The rainy weather this spring has delayed the planting of field crops across much of the state. The heavy rainfall has also interfered with the plans of many home gardeners. Fortunately, there is still time to plant many vegetables, annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs.
The last practical dates to plant specific vegetables in central Iowa are listed below. The last practical planting dates are one week earlier in northern Iowa. The dates for southern Iowa would be one week later.
June 20 -- tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, muskmelons*, watermelons*
July 1 -- lima beans, sweet corn*
July 20 -- cucumbers, summer squash
August 1 -- beets, carrots, snap beans, Swiss chard
*denotes early-maturing varieties such as:
Muskmelon -- Earlisweet, Burpee Hybrid
Watermelon -- Sugar Baby, Petite Sweet
Sweet Corn -- Earliking, Earligem, Aztec, Sundance
While it is too late to plant many of the cool-season crops, some can be planted in late summer for a fall crop. Leaf and butterhead lettuce and spinach can be planted in early August. Radishes may be planted throughout August and early September.
Annual and Perennial Flowers
Annual flowers can be planted as long as supplies remain in greenhouses and garden centers. Some annuals, such as marigolds and zinnias, can still be started from seed. Gardeners should select early-blooming types. For example, dwarf French marigolds begin to bloom approximately 6 to 8 weeks after sowing.
Most container-grown perennials can be planted from spring through fall. However, perennials planted during the summer months will require extra care.
Trees and Shrubs
While it is too late to plant bare-root nursery stock, most balled and burlapped and container-grown trees and shrubs can be planted through early summer and in the fall. Planting during the summer months is possible if the trees and shrubs are given good care.
This article originally appeared in the June 5, 1991 issue, p. 102.