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Saturday, February 20, 2016

What Vegetables to Plant Now

This is the transition time between cool season vegetables and warm season vegetables in the Mojave Desert. We are still growing cool season or winter vegetables and planting warm season or summer vegetables as we harvest our cool season crops.

Plant SOME Winter Vegetables Now

There is time left to plant SOME winter vegetables like radishes/leaf lettuce/spinach/arugula and harvest them before it starts to get hot. I would not be afraid to plant vegetables now that you will harvest in the next 45 days. Always tweak information for elevation and microclimate. For international readers I would also include latitude.
Viragrow is just wrapping up its harvest of cauliflower now from its raised beds. It is too late to plant more cauliflower or broccoli at 2000 ft elevation in the Mojave but not too late to still squeeze a crop of radishes, spinach, lettuce, arugula in.

Freezing Temperatures

Historically, the last frost date (95% sure there will be no freezing temperatures) is March 15. Looking ahead at the weather for the next two weeks I am reasonably comfortable that we will not have any more freezing temperatures until late fall or early winter at a 2000 ft elevation. When setting out transplants early or growing from seed early it is best to protect warm season vegetable
Wall-o-Water is one product used to protect tomatoes from chilling temperatures at night when they are set out early. They are probably the most effective at modifying freezing temperatures and preventing freeze damage.
plants from chilling temperatures at night by using hot caps, Wall-o-Water or frost blankets. You will see improved growth and faster establishment.


This information focuses on vegetables grown at the 2000 foot elevation in the Mojave Desert. Tweak this information earlier if you are growing at elevations of 1000 feet and later if your elevation is at 3000 feet. Lower elevations are seasonally warmer and higher elevations are seasonally colder.


Tweak this information for different microclimates of your garden. South and West facing gardens are warmer and planted earlier than gardens facing east or north. However, you can harvest later from east and north facing gardens. Take advantage of microclimates by placing growing areas in different locations in the yard.


Wind is always damaging to gardens. In winter, freezing temperatures are more damaging if there is wind. In summer, the heat is more damaging if there is wind. Even when temperatures are mild wind affects vegetables, Put up small windbreaks around your growing area. The most effective
Produce better vegetables with a windbreak on the windward side of a garden spot. Century fence with pvc slats is about an 80/20 mix of solid /openings to slow wind for  improved vegetable production.
windbreaks allow about 20% of the air to move through it while 80% is stopped. A good example is a Century fence with PVC slats inserted or reed fencing is attached. This type of windbreak is about an 80/20 windbreak. The effective area of a windbreak is downwind of it a distance equal to about five times its height.


I know vegetable plots can be very small but whenever possible plant something different in spots in the gardens. This is called "crop rotation". When growing "by the book", "rotate" vegetables to different spots from different families. If tomatoes (Nightshade family) were grown in a spot, then grow onions (Onion family) or squash (Cucumber family) in this spot the next year Try to NOT grow something in the same family in the same spot for three years. This helps to reduce disease problems that remain in the soil.

Summer (and some winter) Vegetable Calendar

Key: s=seed; T=transplants

These are recommended months. Exact dates vary with elevation, variety and microclimate. The Las Vegas Valley is between 1700 to 2000 feet in elevation. Elevations lower than this are planted earlier in the spring and later in the fall. Elevations higher than this are the reverse. 

Some varieties of vegetables perform in heat or cold better than others. Consult information on the variety you are planting. Some landscape areas or microclimates surrounding the home are warmer or colder than others. Warm microclimates are planted earlier in the spring and later in the fall. Some of the herbs are perennial. Many herbs can be started from cuttings which is not noted below.

Beets (s), carrots (s), sweet corn (s) (later in the month), kale (s), lettuce (s), onion sets, potato (later in the month), radish (s), spinach (s), Swiss chard (s), turnip (s)

Bush beans (s), carrots (s), sweet corn (s), eggplant late in the month (T), green beans (s), pole beans (s), kale (s), kohlrabi (s), lettuce (s), onion sets, onions (T), peppers late in the month (T), potatoes, radishes (s), spinach (s), Swiss chard (s), tomato (T), turnip (s), rosemary (T), mint (T), oregano (T), mizuno (T), thyme (T)

Sweet corn (s), cucumber (s), eggplant (T), green beans (s), pole beans (s), melons late in the month (s), peppers (T), tomatoes (T), summer squash (s), basil (T), lemongrass (T), lemon verbena (T), cilantro (T), rosemary (T), mint (T)

Cucumber (s), eggplant (T), melons (s), peppers (T), sweet potato (slips), summer squash (s)

Melons (s)

Sweet corn late in the month (s), green beans (s), pole beans (s), melons (s)

Beets (s), broccoli late in the month (s,T), cabbage late in the month (T), cauliflower late in the month (T), sweet corn early in the month (s), green beans (s), pole beans (s), spinach (s), Swiss chard (s), winter squash at lower elevations (s), parsleys (T), cilantro (T), dill (T), fennel (T), chervil(T), salad burnet (T), sorrel (T), tarragon (T)

 How To Plant

Bone meal is a fertilizer used by organic growers at planting time
Before Planting in an Existing Garden: Apply 1 inch (1 cubic yard covers about 320 square feet) of good quality compost to the surface of the garden. Mix phosphorus fertilizer (triple super phosphate, rock phosphate or bone meal) to a depth of 8 to 10 inches in the row for planting seeds or with the
backfill around transplants.

Large Seed: Soak large seed (corn, peas, beans, melons, squash) in cool water 6–12 hours before planting. Soaking seed speeds germination and promotes even emergence. Form ½ inch deep planting trench with hoe or dibble. Place wet seed in trench or “hills” and cover seed with soil or mulch. Water lightly with a sprinkling can or hose breaker. During hot weather, cover seeded area with straw or horse fresh horse bedding to shade the soil surface. This is not deep but a light application. Soon after emergence, remove seedlings which are too close together by cutting them, not pulling. Sidedress or foliar spray seedlings with fertilizer one month after planting.

Small Seed: Lightly scratch soil surface with garden rake to create small furrows. Sprinkle or drop seed in rows created with rake. In Square Foot Gardens, distribute seed evenly throughout a planting grid. Cover seed with 1/8 inch compost or soil mix. Water lightly with a sprinkling can or Dramm© hose breaker. During hot weather, cover seeded area with enough straw or horse bedding to shade the soil surface. Soon after emergence, cut off seedlings which are too close together. Lightly sidedress or foliar spray seedlings with fertilizer one month after planting.

To speed up germination, water seeds and then cover planting area with clear plastic. Remove plastic or cut slits in it to allow seedlings to grow above the plastic.

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