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Seeds Northern Gardeners Should Direct Sow In Early May

Written by – Kaitlynn from MIgardener

This new blog series is written primarily for our northern dwelling readers. In recent weeks, we have been laying out a few of the foundational varieties we recommend to start indoors in our region during mid-March, early-April, late-April, etc. Today, we’re talking more about what should be direct sown as the weather warms up outside. Once May rolls around, it’s time to put these seeds into the ground! 

Last week’s post was about direct sowing while there is still snow on the ground, and while that method is effective, there is no right or wrong way to get your garden going! This post will talk more about when northern gardeners would traditionally prefer to start outside. Whichever of these methods you choose will yield fantastic results in the garden. 

Here are the varieties northerners should direct sow  in early May:

Radishes

seed starting

Germination time: 3-10 days

Germination Temp: 45-95 degrees F

Planting radishes as early as possible is one of the most rewarding steps a gardener (especially beginners) can make. Radishes are one of the quickest veggies to mature in the garden. Because radishes germinate in any soil above 38 degrees F, you can harvest them all season long with this technique. Letting radish seeds germinate slowly will produce a more substantial and more nutrient-dense harvest, so direct sowing them as soon as they can germinate will help you get the most out of your garden. For more on how to grow radishes, click here

Peas

grow peas

Germination Time: 6-17 days

Germination Temp: 40-85 degrees F

Peas are one of the best varieties of veggies to direct sow in early May because their germination rates skyrocket in cool, damp soil. Peas are easy to grow, as they have thrived in shaded locations. Starting peas early will give you a harvest in about mid-July and give you the space you need for a second crop in the fall season. For a full growing guide on peas, click here. For a video tutorial, click here

Parsnips 

seed starting

Germination Time: 10-21 days

Germination Temp: 50-85 degrees F

Parsnips require a long growing season. Because they are a root vegetable, parsnips will not start well indoors. Any sort of transplanting would shock them, and the chances of recovering from transplant shock would be very slim. Direct sowing parsnips in early May will give them the perfect temperatures and space they need to grow deep in the ground all season. Harvest parsnips after the frost for superior texture and sweeter flavor. For more information on parsnips, click here

Carrots

seed starting

Germination time: from 7-21 days

Germination Temp: approx. 45-85 degrees F

Early May is one of the best environments to direct sow carrots, especially when it comes to seed starting. Damp soil, minimal sunlight directly on the soil, temperatures that are not extreme are exactly what carrot seeds need to germinate well. Dry soil, bright sun, and warm temperatures would all affect germination rates of carrot seed negatively. This slow beginning will benefit your carrots in the long run. For a carrot growing guide, click here. For a video tutorial, click here

Beets

seed start

Germination Time: 5-21 days

Germination Temp: 50-85 degrees F

Beets grow remarkably well in cold weather and even handle frost and snow. Beets are so quick to mature, and do so well in weather all across the board that if you plant them in succession, you will be harvesting beets all season long! Direct sow beets in early May to harvest them in mid-July. Cold weather will sweeten the greens, and allow the root growth to happen slowly. For a beet growing guide click here, for a video tutorial click here

Keep your eyes open for future posts! Hopefully, these posts will help all of our midwestern and Michigan friends plan their best gardens ever in 2020.

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