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Advice on a fall garden

Posted by joy_unspeakable NC (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 30, 08 at 13:24

I need advice on planting a fall garden. I've checked all the web sites and books as to what needs to be planted when, but now I'm looking for advice from experienced fall planters. What works well in fall veggie gardens in the piedmont?

The only fall crop I have experience with is turnips and we usually plant them the first part of September. I have some Mississippi Purple Hull seeds. Am I able to plant them now or is it too late? Beets? Lettuce?

Thanks in advance for helping a new fall gardener out!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Advice on a fall garden

You can certainly grow turnips in this area in the fall, but you may want to also plant one of the faster maturing hybrid varieties along with the one you mentioned. My favorite fall crop is spinach. I plant it in September when the weather starts to cool down and again in October for over-wintering. (Spinach germination is poor until the soil temperature is below 70 F.) I also plant multiple varieties of leaf lettuce in September. I plant in four by eight beds and use wire hoops cut from nine gauge wire bought at Lowe's. When the first frost is forecast I put what is called row cover or shade cloth over the lettuce, etc., using the wire hoops to support it. The row cover / shade cloth was bought from Park Seed. Once I put it down, I leave it in place but pull it to one side on warm, sunny days. If we have a very hard freeze (low 20's or below) predicted, I add a layer of thin polyethylene plastic over the shade cloth. This plastic must be partially removed on bright sunny days, but the shade cloth can stay in place as long as the crops keep producing. In addition to spinach and lettuce, I grow Mizuna and other Asian salad greens plus Cilantro, carrots and Parsley. I have tried beets in both the spring and fall with poor results. Swiss Chard grows well if protected from freezes, but we rarely eat it. Kale and collards are other fall crops that are commonly grown in this area, but I have not grown either for the past couple of years. Two years ago I started broccoli seed indoors in August and planted them our in late September. Despite slug damage the plants eventually produced small heads in mid December, but we got lots of small florets from then on for several months. If you can find plants or start seed now, you can grow cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, Chinese cabbage, Arugala and various kinds of mustard. Some of the Mesculin mixes are ideal for growing greens to add flavor to a salad of spinach or lettuce. Insects can be a big problem early in the fall, but (except for slugs) are usually not problems any more after the first few nights of sub-freezing weather. Watering can be a necessity at the first, but rainfall is usually adequate once it cools down. It does help to give the lettuce extra water water occasionally to keep it at its best, but most vegetables will withstand the cold better if kept slightly dry. If you have good soil, you should not add any additional fertilizer after the weather starts getting cool so that the plants will be less tender and better able to withstand any sudden cold snaps. Once the coldest weather is past in late winter and things starts showing new growth, then a small amount of Epoma Garden-tone or other organic fertilizer can spur rapid growth of leafy crops. Spinach especially seems to respond well to light fertilization in both fall and spring.


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RE: Advice on a fall garden

70 degrees is the magic number. Most fall/winter garden greens need those temps to germinate well (you might get 50% if you sow too early or we have a warm fall). One way to jump ahead is to start the seeds inside the house under lights (most houses are around 70 degrees). If you sow by mid August the seedlings will be large enough to plant outside when things cool off in late September.

You can sow green beans or wax beans now and get a good crop before first frosts.

You can sow Fava beans towards the end of August and they will grow all winter long and maybe produce a good crop early next spring. They don't mind winter weather but the plants tend to get sickly once things warm back up and deer and insects love to eat the flowers and the pods. Keep in mind that some people are allergic to favas.

You plant garlic or shallots or chives in the fall (more like November) but if things cool down early you can get them in.

Don't forget Arugula (my fav) and Broccoli Raab (performs better for me than normal broccoli). Kohlrabi also does fine as a winter crop around here (it looks good in the garden all winter and tastes like broccoli stems).

Also, if you have a favorite tomato growing now you can take stem cuttings and root them easily (they seem to root overnight for me). Take stems that are over a foot long with blooms already on it and you'll jump ahead into fruiting mode. Its a great way to get a big bunch of t'maters for canning before winter sets in. Don't do this if your plants have any sort of systemic disease - only take cuttings from healthy plants that are performing well. Tomatoes like cool nights and warm days so with the high heat we are having now your plants may not be performing at their best.


