QUESTION:  When a seed pack gives the “days to germination” and “days to maturity, should I add these together to find out when the plant should mature?

ANSWER:  I found various answers to this question online; and, honestly, I wish the seed packets set us straight.  So, to get the real scoop, I sent your question to our expert horticulturist at MSU, Dr. Jeff Wilson.  Dr. Wilson replied, “Days to maturity does include germination.  It is not in addition to that.”  

Great, that sounds simple enough.  But wait…there’s more to that number!  Dr. Wilson reminded me that here in the south with our heat, most summer veggies take less than the listed amount of days to maturity and that can be as much as 10% less, but not always.   Also, if you start your seeds in trays and then transplant to the garden, the transplant shock can slightly increase the time to maturity.

I also asked Dr. Wilson when to ground seed cool season plants if the packet says “plant as soon as ground can be worked in the spring.”  Well, here that is almost year around and in Dr. Wilson’s opinion, “that is  not as good of an indicator as soil temps.”  If the plant is tender, it needs to be planted after the danger of frost has passed: April 10th for Pontotoc.  Warm season veggies need warmer soil but beans and peas and corn can be planted much earlier than tomatoes and okra and squash for example.

The best advice for planting times specific to our area can be found in the Garden Tabloid published by MSU.  If you do not have a copy, please stop by the extension office and ask for one.  It is free and full of great information relating to all aspects of veggie gardening.

Good luck seeding this spring and have a happy week planning your garden!

Do you have a gardening question?  Call the Pontotoc Extension Service at 662-489-3911 and ask to leave a question for the Master Gardeners.  Pontotoc County Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who help the MSU Extension Service and serve the citizens of Pontotoc County.

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