Fall garden

tracydr(9b)September 20, 2010

As anyone planted their fall garden yet? I planted some black tomatoes, replaced the habs and jalapenos I killed just last week and added a Thai pepper and a mint plant. The only thing besides this going strong are my basil, sweet potato, okra.

I took a chance on a couple of strawberry plants that I placed in partial shade last week but they're struggling.

I'm almost afraid to start my cukes (pickling and little cornichons), cabbage, kale, radishes, arugula, lettuces and cool weather herbs. Plus beans, (greasy, snap, favas) and peas. If we continue this 100+ weather or even 90+ when should we really plant this stuff? Surely the gardening calendar doesn't take into account 109 days at the end of Sept?

Anybody with a farm for sale in a cooler state? I'm soooooo ready to move!

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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Hi Tracy, I think the trick is the soil temperature. For fall, most of my resources say to sow seed after the soil has cooled to 70 degrees or so. Right now, my soil is at 80 degrees for the most part.

I use a cheap meat thermometer to test. Have thought of getting bags of ice at the cheap ice machine but have not gone that far yet. It could make the difference as cooler temps are on the way. the ice would cool the soil enough until nature did her thing. Comments?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 11:39PM
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I'll be out there every morning now with my insta-read thermometer!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 2:08AM
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i'm sowing seed outside and they doing great just keep them moist and a little shaded and you're golden. i planted zukes and cukes in mid august and they're doing great sprouted in 4 days

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 4:35PM
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Regardless of what I have read most seeds will germinate no matter how hot it is. Of course I would not plant a Fall crop in the Spring as they will die after they come up. But I see no problem with planting a Fall crop when summer is lingering. It will cool down. If it doesn't I can use shade cloth or row cover to protect them for a few weeks.

Plants take a certain amount of time to get from sowing to fruiting. I plant when the calendar says I should. Farmers do a last picking and till the crops under and plant new crops on a schedule. If you don't your plants will only produce half a crop by the time the next planting season starts. Seed is cheap enough. If a few don't come up plant some more for a slightly staggered harvest. Most of the planting dates have some leeway. I start planting at the beginning plant dates and replant to fill in any gaps in 2-3 weeks.

Is how I do it perfect? No its not. But it will work out most of the time. At this time of year I would rather plant and have to replant than plant to late and only harvest half a crop before its time to sow seed again in the Spring.

Here are my two favorite planting charts.



    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 5:23PM
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I usually try to get my fall seeds planted by mid Sept. but running later than usual this year, just can't take the heat. Mid Sept. is still usually pretty hot and have never had trouble getting things started. I do pre-sprout some of my seeds to get a jump start and can knock a week or two of twice daily watering off the process, especially parsnip seeds. Pkg. says it can take up to 21 days for them to germinate, I start them in damp paper towels and can have them germinated, planted and growing in 8 days instead of 3 weeks. I've done this with carrots, beets and bok choy, wouldn't be practical if you grow huge amts which I don't, but works for me. I've also heard of people who plant seeds, water and cover with a board to keep the soil damp, check daily and when sprouts appear remove the board, can save some twice daily watering seed beds this way too.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 4:56PM
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