plant now?

borderokie(7)July 25, 2013

Since we have had rain do you think it would be ok to go ahead and plant bush beans early

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I like roma beans, but they have not produced much this year. I bought some Contender and planted a few weeks ago that are just starting to bloom, and I plan on planting more in a few days. It seems that the bush beans I have been planting just don't like the heat and the pole beans get some kind of disease. These beans are new to me and they may not do well either, but I have the seeds and will be planting.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 11:43AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

You can plant early if you want to. Just be sure you keep a very close eye on the young seedlings as they sprout and after they sprout. Pest pressure usually is at its highest poin in mid-July through mid-August, and hungry hordes of pests can eat young seedlings down to the ground overnight or in just a few hours of daylight.

Planting early may or may not give you beans earlier than planting at the recommended time. It just depends on when the weather cools down.

If your soil temperatures at planting depth are hotter than 90-95 degrees when you plant the seed, it can be hard for the bean seed to sprout in that hot soil. Shading the soil with a temporary cover of some sort can help keep the soil cool enough for good germination. It seems like the current cool spell with rain would be a great time to sow the bean seeds a little early as long as your ground is not so excessively wet that the seed will rot before it sprouts.

Larry, Bean blossoms are temperature sensitive in the same way that tomato blossoms are, and bean plants drop their blossoms without forming beans when the temperatures are higher than they like. I get great bean harvests in late May or early June from seed sown in early to mid-March in the years when the temperatures allow me to sow seed that early. Some years the great harvest continues into July if the temperatures allow. The middle of summer is sort of a dead spot for bean production because we just get too hot. Fall beans, though, produce oodles and oodles when the temperatures are right.

From seeds sown in late July through mid-August, I usually harvest and freeze enough beans in October and November to last us until the following summer.

I didn't even plant bush beans in spring because it stayed too cool too long. I did plant pole beans on the back garden fence, since I consider space on the fence as sort of "anything goes" trellising space above and beyond the standard in-the-garden plantings.I didn't necessarily expect much from pole beans in the summer, but you never know. In a summer with recurring cool spells and rain, the pole beans occasionally have a really great summer. So how about this summer? The pole beans have been holding their own against the pests, and have grown fairly well but haven't produced much. However, I noticed lots of tiny beans on some of the plants this week, so I guess the blooms were cool enough during last week's rainy days to form beans instead of just aborting from the plants because of the heat.

In a year when the pole beans survive the summer and are blooming in late June, I'm usually picking lots of beans by the end of August. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this will be one of those years. Some years the beans produce all summer even in fairly high temperatures, but the beans produced in summer's high heat are small and poor in quality. Beans just aren't heat lovers. I usually plant beans for spring or earliest summer harvest, southern peas (this year I planted pink eye purple hull, zipper, cream and cow peas) for summer harvest and then beans again for fall. Sometimes I carry the southern peas into fall as well.

I just planted fall pole snap beans and will plant fall bush beans and lima beans in a couple of days, after I clear out a spot for them. This is the first year in a while where the spring garden still is producing so well that I am going to have to deliberately create empty space in which to plant fall crops. Usually the heat and lack of rainfall create those new empty planting spots for me.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 3:31PM
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seeker1122(7a ok)

I asked this on the red runner deal but haven't looked at it yet my comp takes forever to do anything so I;ll ask here.

On the OSU planting guide it says to dig trenches for seed planting this time of year. How deep do they need to be? Do you have to do this for seeds to sprout or seedlings to survive?
Thanks all

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 12:44AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I've never used the trench method for summertime plantings and the OSU guide doesn't say how deep to make it, only to make it "somewhat deeper" than you normally would plant seeds. So, since the deepest you'd normally plant any seed is roughly three times the diameter of the seed, for that trench planting I'd dig the trench only 2 or 3". As the seeds sprout and grow, then you come along and slowly fill in the trench over a period of time until it is level with the surrounding soil.

I have clay soil, and even after it is amended and even with it in raised beds, it still drains slowly and holds too much water too long at times. Thus, if I tried trench planting, I feel like water from rainfall or irrigation likely would sit in the trench and rot the seeds, and that is why I don't do it. If you have sandy soil or sandy loam, the trench should work just fine. After digging the trench, you just cover the seeds with enough soil (or peat moss or compost) to equal up to 3 times the diameter of the seed. at the bottom of the trench. After the seeds sprout and are growing, slowly add more soil, compost or peat moss to the trench to fill it in. After a week or two of plant growth, you'll have the trench filled in.

