cool-season veggies in the heat of Summer!

digit(ID/WA)October 16, 2007

Hi Everyone,

I noted back on the 1st of August how I'd planted snow peas and would soon plant bok choy seed. It was just about crazy to be out there in absolutely blinding Summer heat putting pea seed in the ground. And, then a few days later, seeding another cool-season veggie.

Well, it worked! For the 1st time ever - I've got pea pods in October. That is, more than just a tiny handful. The Toy Choy has mostly bolted but my favorite, Mei Qing Choi came thru.

TheyâÂÂre not done yet, either. We've really entered the rains of Autumn and that's just going to encourage the bok choy especially. It has performed well at this time of the year before even when I've planted âÂÂem while not under the influence of heat delirium.

Usually, these veggies go in about 3 weeks later when we finally get a little rain in late August. But, not this year and not henceforth for the snow peas! With a little luck, slower-growing Maruba Santoh will come thru for me as well. (And, that's a good thing since I plum dang forgot to plant it in the Spring!)

digitS' dinner tonight:

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Azura(z5 CO)

Your veggies look delicious. Timing is the hardest thing for me to figure out as a newbie gardener. Ive added "plant snow peas and bok choy per digitS on RMG" for August 1st to my gardening calendar. Come August next year, be prepared for a barrage of questions about snow peas and bok choy. ;)

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 12:03AM
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digit(ID/WA)

A couple things Azura,

I already had the pea seed in the ground by the 1st of August, I'm guessing that I was out there about the 25th of July with the Oregon SugarPods.

The bok choi was planted August 2nd but I seem to have success with planting the baby bok choi for about the first 3 weeks of August (and then I can switch to broad-leaf mustard for another week or 2). Seeding these veggies isn't likely to work in July or even late June - they are just too willing to bolt.

I'm probably not pushing the germination temperature margins of the peas. I kind of doubt if the soil gets too high at pea seed depth. But, shell peas or snap peas would never have time to develop pods properly. Usually, I'm eating pea tendrils at this time of year (which are okaaaay ;o).

The study I have shows that soil temperature at 86°F will result in pea seed germination in 6 days. Most veggies take LONGER or fail altogether at 95°F soil temp. Only 3 onions came up in about 20 feet of row when planted at the same time as the bok choy and those wouldn't grow! I wasted the seed.

The peas didn't like so much heat once they emerged and have only grown about 20" high but they, at least, didnÂt need trellises! The Mei Qing Choi could be larger. And, the Toy Choy essentially didn't make it - I think some of the plants are about the size of a silver dollar with a thin flower stalk rising about 10" above the ground.

Gardening is all about plant life and the old axiom is that in life, it's all about timing. Even with pampering, I can't start carrots later than mid-June but here I'm out there in the hottest 2 weeks of the year planting peas and bok choy.

d'S'

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 11:13AM
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singcharlene(Zone 5)

Good for you, Steve! You know, I don't think I've ever eaten bok choi. I've never grown peas before and am very eager to do so this spring!

I've got some cool season things going on : kale (that hasn't stopped from the spring planting), red cabbage, some lettuce (simpson elite), mesclun greens, and a romaine I've been swiping baby leaves off of. I covered it with a frost blanket.

I will grow Simpson Elite again. It was crispy, tasty and held up to heat with no problem. In a "Lettuce Bolting Resistance Project," Colo State Ext rated it as holding the longest without bolting directly after the high July temperatures. I'm still clipping leaves off of some of the younger plants.

Last year I planted several rows of spinach in August that never did anything so I thought it was history. But then in the spring I got a whole bed of spinach from that very same planting in very early April. That was a nice surprise! I served it at the Spring Swap in early May.

;)
Charlene

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 1:51AM
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digit(ID/WA)

And Good for You, Charlene!

Betcha, you've eaten bok choy at a Chinese restaurant.

I can't believe that I missed this August planting scheme for spinach . . . again! Discussed with DW & everything (she has a friend who goes this route to have early Spring greens).

Kale is doing fine from Spring planting.

I once felt that a romaine lettuce was the best choice for me to pick-&-come-again but there was a problem. I'm not much of a salad eater and romaine isn't my favorite. It would toughen a bit during the heat of Summer & that would gripe me . . .

Planting lettuce seeds in early Summer is a futile effort but I've got a little of one of Johnny's mixes out there right now (seed started in a flat & plants set out). In the relative absence of the owls (saw one a couple weeks ago fly over) and the wholesale growth of the neighbor's raspberry/grape jungle, the rabbits demolished the 1st plants I set out. What's left will need to hurry.

Grew Simpson Elite again this year - it is a fine variety!

d'S'

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 11:55AM
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digit(ID/WA)

Here's the Maruba Santoh. It is a sister of napa cabbage but looks like a leaf lettuce in the garden. It doesn't really develop a head like many other Chinese cabbages.

I grew this tender leafy vegetable for the first time last year and decided that it is wonderful! If you think that you may not like Asian greens because you are concerned about a strong flavor like mustard or cabbage, Maruba Santoh may be for you. It is mild and tender enuf to enjoy raw.

Fun Jen is a similar plant but quite a bit faster growing and with a little stronger flavor. I thought there was more risk for it bolting with a Summer planting. Fedco carries both varieties.

The plants can get larger than this but I don't know how frost-hardy they are. This is the only time I've planted it in August for a Fall harvest. Frost has already killed the cucumber plants growing beside it.

And, the top leaves aren't really bronze - they are just catching the light of a setting sun.:

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 7:45PM
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david52 Zone 6

I'm busy thawing frozen chard. I am at the early stages of rethinkin' gardening, and seeing how much of the year I can use the facilities.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 9:14PM
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