Fall garden

chrholmeJune 30, 2012

I have been reading the OSU gardening document (HLA-6009) and it says to plant fall tomatoes between July 1-15. Wouldn't it still be too hot for this? Should I wait for cooler temps?

I started my seeds may 26.

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I just jumped online to ask if there was anything I could plant at this point in the year and saw this thread. I just cleared out an area and was hoping to plant *something* but was concerned about these high temps.

I just printed the OSU Fall Planting guide, but look forward to any advice from you experienced OKIE gardners about what to do and not do at this time of year.

One thing I didn't see on the Fall guide was melons. Is it too late to put things like watermelon or cantaloupe in the ground?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 10:38AM
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I have a couple of cantaloupes I plan on planting today, only because they were given to me and I need to finish out a row where I hope to keep a few tomatoes growing. I dont have high hopes for the cantaloupes. I first had planned on planting cow peas.


    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 11:10AM
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Larry, If you plant something like Hale's Jumbo Best, I would think it would have time to produce. Some melons take a really long time and depend on the hot weather, so I would pick a short season one.

I should have started more tomato plants, but didn't. That seems to be the only thing I am having a problem with except okra, and it didn't come up good so I only have a few plants.

I haven't done anything with my tomatoes yet, but my kitchen cabinets are loaded so that is the next job. I planted one cattle panel of pickling cukes and I think I have made 24 jars of dill pickles so far and they are still going strong. I plan to switch over and do a few sweets, but it looks like I will still get plenty from this first planting to do that.

My summer squash crop hasn't been enormous, but it has been all we could eat plus I have made 6 pints of squash relish which is a fav of mine.

I froze 17 bags of green beans and also canned Dilly beans. I picked a lot of beans today and have another trellis just starting to produce.

A friend called and said the corn was ready and all I had room for was 2 dozen ears. Al picked and shucked it and I warned him not to bring home more than a couple of dozen ears to freeze plus what we could eat yesterday. Of course, he did, so my neighbors all had corn for dinner yesterday.

I will plant some things in the fall, but I think I am about to the saturation point right now. Dawn is the energizer bunny and she can keep up with everything, but not me.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 12:24PM
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Carol, I have no idea what type of cantaloupe plants I have, they are volunteers of some kind. The one plant that survived a few weeks ago is still producing well, I have no idea what kind it is either, but taste good.

My tomatoes and peppers have produced well but the heat and dry weather has about taken out the tomatoes. I told Madge last night that I sure wish I had some old sheets and she said she had three, so it looks like I will be putting up some shade soon.

We have given most of our produce away. We are trying to save one side-by-side for beef, then we will finish filling it with vegges. I have high hopes for a fall garden with a lot of broccoli to finish filling the freezers.


    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 1:13PM
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Larry, I hope I have more broccoli and more freezer room for it by Fall harvest, but I haven't planted it yet. I did freeze some in the Spring, but not as much as I could use this winter. I have never planted broccoli in the Fall, but it makes more sense to me than a Spring crop in our climate. My problem is always motivation, because I am usually too tired of the garden by mid summer to start plants. I get the gardening bug again in the fall in time to do some salad crops to take into the cooler weather, but I am hopeful that I will do better this year.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 1:32PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Yes, it seems too hot. No, do not wait. In order for the plants to be big, healthy and ready to bloom like mad to give you lots of fall tomatoes, you need to put them in the ground during the time period that OSU specifies. If you plant them later, the plants will be smaller and won't bloom as well as early and you'll get fewer fruit.

If the weather really bothers you, you could stagger your plantings--putting 25% of your plants into the ground each week in July. Then, see which ones do best under whatever conditions you have in the summer and fall, and base next year's planting date for your fall tomatoes on your experience this year.

I'm going to link a thread from last year where we discussed the timing of fall tomatoes. It's just a fact of life here that in order to have plants big enough to produce in fall and ripen fruit before a freeze gets them, we have to plant when it is insanely hot and dry.

You always could give your young plants shade for part of the day, using shade cloth, sheets, etc. and gradually lengthen their exposure to full sun as they become better-established.


Here is a link that might be useful: Fall Tomatoes

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 3:08PM
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I just planted a few things last Sunday here in OKC. We've had a fair amount of rainfall until the last 2 weeks so just now have begun really watering in earnest.

I have planted pumpkins, green beans, cucumbers, zucchinis, canteloupe and cilantro, all from seed, in the space I made from harvesting onions a few weeks ago. I just pulled my determinate Roma tomatoes (I have no idea how I accidentally planted these, must have been thinking grocery store roma) but it has freed up some room for me to put in some okra seeds tomorrow.

