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Late Spring Planting Options

Crop planting season for summer vegetable gardens usually lasts one month from the average frost-free date. "Then there are those of us in May who are only now getting around to planting a vegetable garden," says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dr. Tom Koske.

"We must make critical choices that will pay off, because vegetables that should have been planted earlier are cut off by the heat of summer if planted in late spring," Koske says,
advising, "I would look for short-term crops that boast of early (short) maturity or resistance to heat."

The LSU AgCenter horticulturist recommends rotating similar crops so they donít grow in the same soil area as back-to-back crops. This helps with pest control. Be especially watchful for insect pests and control them early while they are young. Many early spring crops are now being harvested and coming out to make room for summer- and fall-growing crops.

Late spring planting may include collards, pole limas and butter peas, watermelons and vine crops like summer squash (but not winter/hard-shell squash), pumpkins - but only if you want early pumpkins - okra and southern peas, various chili peppers, hot or mild, but not bell peppers.

Koske says late spring and early summer also is a good time to start seed for fall tomatoes and to transplant summer "heat setting" tomatoes. He also recommends contacting an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office to learn more about vegetable gardens. In addition, look for Gardening and Get It Growing links in the LSU AgCenter Web site:


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