what can i direct sow now?

totutoise(z5NY)June 5, 2006

hello! this will be my first stint at growing veggies.What can i direct sow now here in zone 5 in buffalo, NY to be able to harvest before frost date which on an average is mid september? also where to get the seeds from--your favourite source? will i need a fence? How big a bed should i make to begin with? Is it more work than growing perennials and annuals?

ha! ha! you can make out not only i am new but somewhat nervous too. I will get a book from library too but nothing beats the firsthand info on this forum.

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You'll probably have more luck if you go to the vegetable forum. The link is below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Vegetable forum

    Bookmark   June 5, 2006 at 4:25PM
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ninjabut(USDA z 8,CA)

Why do you have to direct sow? It seems pretty late in zone 5.
The nurseries and even the big box stores have already started plants that would get you going (at least this year) faster.
I've been gardening for about 5 years, and have bought starts from an organic nursery.
I finally got a greenhouse this year, so I will be starting things from seed for next year and experimenting on over wintering some veges.
HTH Nancy

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 9:43PM
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faithling(z4 VT)

It's a perfectly fine time to direct-sow any "big seed," warmth-loving plants like corn, beans, squash, cucumbers, etc. I also plant carrots, beets, fennel and other 60-70 day "root" vegieis for fall harvest at this time of year. If you can find a shady spot, take advantage of the cool rainy weather and plant lettuce, cilantro, arugula, parsley and other cool-weather plants.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2006 at 9:35PM
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billme(6 Pennsylvania)

Teach a man to fish...

What you really want to be asking is "How do I determine what to plant now?", because you can almost always plant something. The decision is complicated, because it is determined by a number of factors: how much space do you have, how many are you feeding, what do you like to eat?

Here's where I recommend you start. Get a GOOD seed catalogue - I like Johnny's, but there are several. Each listing has a "days to maturity" entry, which in most cases means how long it takes to go from seed to harvest. Use that number to determine what you can plant by subtracting that number of days from Sept 15 (just to be arbitrary, which frost is). The date you arrive at after that simple calculation is the last "risk-free" day to plant that particular vegetable... BUT! I always push the planting date forward and back by a few weeks because most home gardeners plant too much, all at once, and end up with too many beans(for instance) for a few weeks and not enough in the weeks before and after.

Get a good book, too - start at the library. Try to find Eliot Coleman's Four Season Harvest or Jeff Ball's Square Foot Gardening, both have good explanations of this type of planning as well as a good overview of what you need to know to start.

And read the forums here relentlessly, the amount of knowledge, generously shared, is amazing.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2006 at 10:55PM
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Check with your state's Extension Service. Each county should have it's own Cooperative Extension Office which provides free publications and information for the asking. They can also tell you the average last frost date for your area and ideal planting times for specific crops and varieties in your area.

Example: Vegetable Planting and Planning Calendar for Missouri (download the pdf) complete with spring and fall planting dates, how much to plant per person, etc. Just call up the office in your county. Look under the "Government" section (usually blue pages) of your phone book under "Extension". They will have valuable vegetable/gardening tables available specifically for your area determined by data universities, and research scientists have collected from growing those crops in your state.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 1:09PM
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Get yourself a copy of Eliot Coleman's book Four Season Harvest. He gardens year round in zone 5 and the book will give you comprehensive info about what to plant when.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 3:45AM
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feldon30(N Houston (8))

Isn't it late for cucumbers from seed in zones 5-6? This is my first year growing a fall garden (or indeed ANY garden)!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 5:38PM
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You can go with some green beans. Potatoes and other root veggies will work. Mustard, beet, chard, kale and other greens will work if you have some shade.

In mid-August you can do some 2nd sowing for peas, lettuce and other cool weather stuff. Check the weeks to harvest on the varieties to fine tune the sowing time. (With the lettuce you may have to germinate it in your basement then move it out to the garden as soon as it sprouts)

Next year plan on getting some maters in early. We used to grow the most amazing beefsteaks when I was a kid in Cheektowaga. Then again, my grandfather had a nursery so we had an advantage over many folks.

Happy growing!!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 5:31PM
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Lettuce is fast -- radishes are fast.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 4:42PM
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I was always intrigued by four season gardening. Last fall and early winter were not very cold so I spread some compost on parsley, oregano, tarragon and thyme and they greened up like you wouldn't believe. I was using parsley in particular because I had so much. At the end of January it turned cold and parsley froze. The question I always have is how could I continue harvesting even when it gets cold. Kale and chard are very good in cooler weather. If we want to follow a "Hundred Mile Diet" having these greens in my garden during cold moths would be fantastic. I haven't got a greenhouse but many of the heirloom seeds (and judging by their names) were meant to be grown in colder weather. I live in Toronto and if there isn't a hard frost I can have a few things which can provide us with some greens during November and December. What kind of techniques are used to extend the season?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2007 at 5:20PM
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My inlaws grow insanely good beefsteaks in Kenmore, and before that they grew so many they fed all of Gerald Place in east Buffalo. Why don't you grab some plants from the nusery and experiment with the big fast seeds like summer squashes and cukes. If you don't have a lot of space for vining plants, you can always plant them near a chain link fence or give them some other type of vertical support to grab.

Here's a good site to explore: http://counties.cce.cornell.edu/niagara/

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 2:09PM
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