Cool weather planting

micronthecat(7, North Carolina)September 27, 2008

I want to put snow peas/sugar snaps in my raised bed; is it too late, and if so, what other things can still grow before winter?.

Thanks

L

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Ralph Whisnant(z7b-8 NC)

L, you are probably too late with the peas unless you are prepared to cover them with shade cloth and even plastic on frosty nights. I have some that I planted two weeks ago that are a couple of inches high that I am experimenting with. You should grow spinach for fresh eating in salads. It will overwinter even if you do not cover it, but if you put wire hoops over the bed (9 gauge from Lowe's), you can cover it on really cold nights and continue to pick the individual leaves throughout the winter into late spring. Many kinds of leaf lettuce are also cold tolerant if given minimum protection and their individual leaves can also be picked & eaten all winter. Kale and several kinds of mild Asian mustard (like Mizuna), Pak Choi, Arugula, carrots, turnips, collards and even broccoli (if you can find plants) will overwinter here if given minimum protection against frost, even if the temperatures are several degrees below freezing.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 8:00PM
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tamelask(z8a NC)

L, i think you won't get any fruit set on your peas, but you can and should let them go on and protect them as ralph said, because as soon as it warms up just a bit in spring, which here is feb most years, they'll take off. I've had good luck allowing peas to be prostrate on the ground until it warms up- the ground itself offers a good bit of protection. Then set up your trellis and either help them a bit at first, or just let them start going up. If they've grown a good bit on the ground and you lift them, you may get a foot or two of sudden verticality! I actually prefer to do my snow & snap peas this way (seeding in late fall) since getting the seed to germ in cold wet sometimes leads to rot, and they get such a nice headstart. Plus, often our winters go very suddenly into not just spring but hot summer (90's in april aren't uncommon) and the plants don't have enough time to bear if they're still small.

Nearly any of the cool season plants that would be grown in spring up north will do well during the winter here- spinach, carrots, lettuce, radishes, green onions, beets, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and more. A light row cover will get almost all of these through our winters with no worries and they produce much better for having the jump start. You don't really need the row cover til the night time temps are 20-25 or below. I think i mostly repeated what Ralph said, sorry.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 9:53PM
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