The advantage of using a trench is that it is deeper and the soil is cooler which helps seed germination. There are some reasons why it would not necessarily work in every situation. I've already mentioned compacted clay that holds water might hold too much water in a trench if it rained at your place like it rained in much of OK yesterday, the day before or last week. Also, if you have a persistent problem with any sort of little rodents like gophers, moles, voles, etc., they often will turn the planting trench into a little highway, eating their way through the seedlings as they go, if they are seed eaters (moles eat insects). I have trench-planted seed potatoes in winter some years and all I was doing, apparently, was creating a gopher and vole superhighway so they could travel the trench and eat all the seed potatoes.

While OSU recommends trench planting as one way to keep the soil cool enough for good seed germination in summer, there's other ways to do it.

1) You can plant the normal way and shade the ground to keep it cooler. I sometimes do this by putting a lawn chair at the end of each planting row, and then draping an old bed sheet over the two chairs so it sort of looks like a tent over that row. You only have to shade the ground for a week or two---just until the seeds sprout. I've also done it just by mulching heavily on either side of the row of newly sown seeds, but leaving only very light mulch directly on top of the area sown with seed.

2) I've sown seeds the normal way, watered the ground, and then laid a large sheet of cardboard (cut from a large appliance box) on top of the soil. I lift the cardboard, look underneath it twice daily, mist the ground with water if needed, and remove the cardboard as soon as the first tiny green sprout appears. The cardboard helps cool the ground beneath it and helps keep the soil from drying out and crusting over on the surface of the ground, which sometimes happens and can keep the seeds from breaking through the surface of the soil.

3) With most seeds (the exception being teeny-tiny ones that are hard to handle), you can soak them in a cup of water for a few hours (I don't do this with beans because it makes them rot) and then wrap them in a paper towel or coffee filter and put them in a zip-lock bag to pre-sprout. Check the bag daily to see if sprouts are appearing. As soon as sprouts appear, take them outside and plant them at the same depth you would have put the seeds. Gently pat soil down around them and water them. They'll usually pop up out of the soil in a day or so since you've already gotten them to sprout.

If it is so hot and dry that I think beans won't sprout in the ground, sometimes I have started them indoors in little bathroom-sized paper cups filled with soil-less mix, and then as soon as they sprout, I take them outside that same day and plant them in the ground, cup and all.

The weather we have right now is pretty mild for July and I think seeds direct-sown should sprout and grow quickly.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 10:51AM
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Okiedawn, I want to be just like you when I grow up!

Stephanie in Tulsa

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 12:15AM
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I direct plant all of my late crops direct and had great germination again. This included carrots. In my deep sandy loam soil. I deep soak right after planting and will add a very light covering of straw. I will ofter lightly mist the soil every evening. The deep soak will cool the ground temp some. The carrots started breaking ground in around seven days. This was during the heat of last week including the 2-3 100 degree days. I do feel the deep soak slowed up my okra germination. I had okra coming up for 3 weeks. I ended up with only 3-5 that didn't germinate in a 70 ft row. But germination was slow. This method has worked for me for several years. The deep sandy loam allows me to use this method. I don't use the trench method usually. I have tried it but it seems in my sandy soil with the winds and heat some of the seeds will become covered more than desired. Jay

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 6:42AM
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Well, I decided if Jay thought it was time to plant carrots, then I would plant too. Planted carrots, beets and lettuce this morn on the west side of the greenhouse where it stays shaded til almost noon. (I already have selfseeded arugula coming up there.) I will wait a couple weeks to plant spinach, radishes and bok choy. Then in mid Oct I will plant the greenhouse beds for winter harvest.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 11:16AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Stephanie, Oh girl, be careful what you wish for. It might not be good to be as garden-obsessed as I am. : ) Thanks for the complement though.

The early edition of the HPS seed/plant/supply catalog just arrived yesterday and I've already looked through it somewhat obsessively for new ideas for what to plant in 2014. It always arrives in August and it usually is the first place I see some of the All-American Selections for the upcoming year. I'm already making my list and checking it twice and likely will order some things from HPS today or tomorrow because there are some cool-season things I want to grow this fall, and I want to get some of their poppy seeds to sow in fall or winter for blooms in 2014.

