If you live in zone 7, you know when to plant the first seeds of spring. The same is true for zone 8, with the exception that you can plant two to three weeks earlier than you would in zone 7. That means you can plant your summer and fall crops much earlier. Here are some of the best vegetables to plant in zone 7 and 8:
One of the easiest ways to plant cool-season crops in April is to start your green beans in late February. Beans that grow well in cool soil are best planted after the danger of frost has passed. Planting these cool-season plants can give you a head start on planting the rest of your spring garden. Regardless of how warm or cool your zone is, planting a few beans will ensure you’ll have a plentiful harvest of beans by the end of April.
Bush beans like a slightly acidic, neutral soil. If your soil is too acidic or alkaline, consider using a plant fertilizer, like 10-20-10, to help them grow. It’s best to spread this fertilizer over your planting area, including the top three to four inches, and water your plants regularly. Bean plants need moist soil to sprout their seeds, so water them regularly if the weather is dry. Avoid walking on your planting bed, as it will compact the soil.
To start growing cucumbers, dig a hole eight to twelve inches deep. Use spading forks to loosen the soil. Then, turn it over and work the soil into shallow mounds about four to six inches high and about 36 inches apart. If planting in a cool climate, you may need to add a layer of black plastic mulch to help warm the soil. You can also place cloches or rows covers to keep pests and diseases from damaging your plants. When planting cucumber seedlings, remember that they need a lot of water to germinate. If you are planting seedlings in a cooler climate, you may want to add mulch to protect the plants from weeds and pests.
Once seedlings have emerged, place them in a sunny location and keep them warm. Cucumbers are fast-growing and ripen in about six weeks. Cucumbers need full sun and a fertile soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.0. If your soil has poor drainage or is rocky, you can amend it with compost or manure to improve drainage.
When choosing which eggplants to plant in your garden in April, the most important thing to remember is watering. Plants need about an inch of water per week, and two inches during the hot summer months. To compensate for lack of rain, you can use supplemental irrigation. For best results, use drip irrigation, which keeps water off the leaves of the mature plants and protects seedlings.
Either plant seedlings directly in the garden or in a pot, but make sure that they are planted in well-draining soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.0. Also, remember that eggplant prefers warm soil, so you’ll need to raise the temperature of the soil in advance. A simple way to do this is by adding compost. Besides adding compost to your soil, it will also help maintain the right pH level for your plants. Having your soil tested will eliminate the guesswork and help you know what the optimum level of nutrients is.
During the warmest part of spring, eggplants prefer temperatures in the seventies and eighties. During colder months, they grow slowly. For this reason, it’s best to plant them in late winter or early spring, once the ground has warmed up a little bit. For those who live in short-season regions, there are disease-resistant varieties available. Globe eggplants are the traditional large, oval fruits, while Japanese varieties are smaller, slender, and compact.
Okra is a great vegetable for growing in your garden in April, and it has many benefits. Okra needs full sunlight and soil pH that is close to neutral (6.0 to 8.0). Its nutrient requirements are moderate, so it does not require excessive fertilizer. To find out whether your soil is rich in calcium nitrate, conduct an inexpensive soil test. This fertilizer is best applied late in the season, when blooms are concentrated.
Okra can be planted early or too late in the garden, depending on the conditions. Seeds may have sprouted and grown into small plants before the proper timing for planting. If the plants have already grown, check their growth for signs of disease or germination. Planting okra too close to other plants could also be a problem. It needs plenty of space to grow well. Insects and flea beetles can also attack the roots. Neem Cake can help prevent pests from destroying the roots and is an excellent fertilizer.
If you are in Zones 7 and 8 and can’t wait until the first spring frost, you can start the seeds indoors in peat pots. You should start seeds in the soil three quarters of an inch deep, and space them eight to 12 inches apart. If you are planting them directly in the ground, you should plant them a few weeks later. Remember to soak the seeds overnight in tepid water before planting them, as this will increase the speed of their germination.
Sweet peppers and chili peppers
When preparing soil for planting, prepare the site for growing peppers in full sun. The soil should be well-drained and contain a high organic matter content. Pepper plants don’t like to have wet feet. The soil’s pH should be between 6.0 and 7.0. Also, peppers prefer fertile soil. If you’re not sure, get a soil test done.
Planting peppers early in April will allow you to enjoy their sweet flavours well into the fall. The early peppers may produce fruit into the winter, but the bigger ones are best for eating. If you wait until the fall, you might get some peppers that will continue to grow. The immature peppers should be composted to avoid contamination of the soil.
Choose your peppers based on their location. Bell peppers are perennial in tropical climates, but only grow as annuals in colder regions. This means that they need a 100-day growing season. Short summers can affect the plants. Also, consider the climate of your garden. Generally, you should choose a site with a warm summer.
Summer squash and zucchini
If you’re wondering what to plant in your garden in April, think of summer squash and zucchini. These delicious vegetables are oblong and cylindrical and have no neck or handle. The seeds for these crops germinate when the soil temperature rises above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. These plants prefer a warm climate and do well in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 9.
To start your zucchini plants indoors, ensure the soil is evenly moist and free from weeds. Add well-decomposed compost to the soil. Feed the plants with a balanced slow-release fertilizer. You can also saturate the soil with foliar sprays of liquid fertilizer. After the seedlings have emerged, thin them out to avoid overcrowding.
The right time to plant these two popular vegetables depends on where you live. Planting dates for southern Illinois can be up to two weeks earlier than those for northern Illinois. The time to plant each type of crop depends on climate and other factors. For example, if you live in the northwest corner of Zone 7, the planting date for zucchini is two to three weeks earlier than in central Illinois.
Melons and watermelons
When is the right time to plant watermelons and melons in your Zones 7 and 8 garden? Watermelons are warm-season crops that do best when the air temperature is 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit. They will not germinate in soil that is too cold or too warm. Before planting, soil temperature at 4 inches should be sixty to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Watermelons should not be planted before the last chance of frost.
You can plant watermelon seeds in raised rows to provide good drainage. Space them 2 feet apart in 5-foot-wide hills. Make sure you leave plenty of room between the rows. Watermelons grow large vines and cover a large area. They prefer soil that is well-drained and loose. Fertilize the soil with aged manure or compost before planting to improve water retention. The soil pH should be six to 6.8.
When planting watermelons in Zones 7 and 8, be sure to leave a good amount of space between each plant. Watermelons are perennial plants, so you can plant them as a perennial plant in your garden. Make sure to mulch them before winter sets in. Watermelons and cantaloupes are the perfect choice for late-season planting in Zones 7 and 8.
Beets are best planted in the spring one month before the last frost date. This semi-hardy vegetable can survive repeated light frosts in 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Seeded beets can take seven to 10 weeks to grow and produce a crop. They can be started inside as seedlings and harvested when they are still young. Beets require consistent moisture and light.
In Zone 7, the growing season is a medium length. Beets can be planted in April and mature by June 15 (the last frost date in Zone 7) or as late as the last week of June. If you plant beets in Zone 7 in April, you can harvest a second crop the following fall. If you plant beets in April in Zones 7 and 8, you will enjoy the benefit of two growing seasons in a row.
The USDA Planting Zone can help you determine the right time to plant summer crops. It can also tell you when it’s cool enough to plant winter vegetables. However, you should remember that if the weather is too hot, beets will bolt and not grow. It is important to remember that beets have edible roots and leaves, so you can eat them in addition to being a tasty vegetable. The dark red varieties tend to stain everything in the kitchen.