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Timing is everything.

For some crops, you've got one shot at it. If you miss the planting window, you're out of luck. Sweet peas (the highly fragrant flowering and non edible kind) have to be planted late enough to get some chilly (but not freezing) temperatures but early enough to finish before the heat hits. That's a skillful maneuver in the farming world. I haven't nailed the timing thing down but am certainly trying to close the gap.

I took a wild swing a couple of years ago and planted dozens of kinds of pumpkins. I was anxious to get started, glanced at the instructions and put those big ole' seeds in the dirt. They grew like crazy and I was so excited! They grew bigger, greener and rounder throughout the summer. Then, right about the beginning of August, they ripened. I panicked. Who wants pumpkins in August or September? No one. Let me tell you.

By the time October rolled around, I had processed many of those pie, jack-0-lantern and decorative orbs into pumpkin puree, pumpkin butter, pumpkin pie mix and other pumpkin concoctions.

I learned a lesson on timing that year. Pay attention to the germination and maturation numbers on the seed packet and follow them.

Planting super early doesn't necessarily mean you get an earlier harvest, it just means the plant takes longer to grow. Many plants need certain hours of daylight to mature; sunflowers being one of them. That brings us to the saying I grew up with: corn needs to be knee high by the Fourth of July. Studies done on corn planted at different times show that the beginning of June is a good time to plant corn.

Guess what I'll be doing this week.


Editor's note: Mechel Wall is owner and operator of both The Cottage Flower Shop and Wallflower Farm. She can be contacted at

Editorial on 06/13/2018

Print Headline: In gardening, timing is everything!

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