Fall Veggie Plants..... Where?

chrholmeJuly 27, 2012

Has anyone had success finding veggie transplants for their fall garden in the OKC area? TLC wont have theirs for another month (way too late to plant) and Horn Seed hasn't even ordered theirs yet. I'm trying to meet OSU planting date recommendations but so far have been unsuccessful except with the plants I started from seed.

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

What kinds of veggie transplants are you looking for?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 3:47PM
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Truly I would be interested in anything I can find! Lettuce, pumpkins, onions, garlic, broccoli, brousel sprouts etc. I'm not picky :)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 3:53PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Okay. Let's address each of those in general, and then I have two possible sources for you.

Lettuce: Very simple from seed and transplants are rare in stores in fall because greenhouses are so hot and lettuce just melts in heat. You might find lettuce transplants in September, but I'm not sure you will in July or August. If I see any in stores here, I'll come back and post and tell you but I don't think I see them here in fall.

Pumpkins: Very simple from seed and doesn't transplant well except when very, very young and if grown in plantable pots which reduces transplant shock. Often stunts and refuses to grow after being transplanted, so direct seeding often is more successful.

Onions: I assume you mean green onions harvested as scallions? Almost all (except for a few newer daylength neutral types) bulbing onions bulb up in response to the number of hours in the day and they need increasing daylength to trigger bulbing. In the fall, we have decreasing daylength which makes regular bulbing onions a poor bet for fall. The fall is a great time to plant walking onions and the like, but you usually have to order your starts on line. For green onions to be used as scallions, you can buy seed on seed racks. Look for types that are called bunching onions.

Garlic is normally planted from cloves. Many places are selling garlic online now for fall shipment at the right time for planting here. If you need a recommendation of a few, just say so.

Broccoli does poorly from purchased transplants because often the purchased transplants are either too big or have been subjected to severe stress (usually heat stress or poor watering) that causes button heads. Of all the things I'd plant from purchased transplants, broccoli would be last on the list. You cannot tell by looking at the transplants if they've been stressed. Why are broccoli plants so picky? They are biennials. Certain stresses make them go dormant. When you buy a plant you don't realize is slipping into dormancy because its been too dry too much, you take it home and plant it and water it. It wakes up from the invisible dormancy and starts growing. Then, thinking it is in its second season as a biennial, it promptly goes to seed.

If you purchase broccoli plants, look for plants that have fresh, tender lighter green foliage and not older more hardened looking growth. You want plants that are 3-5 weeks old with about 3-5 true leaves. You don't want any with tan or yellow leaves which indicate stress.

Brussels Sprouts are about the same as broccoli.

Most veggies actually are easy from seed so don't be afraid to direct-sow or to raise your own transplants. You can raise transplants outside in July or August as long as they have shade part of the day and perhaps protection (floating row cover or window screen type material) from voracious pests like grasshoppers.

One possible source is Sunrise Acres farm north of Blanchard. I know that they sell transplants in spring and I believe they have at least some for fall. You can shop at their farm 7 days a week or they sell at the OSU-OKC Farmer's Market. I'll link their website.

The other would be just to go to the Farmer's Market and ask around to see who sells transplants. I bet somebody does, in addition to Sunrise Acres.

Most of the stores in southcentral OK also do not have the plants at the recommended planting times, so I grow my own most of the time. However, if you are willing to cover your plants with a floating row cover like Agribon or Reemay to protect them from frosts, you can get away with planting later than the OSU-recommended planting dates.

I suspect the stores either don't know the OSU-recommended planting dates or just don't care. It is possible they've had the plants at the right time in the past and consumers just weren't buying the plants because it still was approximately 199 degrees at their homes and no one was willing to plant in those temps.

Before I started growing my own transplants, which was in the late 1990s, I used to have pretty good luck finding fall transplants in the big box stores like Lowe's or Home Depot, but not in July. In July they tend to have tropicals and really tough, hardy trees, shrubs and biennials. Then, after the recommended planting dates have come and gone, they finally get in veggie transplants in mid August or later. It is frustrating and the main reason I started growing my own.

Maybe someone in central OK can tell you where they've seen veggie transplants either this year or in previous years.

If you happen to be going to Tulsa for something else, don't miss the chance to visit The Tomatoman's Daughter. She's only open for a couple of weekends in July but has a great selection of transplants. Just Google Tomatoman's Daughter to find her website. Her farm is in Jenks.


Here is a link that might be useful: Sunrise Acres

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 4:21PM
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Sunshine acres is great. Robert list most varieties he grows on his site. Just stopped by yesterday & got 128 tomatoes. If he doesn't have what you want today he will be happy to start it for you. He is certified organic & sells at OSU market every wk. I imagine you can get the seedlings from him during market to save you a trip to Blanchard. But I recommend going to his place at least once just to see his operation!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 9:00PM
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Thank you both for your advise!

Jcatblum- I went to see sunrise acres and purchased some great tomatoes and peppers! What a fun nursery! Thanks for recommending it!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 5:09PM
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Thank you both for your advise!

Jcatblum- I went to see sunrise acres and purchased some great tomatoes and peppers! What a fun nursery! Thanks for recommending it!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 5:10PM
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Glad you were able to get some seedlings. Robert will visit with you & tell you all you need to know to grow it pick it or prepare it. He is always happy to give tours also. I am sure you would enjoy it even more when it isn't 100+

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 6:23PM
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I stopped at TLC tonight and all they had were a few pepper plants and a LOT of tomato plants, most of which are huge and producing tomatoes, even though they are in the little 4" pots. That's probably not a good thing, but I'll bury a lot of the stem and see if I can get something from them. They had Champion, Early Girl, Better Boy, Big Boy and some more along those lines, and I found one Juliet which I got, along with a Champion. They were 75 cents each, so I figured it was worth a try. The tomatoes in my garden are pretty much dead. Since I didn't get very many before it got too hot, I'm hoping to get a few more once it cools off a bit.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 7:55PM
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This is good to know. I was thinking of investing in transplants for the fall, since with school and all I may be too busy to start my own.

I am going to check out Sunrise this weekend and see what I can pick up!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 7:03AM
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Wait until August 25- he said he will start selling other things besides tomatoes and peppers then!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 8:10AM
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