Beware the Ides of July!

hemnancy(z8 PNW)July 14, 2009

Data I have received in the past about the sow date for cole family crops that are capable of overwintering in SW Washington/ NW Oregon (Kale, Wild Red Kale, Turnips, Collards, Overwintering Broccoli, etc) indicate July 15 as the critical date for getting seeds sown. My attempts at sowing cole crops to overwinter have collaborated this date, as sowing later results in plants too small to live through the winter frosts. I've also had great results sowing some of the cole crops like Bok Choy that bolt too fast in spring but make very nice plants for harvest before frost when sown by this date. They don't overwinter successfully, though.

Perhaps for Seattle this date has already past?

What other vegetables are people still sowing now?

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Dang, I need to get busy. I've started some lacinato kale in containers - awaiting the removal of the last of their Spring cousins. I guess I need to think through which other cole family plants i need to start... Thanks for the warning.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 5:36PM
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Florence Fennel is a good crop to sow this time of year as it is less prone to bolt, resulting in larger "bulbs". Also raddichio is a great crop for mid-late summer sowing. In a couple of weeks I will probably sow Walla Walla onions as well.

I'll also be sowing special fall radishes like Watermelon Radish (Red Heart), Black Spanish and Munich Bier which I haven't grown before. It's supposed to be good with beer. Like I need an excuse....

Great time of year!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 5:39PM
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George Three LLC

the smallest of my broccoli starts were the ones that survived last winter, the larger ones turned to mush. i suppose they just got covered in snow and that protected them.

point is: there is something to be said for having same species plants started at different times. if you have the room that is.

and yea, ditto on walla walla time being nowish.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 6:35PM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

I am going to sow carrots and beets tomorrow -- hopefully they will grow enough to get me through the winter. Last winter, we ate these veggies all winter and they seemed to get sweeter the longer I waited to pull them. We also have a huge row of parsnips that can't be eaten before frost. I'm sure they are going to be LARGE.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 7:37PM
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Last fall I planted some seeds of Mache(aka lambs lettuce). It sprouted and thrived throughout the awfully cold winter and in the early spring there was beautiful little heads to be harvested. In the previous summer I planted some seeds only to get a few leggy starts. It appears they like the cold and not the hot summer.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 12:19PM
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Hmmmm .... so rather than clean the veggie garden up in the late fall as i was inclined to (pull everything out, top it with compost and let it rest for winter), my veggie gardens may actually keep producing through the cold winter months?

Gads, i have so much to learn ....


    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 11:29PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

hvaldez- I also grow Mache aka corn salad over the winter, once I got it going it self-sows everywhere.;-) I delude myself that it will act like a winter ground cover and keep the weeds from taking over. And it has such a nice delicate taste.

estreya- The thing about the overwintering cole family crops is that they produce greens in early spring, and small flower heads that can be eaten like broccoli, but if you want to allow them to go to seed, they will take up ground until around mid July. This means you wouldn't want them in an area where you were going to plant spring crops. You might want to set aside a portion of your garden and grow them, let them go to seed, then plant some of the mid-summer vegetables to fill in until frost. My Wild Red Kale self-sowed this spring and got to cutting size in May-July, now is starting to go to seed. Plants started about now will overwinter and not go to seed until spring. If you do crop rotation in your garden, you will have to work out areas to grow different veggies and rotate them around so they are not always growing in the same ground, to minimize pests and diseases. So I wouldn't really advise putting your entire garden into overwintering crops. The soil resting thing sounds good, for the areas you want to grow tomatoes, squash, etc.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 1:34AM
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I got spooked by the extreme cold last winter, and this year I decided to get all my winter veggy crops started on July 1. That means Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, rutabagas, parsnip, beets, and carrots. They are now all in the ground and doing well. I will start bulb fennel and winter lettuce next week. Basically, everything has to be to the correct size and eatability when the frost arrives as a daily possibility in late October.

I haven't grown broccoli as a fall crop in quite a while. It seems so much more predictable and big-headed when sown twice as an early spring and late spring crop. At least for me.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 3:22PM
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