Warm Weather Crops – Vegetables you plant mid-May or later for Zone 4 .
Growing Sweet Corn
When to Plant Corn – This is a warm weather crop in Zone 4, sometimes by May 15. Farmers get their field corn in by May 1 but there is a chemical in their seed so it does not rot in cold soil.
How to Plant Corn – Plant 1 ½ inches deep, two seeds per. Space 8 to 10 inches. You need to plant 4 rows or more to cross pollinate.
After Planting Corn – To discourage raccoons put a radio in field in a pail. Turn it on overnight to chase them away.
Harvesting Corn – When corn silk has turned medium to dark brown the corn is ready to pick. Enjoy!
When to Plant Cucumbers – This vine crop can be planted when soil warms up, mid-May to mid-June in Zone 4.
How to Plant Cucumbers – I plant in a row, 2-3 seeds about 1 foot apart. The vine’s length can vary from short (2-3 feet) to long (4-5 feet). The variety you plant depends on the size of your garden or pot.
After Planting Cucumbers – I mulch the ground when plants get about 6-8 inches tall. I use meadow hay. You can use wet shredded newspaper or grass clippings if they do not have chemicals in them. Striped cucumber beetles can be a problem.
Harvesting Cucumbers – There are two varieties of cucumbers (both good for salads):
Slicing – the fruit gets 7-8 inches long
Pickling – 2-3 inches long. This can get away from you and get too fat. Watch them carefully.
When to Plant Eggplant – Warm weather crop in Zone 4.
How to Plant Eggplant – Use plants. There is a small variety you can plant in a pot. Very excellent! New hybrids have less seed, not bitter.
After Planting Eggplant – Can get Colorado potato bugs. Just pick them off and look for orange eggs under leaves. Just smash them with your fingers.
Harvesting Eggplant – Produce all summer. Don’t let eggplant get too large.
When to Plant Muskmelon – Warm weather soil, May 20, in Zone 4.
How to Plant Muskmelon – Plant 1 ½ inch deep, about 2 to 3 seeds per and 20 to 24 inches apart in row. These vine so need to have enough room.
After Planting Muskmelon – I mulch with meadow hay when plants are 6 inches tall.
Harvesting Muskmelon – There is a tendril at the stem of fruit, when this turns brown your melon is ready to harvest. The vine will slip off the fruit. Sometimes a gentle push is all you need to get it off the vine.
Growing Peppers – All Varieties
When to Plant Peppers – Warm weather, May 20 to mid June in Zone 4.
How to Plant Peppers – Plant 18 to 24 inches apart. Plant slightly deeper than in the container you buy it in. These can be grown in a pot also. I cage mine for support when growing in a pot.
After Planting Peppers – I pick off the first sets of peppers. Most of the plants have only 1 or 2 peppers. And the peppers are small, ½ inch to 1 inch in size. Picking off the first peppers encourages the plant to put its energy into growing the next set. If this is hard for you, you can grow them your way.
- Harvest green varieties when the size is a good handful. All green sweet peppers will turn red if left on plant long enough.
- Yellow and orange peppers start green but will turn. Have patience, it takes a long time, 80 to 100 days.
- Jalapeno peppers are best picked when they have scarred. They are hotter. They will also turn red.
- I let my hot peppers turn red before I harvest them.
When to Plant Pumpkins – Warm weather crop in Zone 4, May 25 to June 10th
How to Plant Pumpkins – There are varieties that stay smaller. This is great for small gardens. There are bush varieties also. Most pumpkins vine all over the garden.
After Planting Pumpkins – When you get 3 or 4 pumpkin sets pinch off the end of the vine. This will give the plant more energy to make the product. Try to have a good wind sweep over the plants, helps to ensure pollination.
Harvesting Pumpkins – When pumpkins are orange and the shells hard, cut off vine. Store the pumpkins in the garage if you are not ready to carve them. This works for gourds also.
Growing String Beans – Green and Yellow
When to Plant Beans – The soil needs to be warm. Put your hand in the ground to check soil. If you plant too soon seeds will rot. About May 15th is a good time to check soil. You can plant these successfully as late as the middle of June. I like fresh rows as the season goes on. Sometimes the beans get tough on old plants.
How to Plant Beans – Plant ¾ inch deep, 2 seeds, 8 inches apart.
After Planting Beans – When the plants have set the first 4 to 6 leaves you can get holes in the leaves. Just look the other way and soon when the plants grow taller you will not see them. I do not dust.
Harvesting Beans – Harvest when beans are 4 inches and longer. Pick often as the beans will get tough if they grow to longer lengths. The yellow are the same.
When to Plant Tomatoes – Warm weather, from May 25 on in Zone 4.
How to Plant Tomatoes – Plant 3 feet apart in the field. Dig a deep good size hole. If you buy single plant, put it in up to bottom leaves of plant. Pick those bottom leaves off. Do this if you plants are in packs also. These usually are not so large so the holes do not have to be so deep. Put cages around them for support.
For deck or pot growing use plants that do not get so tall. I have not found a short cherry variety. Use new soil in the pots. Put cages around tomatoes for support.
After Planting Tomatoes – Mulch top of soil. Keeps plant better. Use shredded newspaper, wet before applying. Mulch when plants are 18 to 24 inches tall. Meadow hay is good also. Do not use straw, you will have an oats field in your garden!
For blossom end rot – do not hoe close to the roots of the plants. This cuts off roots to clusters of tomatoes. Also, your soil could be low on calcium. Use powdered milk around plant, ½ cup per plant.
Harvesting Tomatoes – Harvest when fruit is red. Tomatoes can be harvested with some green on them. They will ripen. Pick the stems off when you are gathering into a container. If you leave the stems on, they will poke holes in the flesh of the other tomatoes in the container.
When to Plant Watermelon – Warm weather, May 20, in Zone 4.
How to Plant Watermelon – Plant 2 to 3 seeds, 1 inch deep. These can be planted in a row, about 18 inches apart. They take up a lot of room, it vines. Don’t plant a melon that is really large, it will not ripen.
After Planting Watermelon – You can mulch this also. Mulch when plants are about 6 inches tall.
Harvesting Watermelon – When the tendril has turned brown by the stem of the fruit it is ready to pick. This does not slip easy so you may need to cut stem.
Growing Winter Squash – Acorn, Butternut, Buttercup
When to Plant Winter Squash – Warm weather, May 20 to June10 in Zone 4.
How to Plant Winter Squash – These squash run so they need room. There are some bush varieties but I do not use them. Plant in row, 1 inch deep. Plant 18-24 inches apart. 3 seeds per.
After Planting Winter Squash – Weed! You can also mulch to keep weeds down.
Harvesting Winter Squash – Squash is ready to eat when you cannot put your fingernail into the flesh. Cut from vine. They store well.
When to Plant Zucchini – Warm crop, plant around May 15 and later in Zone 4.
How to Plant Zucchini – Plant 2 or 3 seeds, 1 inch deep, about 2 feet apart. These plants bush out not run. Zucchini can be planted in a pot on your deck or patio.
After Planting Zucchini – Squash bugs are a problem. You can dust if you are not organic.
Harvesting Zucchini – Pick when smaller size. Large ones are seed and skin is too tough to use.