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RE: Advice on a fall garden

Thank you for all of the information. I'm excited about starting a fall garden. Your advice will come in very handy!


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RE: Advice on a fall garden

Awesome thread! I've been thinking about the same thing -- now that I've moved from a house-with-garden to an apartment, I have more brain/time to focus on veggies and am trying to get a couple veggies in for the fall. It's been *great* to have swiss chard fresh all summer (would *never* have thought I'd actually eat the stuff, but I love it!) and would love to have fresh broccoli for the fall.

Hi to all the folks I haven't seen in ages!
:)


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RE: Advice on a fall garden

Welcome, new member! I am planting spinache and cabbage from seed in my cold frame now, which I shield from the sun with lath panels I built myself. One of the most joyous things you can plant from seed this time of year is Mustard greens, whether you eat it or not. It blooms about the first week in March and stops traffic with its size and color. I clicked on your page to see where you live, but you havent written anything about you or where you are gardening. Your location is vital to your planting times and to fine tune any advice you get here. Also, your EMAIL ME link isnt activated. I respect your privacy, but if you would possibly considering editing your page a bit, we'd all be able to give you help that is more specific to your area. Just a tip. Check my page for anything I can share.

Here is a link that might be useful: my page link


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RE: Advice on a fall garden

It's also a good time of year to take cuttings of your favorite houseplants that spent the summer outdoors. Does everyone have a kitchen window garden? Here's what I did today with mine. I hope it looks good all Winter.

http://s65.photobucket.com/albums/h229/Bostoncrocus/?action=view¤t=100_2914.jpg

Here is a link that might be useful: pink flowering Begonia cuttings


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RE: Advice on a fall garden

Quirk, how big do the mustard greens get?? I'm thinking of putting mine under a wee seedhouse, but I'm worried that they'll push the top off if they get too big!

TJ, Ralph, what do you normally do for seeds? I've started a bunch of what I have, but haven't seen garlic, shallots, broccoli raab or bok choy -- order from Park Seeds or is there somewhere in the Triangle that has a good selection?


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RE: Advice on a fall garden

When is the best time to sow broccoli for the fall in NC?


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RE: Advice on a fall garden

Mustard greens can get pretty big if happy like 2-3'. I grow mustard spinach, and it gets big, too.

logan's downtown has a good selection of fall seed and bulbs (garlic, shallots, green onions). Also, the big boxes normally have a decent selection of seed.


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RE: Advice on a fall garden

I usually buy my broccoli starts when the weather really cools down - rather than try to time everything with seeds. If its too warm they just race to bloom. I find them difficult to time correctly.

I normally buy a lot from Parks or any of the other catalogs but will probably shop mostly at Logan's in downtown Raleigh. They have a large seed supply and they are expanding it. They also carry all the supplies for seed starting (a rarity in garden centers nowadays).


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RE: Advice on a fall garden

Thanks, Tamelask and TJ! I went to Whole Foods over the weekend -- I hate buying seeds there because they are so overpriced but figured it was the only place close that might have something like "broccoli raab" -- and yep, they had broccoli rab and a toy pak choi seed packet.

But good on Logan's. I actually went down there once a couple years ago and was wow'd by the selection of seeds, but of course I haven't been able to remember the name again.

Planted a bunch of seeds Friday, and already have seedlings from the broccoli, lettuce and beets. I do love that germination (and it's always such a surprise! maybe someday I'll actually *believe* that the seeds will sprout)... I only have a little 4x4 enclosure, so I'm thinking 1 of everything except beets, garlic, shallots, lettuce, but I might keep some big pots full and just see how long things survive.


