Who's advice to follow?

organic_flutterby(5 MO)March 27, 2014

I'm new to this forum and to gardening. I have been following the SFG book for dates as to when I should start seeds indoors and dates to put things out.

I posted about that on another forum and was told that I started everything way too early.

There is a lot of discrepancies and conflicting information out there. So I thought I would ask my fellow Ozark gardeners what works best for them. What dates do you go by?

Thank you for your help!

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For starting your seeds, back it up about 6-8 weeks before your planting date. For example, if you are starting tomatoes, they should be planted about May 1, so backing it up would mean you need to start your seeds now. Most seed packages will tell you to plant after frost dates. You can look that up for this area but usually that is April 21 around here.

I say usually. But our weather has gone insane so who knows any more? The first week of May is usually safe unless we get snow on May 5 again.

Cabbages, kale, broccoli etc plants can be set out now and seeds should have been planted in February.

Good luck and welcome to the forum!


    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 12:22PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

You are in zone 5? Where in MO do you live? I am not asking you to pin point but it makes a difference. The MO Extension Service Calendar treats my area like northern MO I guess because of elevation. I use walls of water around a few tomatoes and get them in earlier. I don't do that for all. I have accumulated several of those protectors gradually and I use what I have. I planted lettuce and radishes early but they haven't done much. It is dry here and I am just now getting my hoses in place to sprinkle new seeds. The lettuce in a box with a glass and plastic cover is growing. Also I have some lettuce under a clear plastic tub. With some things you can take a chance because the seeds are cheap and numerous - lettuce and radishes for instance. I would not take chances with things that like the heat and are killed by a light frost. That is discouraging and stressful. We usually have warm weather that tempts you to plant and then frosts. Unless you are experimenting it is best to wait until it is pretty safe. This calendar is conservative. I don't wait until May 15 to plant tomatoes but sometimes I'm out covering things after hearing a forecast.

Here is a link that might be useful: MO calendar

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 3:07PM
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It is confusing and this strange year makes it even more so!

I hate doing things twice so I usually delay planting outside until I know I'm safe. Warm weather plants like tomatoes, peppers and eggplants around mid-May (or later). I don't like to allow more than 6 weeks of growing time for starting inside or I end up with leggy plants. I start inside on the back porch under grow lights.

I already have peppers and tomatoes up about 2-3 inches tall.
I also have a small container of thyme. I will start eggplant today. They need the most heat IMO.

I am having trouble this year about removing mulch from the strawberries. I removed it about 10 days ago and then had to re-cover them the next night. I finally found an MU extension website that said to check for yellowing plants under the mulch before removing and then be prepared to cover if frost is expected! I will be checking them again today.

Good luck with figuring this all out.....it may take some trial and error.

Welcome to the forum.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 9:11AM
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organic_flutterby(5 MO)

Thanks for your help!

I got my strawberries all planted about a week or 10 days ago. I had to cover them one night a few nights ago for the late season snow/sleet we had.

I have lettuce, spinach, peas, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and onions all in the bed and growing. I did not cover them. With the exception of a few lettuce leaves, they were unaffected by the weather that night.

I have tomato and pepper transplants waiting to go out. As I have read, I started those seeds way too early. Now my tomatoes are about a foot tall. I think I will see a bloom on them before I get them outside, lol. I hope they survive that long and will do ok after I do plant them.

I have seen lots of tomato and pepper transplants out at Wal Mart already. Those plants stay out all day and night without protection. Does that mean it is time to put mine out?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 12:24PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Wal-Mart will sell you more after the ones you plant too early are killed by frost. Lowes had some hellebores on sale for $3 a couple of weeks ago. They had been damaged by some record cold we had but some had some new leaves sprouting from the bottom. Last weekend the same ones were $5. I asked one of the boys if that wasn't a high price for a dead plant. He said if they can't get $5 for them they throw them away and get credit from the vendor. Those stores sell you plants if they can and it doesn't bother them that it is too cold and the plants may not do well for you because of it. I have seen bags of bulbs out in the garden area early in spring. Some were dahlias and things that shouldn't freeze. If you buy azaleas check the hardiness on the tag. I have seen some sold in Joplin only hardy to 20 degrees. Some azaleas are very hardy so look at the tags. My tomatoes are too big too; none are in the ground yet. I did start later this year but not late enough. I will be bringing them in tonight. My thermometer says 53 but it supposed to be 40 in the morning - cold is not good for tomatoes.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 12:52AM
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I would be wary of buying peppers or tomato plants that have been left outside even with above-freezing temperatures. I won't set mine out until the nights stay in the 50's. Here that means around May 10.

Helen, mine are starting to get too big. I should transplant into individual pots but probably won't get that done.

Re: the tall tomatoes, plant them in a trench and lay them long-wise with just the tops above ground. They will root all along that buried stem and do fine.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 8:48AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

My tomatoes are going to be chilly tonight. Frost is not expected but low 40's is a little cool. I am so glad to get rain and hope it keeps up.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 5:43PM
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organic_flutterby(5 MO)

I put my tomatoes in 10 days ago. I dug a trench and put them in just fine, except I broke one of them, hope it survives. They haven't done much growing but seem fine. Maybe they are growing more roots first.

I also put the peppers in and started bush beans, cucumber, honeydew and watermelon within this last week. I have some banana peppers and Jimmy Nardello about 2 inches long now. My strawberries are doing beautifully, knock on wood.

One observation on this SFG thing is that broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are HUGE plants. They are shadowing everything. Next time they will have their own space.

Hoping for the best. Happy gardening!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 6:36PM
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