising your own transplants because you will be able to start the seeds in the summertime, raise the transplants outdoors in your garden, and then move them into their permanent spot in the early fall for late fall harvest.
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