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RE: Advice on a fall garden

Glad you got what you wanted, docrawen. The cool weather stuff will go from now until mid to late spring. Just protect anything you have in pots if it gets really cold. In the ground, i try to cover my lettuce & spinach if it's to go much below about 20. a pot will need protection a bit before that. It only takes a light row cover/spunbound fabric, aka reemay for in the ground stuff. Logan's also sells it. A sheet would work for a night, but the reemay you can leave on most of the cold season, only lifting it to harvest. It's so light you can basically let it float on top of the plants with no support. You may want to anchor it in a few spots so it doesn't blow away, is all.

believe it or not, i've seen broccolli raab and pak choi at big boxes and at walmart in the past! You just have to keep your eyes open. If you're starting so few plants, i'd have bought plants, but if you like doing seeds, good for you.


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RE: Advice on a fall garden

That makes sense, Tammy, I hadn't thought of it that way. Just kinda saw everybody starting seeds, and thought that was the thing to do (except when I could get a convenient alternative, heheh). But I also haven't run into plants when I've gone to check, so I've bought seeds instead and have a small stash. Which is probably good, because I've ended up starting plants for a friend as well.

I *am* kind of freaked out that the seedlings might not make it, but that's a question for time and keeping-an-eye-on-things. :)


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RE: Advice on a fall garden

i don't know that that many places would have pak choi and broccoli raab as plants- but logan's might. I think campbell rd has had pak choi in the past. So maybe seeds were the best answer for those. the more common stuff like broccoli and cabbage & such can be found even at the big boxes and is easier than starting seed. It's fun to start seed, though and as long as you keep the remaining seed cool and dry (fridge) it will keep for a very long time. There's nothing like raising something all the way from seed to make you feel successful! Like you said- just pay attention to their light & watering needs (and feeding) and they'll do just fine. Have fun-


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RE: Advice on a fall garden

An update to my fall garden plans.

I planted the Mississippi Purple Hulls at the end July. Then when we had the three days of nonstop rain, many of the plants washed away. I have three or four plants that might produce some peas, so now I'm just hoping for seeds.

I had big plans to work the garden and to plant lettuce and such, but my husband had a bout with melanoma. Between doctors visits, scans and surgery, the garden was the last thing on my list. (Praise the Lord, all is clear now and no signs of spreading!)

Had planned to at least get turnips and greens in the ground the first week of September but it's been too wet. Is it too late to still try to plant those?

I'd still like to try garlic and onions (around November?) I have no experience at all with those, but they are on my list of things to try.


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RE: Advice on a fall garden

  • Posted by don_918 7b Charlotte-Metro (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 30, 11 at 16:45

I am thinking of getting a plot in a community garden and planting some vegetables. All the advice here looks pretty solid. Probably go with carrots, mustard green, swiss chard, onions, spinach, radishes. I know it's a little late for tomatoes and peppers since they like warmer temps and it's almost Sept. now.


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RE: Advice on a fall garden

don, my fall garden greens really responded with the soil addition of crushed peanut shells. Really pulverized but not all dust just small pieces worked into the soil.
Hope you have good luck with the root crops and just be sure to thin them very well, 3-4" between each plant.
Tomatoes,peppers,corn,eggplant are all heat loving,long sunny day plants..too late for them now.
Don't forget the leaf lettuces.
Hope your community garden is well fenced in. It's been a boom year for the bunnies.


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RE: Advice on a fall garden

don, forget the onions. They want hot drier weather than what we usually get in winter. They'll just sit there and rot.


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RE: Advice on a fall garden

actually, now is a great time to plant onion sets for green onions. I don't think they'd size up for a big harvest for full sized bulbs, but for green onions, it works well to plant in fall.


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RE: Advice on a fall garden

I'll probably let the onions go this time around. Still waiting to see if a plot is available (hopefully sometime in the next few weeks). Leaf lettuce is a good option too, but mainly want to work the soil and be outside. Tomorrow is September so August heat will be leaving soon.


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RE: Advice on a fall garden

Now that September is moving in, I'm looking to start some cold weather crops. I am just starting to get fruit from my tomatoes now that the weather is cooling down. My eggplant is becoming quite productive now as well, so I don't want to really take down what is in my main garden just yet.

I have a separate 4x4 plot that I'd like to start some cool weather crops in, but am unsure where to start. Because of it's smaller size, I'd like to put in some plants that are going to yield more often to make harvesting a little easier. Any recommendations on what to plant and how to best utilize the space?

I live in the Fayetteville area.


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