You know you are garden-obsessed when you're planning next year's plantings in August....and I do that every year.

Dorothy, The only things I have planted for fall are pole beans and bush beans. I have the seeds, flats and soil-less mix to start cool-season transplants but am having a hard time getting motivated to do it.

This summer, every time I harvested something and removed the spent plants, instead of sowing a succession crop of veggies (except I did sow southern peas) in the now-empty beds, I sowed seeds of flowers. I broadcast sowed all kinds of flowers and herbs just to see what would sprout in June and July, and tons of stuff sprouted and filled the beds. So, in order to put in anything else for fall, I have to remove something that is still growing and green. It just kills me to remove totally healthy, happy plants and I can't make myself do it, so maybe I'll just leave all the flowers alone until later in fall when it is time to plant spinach and other greens.

Shortly we will have a lot of space open up in the back garden where the spider mites are sending the pickling cukes into a rapid decline. I'll be able to plant something in their spot in another week or two.

Tim, who normally does not step foot in the garden unless I've asked him to come help me do something, was standing in the garden Friday and enjoying how lush and green it is. It generally doesn't look this good in August. The pepper plants only look good, though, because they are under shade cloth. The heat for the last 10-12 days has been really hard on them.

Then Tim spotted a watermelon and it cracked me up when he saw it. "Look! A watermelon!" he said, as if I didn't know we had watermelons growing in the garden. I had just harvested one (a new variety, a 2013 AAS winner, called "Harvest Moon") from another row and was standing there holding it at the time. I guess I faked him out and surprised him because in that bed where he saw the refrigerator melon, the watermelon is growing as a sort of ground cover beneath okra and various flowering plants. If you didn't know the watermelon plant was there, I could see where it might be surprising to stumble upon a big watermelon....or even a small one.

While we were enjoying walking around and looking at everything, I was noticed how all the plants are tumbling out of their raised beds and into the pathways. Since we had killed a velvet-tail rattler there just outside the gate a day or two before, I was nervously watching my feet and telling myself I needed to spend some early morning time dragging all those plants back up out of the pathways and into their raised beds so the paths would be wide open and clear and we'd see any snakes in the paths before they saw us. I haven't done that yet. Maybe tomorrow.

It is too hot down here to even think about planting much. I will say, though, that this August is more pleasant than August 2012 and much more pleasant than August 2011. It might be hot, but it is only average heat, not off-the-charts type heat.

Jay, I don't know how your seeds can stay in the ground long enough to sprout before those wicked Kansas winds carry them away!


    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 1:41PM
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Dawn the wind is like everything else here. Feast or famine. We have had several days lately with little to no wind. It was 2 mph when I just checked. This morning the flag on a pole north of my property hung limp all morning. The humidity has been terrible. It is 44% now at 7 PM. It was still 91% at 9 AM this morning. I was soaking wet finishing up one of the garlic beds for this fall and planting buckwheat in it. I went to Liberal and took my sister from Topeka who has Parkinsons out to dinner. Got home and reset the timer and started soaking the bed again. I tilled in the partially decomposed mulch and then added 2 inches of good purchased compost and 1" of horse manure and tilled that in. I will let the Buckwheat grow till mid Sept and then till it in. I like to super charge where I will be planting garlic. I will soak the bed for 10-12 hours.
Dorothy I garden by my senses alot. I have a feeling we may have a cooler fall. We had two hot days the end of last week and then 83 yesterday. 94 today and supposed to be upper 90's tomorrow and then mid 80's for Wed and possibly lower by the end of the week. Maybe 1-2 low to mid 90's next week. Of course the forecasts will change several times before next week. I eat a lot of carrots. I planted about 20' the first time. I planted cabbage last Thursday evening. I will plant more carrots in another week along with some Kale if the forecasts hold close to what they are now. Here I have to gamble sometimes if I want a crop. When I plant early then I always have the option of planting again later. But if I wait I can't go back and plant.
I hope we see some more rain. We have several chances. I received a half an inch last Thursday night. And if it isn't going to rain I would like to see the humidity decrease. Humidity seems to cause problems here. Maybe it is because we don't know how to handle it. Anyway you slice it though this year is far ahead of the previous 4 years to this point. Jay

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 8:19PM
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