October 23, 2013
After getting the broccoli planted, the root vegetables had to go in next. Soil temperatures of 75 to 85 degrees F are optimal for germination of most winter crops. A month from now the days will be shorter, the soil cooler and I’ll regret I didn’t plant the root vegetables earlier.
For every species of seed, there is an optimal soil temperature for germination, and at that temperature, the maximum number of seeds will germinate and in less time than at any other temperature.
Check out the optimal soil temperatures for vegetable seed germination in this chart from University of California, Davis. Soil temperatures are measured at 2 inch (winter crops) to 4 inch (summer crops) depths. (I did find varying instructions for checking temps). Bottom line: Early October is optimal for planting winter vegetables in southern California.
But back to my garden. I planted the root vegetables October 12 and nine days later the radishes, scallions, beets and most of the carrots had germinated. Celery hasn’t shown up yet. This is much sooner than some years when the weather is cooler or I’ve planted later.
Here are the root vegetables I planted from the front of the 4 x 8 foot raised bed to the rear:
Radish ‘Easter Egg Blend’ and ‘Easter Egg Blend II’ Botanical Interests
Scallions ‘Delicious Duo’ Renee’s Garden Seeds
Carrots ‘Nantes Coreless’ Ferry-Morse Pre-Seeded Planting Strip
Carrots ‘Tricolor Circus Circus’ Renee’s Garden Seeds
Beets ‘Baby Ball’ Renee’s Garden Seeds
Beets 'Bull’s Blood’ Botanical Interests
Celery 'Ventura’ Fedco
Snow Peas on trellis, seed saved from last winter’s garden
No room this year for parsnips or rutabagas though I don’t think my husband will miss them.