November 12, 2006

Planting a Thanksgiving Garden

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Thanksgiving GardenPlanting a Thanksgiving garden can mean one of two things. You are interested in a vegetable garden that will harvest in time to provide Thanksgiving foods to share with your family or you are interested in a plant and flower garden that will still display beautiful colors as your guests arrive. Whichever you are looking for, both can be accomplished with a little patience and knowledge of the temperatures in your climate zone.

Understanding Your Climate Zone

Understanding the climate zone temperatures is especially important when it comes to preparing either a Thanksgiving vegetable or flower garden. Climate zones consider the average annual minimum temperature and also take into consideration when those cold and hot temperatures will arrive. For gardeners living in climate zones 1-6, establishing a late season vegetable garden or flower garden for Thanksgiving may be a little more difficult than for those living in climate zones 7-11.

The difference is that while it may get below freezing in climate zones 7-10, it probably won’t reach a heavy freeze until long after the Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone. As well, because temperatures are actually cooler in the fall months in these climate zones, many vegetables and flowers will grow better than they may have during the blasting hot summer months. With this in mind, a Thanksgiving vegetable or flower garden of annuals can be planted as late as mid to end of summer in order to have a display or a harvest ready for Thanksgiving.

For those in cooler climate zones, having a vegetable harvest ready or annual flower garden blooming on [Thanksgiving] may mean limiting your choices. There are cool season annual blooming flowers and vegetables that will do well in climate zones 1-6 until the end of November, even with a light frost. Most of the cool season annuals that will do well for a Thanksgiving garden are those that also do well in the early spring.

Cool Season Annual Flowers

Cool season annual flowers that are great in a Thanksgiving garden include petunias, violas, pansy, dianthus, snapdragon, larkspur and poppies. These Thanksgiving annual flowers can be planted in the ground or in flower pots as late as early September and will continue to show until the first heavy freeze. For those who want to enjoy cool season annuals in the spring and late fall, cut back annuals right after they begin to die off in the late spring. Keeping them well groomed and watered will allow them to rebloom in the fall.

As far as planting a Thanksgiving vegetable garden, gardeners should begin planting around late July through the middle of August. This will give approximately 10-12 weeks for a harvest right before Thanksgiving. Unfortunately corn, beans, squash and pumpkin should be harvested by September or early October, so these will not be on the list for a Thanksgiving garden, although once these vegetables are harvested they can be stored or canned for later use at the Thanksgiving meal.

Cool Season Garden Vegetables

Cool season annual vegetables that will work great in a Thanksgiving garden include all root vegetables, such as beets, radishes, onions and carrots, as well as potatoes, which also includes sweet potatoes. Other good Thanksgiving garden vegetables include almost all leafy vegetables, like lettuce, spinach and cabbage. These will work great in a Thanksgiving salad.

Keep in mind that a Thanksgiving garden may mean a little extra time and attention, especially keeping an eye on the weather for an early freeze. A freeze does not have to ruin a fall Thanksgiving garden as long as proper care is taken to cover and protect the plants.

Tags: Annual Flowers

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Filed under Annual Flowers by landscapeliving.
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