I am not a very experienced gardener, but I can say that last year this was within a week of the same time I planted my pumpkins and I thought that was successful.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 3:20PM
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I haven't even started the seed for my fall tomatoes yet, but will very soon. They will be planted in 10 and 18 gal containers that will be moved into the greenhouse as the first frost approaches, so should produce for me. I need to look back at last year's records to see when I planted fall cucs as the plants had a dozen 2-3" cucs on them when the frost hit last Oct. If they had been in pots I could have saved them too.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 4:23PM
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I have some empty space after harvesting corn, is it still good time to plant some more Okra?

any one planting sweet peas for fall?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 5:03PM
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I'm planting sugar snap peas :)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 5:07PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Cottentop, I forgot to address your question about melons. Much depends on where you are in Oklahoma (far north? central? far south?) and also on the date of your average first frost or freeze of autumn.

In order to have time to grow and produce well, most melons need 90-120 days at a minimum, and when they ripen in cooler weather, they can slow down so much that they take longer to ripen and develop full flavor in fall than in summer. I usually don't plant melons for fall for a couple of reasons. First, the ones I planted for summer are still growing and producing fine, and secondly, their flavor in fall is inferior to their flavor if grown and ripened in the summer heat. Remember that melons are true heat lovers and need lots of sunlight and heat to develop good flavor. Once the summer solstice has passed, our daylength (in gardening terms, the number of hours of sunlight per day) is shortening with each passing day so that fall melons will mature more slowly because in September and October they're getting significantly fewer minutes/hours of sunlight per day than in June or July.

If you want to try melons for fall, they need to be planted 4 months before your average first freeze of fall. (see the link below to get an idea of when that occurs) The first freezing temps of fall are very erratric. I am just about as far south as you can go in Oklahoma and still be in Oklahoma and not in Texas, and some years we have our first fall freeze as early as about the 3rd week in Sepember and other years it might not arrive until mid-December. You just never know that the weather will do here. However, our average first freeze is between mid-November and Thanksgiving most of the time, so that's what I use for planning purposes. Your first freeze may occur earlier or later than the average depending on what sort of microclimate you're in. I am in a low-lying creek hollow in a low-lying river valley, so my first freeze is often earlier than you'd expect from the averages for my area, and my last freeze is often later. Over the years, you'll learn from careful observation what to expect in your own specific location.

If you plant melons, I'd chose varieties with short DTMs.

Chandra, I'd go ahead and plant the okra. There should be plenty of hot weather left in July and August to keep it happy.


Here is a link that might be useful: Average Date of First Fall Freeze

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 12:55AM
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So it's a crap shoot for late melons. Got it. I'm guessing but something tells me we'll have that early cooling this year. Maybe I'm just still stuck in last spring which was so deliciously nice and long (at least in my area).

Good to know on the okra. I was thinking otherwise. Tomorrow it is, then!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 1:17AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Yeah, I think fall melons are a crap shoot. However, because of the erratic nature of weather here in the center of the continental US, we always have erratic weather so in a lot of ways, most gardening is a crap shoot. We just hope that the odds work out in our favor most of the time.

Spring-like weather arrived in my part of the state in February but we hit 100 (unofficially) in latest March or earliest April. I remember it well because we were having a week-long fire training session at lake Murray State Park and on the last day, which was a Sunday, the firefighters were suffering tremendously in the heat. We went through bottled water and Gatorade tremendously fast. The next day my garden looked like someone had broiled the plants with a torch. At that point, I decided spring was over and summer had arrived. Of course, the weather then was all over the place for the rest of April until it settled down into an uncomfortably hot, dry and windy pattern in May.

Compared to last year though, June was lovely and mild here for the most part even though at our end of the state our high temp was often 10-15 degrees higher than our usual average for that day. It isn't that June 2012 was cool by any means, but it still felt better than June 2011. After what we went through last year, I cannot imagine we'll ever have worse summer weather. I said that after 1980 too, and it remained true, at least until 2011.

I'd love to have a nice, cool summer like the one we had in Texas in either 1996 or 1997. What I remember from that year was that on Independence Day, it was foggy, misty, rainy and the high was maybe in the upper 60s or low 70s. It was a great gardening year because the heat didn't burn up anything and I didn't even have to plant a fall garden because the summer garden was going strong.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 2:20AM
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"...I cannot imagine we'll ever have worse summer weather. I said that after 1980 too, and it remained true, at least until 2011."

Gollies. I shall not thinketh the same about 2011, then !!

Mum's the word!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 5:58AM
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I remember those moderate summers of '96 or '97.

Those were years my garden prospered late into August and September and I had ample produce to enter for the local county fair.

I won in most every category and created a new hot pepper category in the first year I entered.

That was a banter year for me.

That garden property was great year for my vegetable garden.

My small urban garden has enough challenges.

Lately, they are aphids and white flies. In this hot weather, I expect spider mites, tomatoe hornworms, downy and or powdery mildew.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 6:45AM
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Thanks Dawn, I am going plant more Okra this evening. We have about 30 plants, producing enough our own consumption but enough to share with friends and freezing. I am planting both corn as well as bush bean beds. -Chandra

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 11:13AM
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