When Is The Best Time To Start Planting In Nebraska?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Nebraska is Actually split into two different growing zones (Zones 4 and 5). The bottom third of the state is considered a warmer zone and can begin planting at the earliest recommended dates, but the top two-thirds of the state must wait for the frost to dissipate. However, radishes, asparagus, collards, onions, peas, and turnips can be planted as early as March 15. The cooler weather will actually yield a sweeter tasting radish. The most critical date to keep in mind when planting in Nebraska is April 15. As the 15th date approaches you can begin to track temperatures to be sure the danger of frost has past. Nighttime temperatures need to be above 50 degrees F, and soil temperatures have to be above 60 degrees F to start planting hardier veggies and annual flower transplants. It is possible to start planting broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and carrots in the first week of April, but beware, if the weather is too cool it will result in a bitter tasting product. If you reside in the bottom third of Nebraska you may be able to get a head start, but to be safe, it’s recommended that you wait until April 15.
Try to resist the urge to till your garden or soil until it has had time to completely dry out because disturbing wet soil can damage the soil’s structure. The first day you believe the soil to be dry, it’s highly recommended that a quality compost is mixed into the soil and that organic fertilizer is utilized to greatly improve your nutrient composition. The typical way to prepare new vegetable and flower beds is by turning compost or other organic material blended with a slow-release fertilizer into your soil. But if you opt to go with the Raised Garden Mix from Soil Dynamics you are not required to till or break up the soil, and you don’t even have to add any fertilizers, or even weed killers. You may also need to add lime at this point in time, based on the results of a soil test. The specifically formulated fertilizer from Soil Dynamics is perfect for building soil and improving the nutrient levels and you can use it with peace of mind since it does not use chemicals that will leach into the groundwater. By May 1st the ground should warm enough to begin planting cantaloupe, cucumber, pumpkin and summer squash. But wait until mid-May to start planting eggplant, muskmelons, okra, peppers, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. To give your plants the upperhand, plan out your garden prior to planting and you can prevent disease and insects from picking on a particular plant by mixing up the order in which you plant the veggies (tomato - pepper - cabbage - tomato - pepper). Nebraska can be an unpredictable place when it comes to the climate, but paying attention to the temperature and the use of quality soil products from Soil Dynamics can yield a bountiful harvest that can withstand the conditions.
For more specific planting dates and information you can read more at these helpful sites: