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Plant early vegetables to extend your Gardening Year
Vegetables are classified as ”Hardy” and ”Tender,” according to their growth and quality in certain temperatures, and their power of withstanding cold and frost. Cabbage and Cauliflower are called ”Hardy” Vegetables, as they can endure a certain amount of frost and cold, whilst French Beans, Tomatoes, and Melons are ”Tender,” because they are destroyed by frost, and the quality is poor in a cool season.
“Tender Vegetables” are those which cannot be planted out in the Spring until all fear of frosts is over, and until the ground has become warm. These ”Tender Vegetables” are particularly desirable during the warmer season of the year, for instance, the full value of a Water or Rock Melon could not be appreciated in Winter.
Seeds of ”Tender Vegetables” cannot be planted in the open ground until such time as the plants themselves could be put out. It will, therefore, be realised that if young plants are ready for transplanting so as to take full advantage of the season, crops of these ”Tender Vegetables,” such as Tomatoes, Melons, Marrows, French Beans, etc., can be gathered early and used during the warm weather.
How To Get Early Vegetables
To have these ”Early Crops” the gardener must utilise indoor seed boxes, a cold frame or a hot bed. Where all three are available so much the better, as the scope of operations is greatly widened. Planting from a hot bed into a cold frame and gradually getting the seedlings accustomed to outdoor conditions produces strong sturdy plants for putting in the open ground as soon as the season permits.
In mild climates the cold frame may be used in place of the hot bed for raising the seedlings. The Home Gardener need not be deterred from having early tomatoes, Melons, Beans, etc., for lack of a hot bed or cold frame. With common sense management, seed boxes can be utilised for getting early seedlings and will prove a most efficient substitute.