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When to plant beans, okra and cukes in Z6

Posted by ilene_in_neok (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 23, 08 at 7:25

Remember, Y'all, I'm in the colder part of the state, almost in KS.

We've got 40-ish nights expected, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday.

So is this too cold if I plant things that want warm soil?

How about my pepper plants that I'm keeping on the porch, can I plant them yet?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: When to plant beans, okra and cukes in Z6

Ilene,

I think it is still a little cold in your area to plant most of these since they like warm temperatures and your soil temps. and nighttime low air temps. are still a little cool.

I've linked the summary page from the Oklahoma Mesonet. You can click on whichever soil temp you want to see--current, 3-day average, 7-day average, etc., and you'll get the statewide map with the averages for each county's mesonet station or stations. Your data, of course, may not be the same as your mesonet station--mine often varies a little--but the soil temps are usually fairly reliable. Look at the soil temp for your county and see if you think it is warm enough for beans, okra or cukes. The nighttime temperatures are definitely too cool for peppers.

I prefer to plant when the temperature is right, not when the calendar says. And, by the way, everything in the world that I have EVER learned about soil and air temperatures and their effect on various veggies, I learned from Texas A&M University's extraordinary Dr. Sam Cotner who wrote THE book on vegetable gardening. His book has been my "vegetable bible" for a long, long time. (I'm on my second copy, having completely worn out the first.) Here's the temps. I use for these plants:

Beans: You can plant beans once your soil temperatures have hit 60 degrees and remained at that temperature for at least 3 consecutive days, and it is even better to wait until your soil reaches 65 degrees. Beans that are planted in cooler soils are slow to emerge and slow to grow, and often remain stunted and less productive for the life of the plant. With lima beans, it is best to wait for soil temps of 70 degrees.

Okra: Okra will sprout in cooler soils but it doesn't like low nighttime temperatures. One old trick about knowing when to grow okra is this: If you live in an area where cotton is grown (and probably not many of us do any more), then you plant your okra when the cotton farmers are planting their cotton because they like the same growing conditions.

I don't plant okra until my soil temperatures have remained at or above 68 to 70 degrees AND the nighttime air temperatures have to be above 50 degrees for at least 5 conscutive nights. Just like green beans, okra that is planted too early and exposed to cold temperatures will be less vigorous and less productive throughout the growing season.

Cucumbers: Cucumber seeds can rot if planted in soil that is 60 degrees or less, and cucumber plants that sprout and grow in cooler soil often are stunted, less productive and very vulnerable to various soil fungi. Cucumber plants need nighttime air temperatures to remain above 55 degrees in order for them to grow and produce well.

Peppers: These are the plants most seriously impacted by cool temperatures. A lot of people set out their peppers at the same time they plant tomatoes, which isn't the best thing for the peppers. Whereas tomato plants can handle exposure to temperatures in the mid to upper 30s (as long as there is no frost) and still grown, bloom and produce a good crop, peppers cannot. If your peppers are exposed to air temperatures in the low 40s for even a relatively brief time, it can cause them to remain somewhat small, stunted and less productive for the entire growing season.

I only moved my pepper plants outside from their shelves of grow lights last week because I don't like to expose the plants to air temperatures lower than 50 or 55 degrees.

You can plant peppers in soil that is 55 degrees or warmer for at least 3 consecutive days, as long as the nighttime temps. are staying above 45 degrees (and above 50 degrees is even better). I usually plant my pepper plants the last week in April to avoid any late cold fronts that might hit after they are in the ground.

If you want to check your own soil temps, you can use an ordinary meat thermometer. I bought a soil thermometer once and then realized it was virtually the same as a meat thermometer only it cost twice as much. (I keep my soil thermometer out with my gardening tools and NOT in the kitchen so DH and DS don't use it for food. LOL)

Hope this info helps.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: Mesonet Data on Average Soil Temps


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RE: When to plant beans, okra and cukes in Z6

Dawn, thanks for that website. I was very tempted to start planting things yesterday, it was so pretty and rain expected etc. I'm glad I didn't! I'll keep my peppers on the porch and bring them in at night until this next cold spell is over and then see where that takes me.

We're getting a downpour right now, so some of the things I did plant are getting a good watering. I set out what I had left of my tomato plants, transplanted some lettuce, spring cabbage and other greens that all came up in a clump, and a few things I had wintersown. There are so many left to set out, but first I have to clean out the beds, and in some instances, create beds. After having only weekends and some evenings to work in the yard for so many years, the yard has just gotten in terrible shape. And because of my back I'm having to pace myself. But I will get there! I did set my Datura out, finally! They were getting SO big! Someone on the Wintersowing forum sent me a bunch of assorted seed and there was Datura Metel in the package, so I wintersowed them. I have about 8 little seedlings. No clue where I'm gonna plant them, but I'll find a place somewhere once they're big enough.


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RE: When to plant beans, okra and cukes in Z6

Ilene,

You're welcome. A pretty day with lovely weather is SO tempting, even when we know worse weather is in the forecast!

Oh, all you need is more rain! Does it ever STOP raining up there?

And those daturas will grow anywhere you have at least a half-day of sun. Mine reseed all over the place and even grow and bloom on the northeast side of a pecan tree where they only get some early morning sun and dappled shade until about noon. Actually, I haven't found a location in my yard where they won't grow! They are coming up all over the place this year. I pull most, but let a few hang around.

It is not raining here today but the wind is blowing like mad and beating my poor peppers to pieces. They got 4 hours of partly sunny skies this morning and then I moved them into the shade. I wanted to leave them out longer, but the wind was going to kill them. (Windburn on tender plants can be as deadly as sunburn.)

I hope the rain is making everything grow!

Dawn


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RE: When to plant beans, okra and cukes in Z6

We normally get a lot of rain this time of year here. One time, when our son was in high school, we planned a trip to Florida to see my sister during spring break. We invited our son's best friend, but when it turned out the friend couldn't go, our son didn't want to, either, thinking he'd be bored, so we left him "home alone" (shudder), with neighbors and his best friend's parents watching over, and fought the spring break traffic all the way to Florida.

We were almost ready for Divorce Court once there. But anyway.

When the visit was over and we started home, it rained on us almost the whole way. We got home to find our son complaining of cabin fever because it had rained almost every day we'd been gone! LOL

Last year's rain was much more than we usually get. But normally, after all the plants have grown lush and green, and made roots up close to the surface, it stops raining and gets hot and then things start dying if you're not vigilant. I always think about the Dust Bowl farmers during this time. So much promise in the spring, only to be betrayed....


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RE: When to plant beans, okra and cukes in Z6

Dawn,

I was looking for Dr. Sam Cotner's books on Amazon, One of the books starts at $65, the other $185. LOLOLOLOLOL I think I'll skip that one for now. Sheri


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RE: When to plant beans, okra and cukes in Z6

Sheri,

Just keep watching for it. I watched for almost six months before someone (one of the small companies that sells used books via Amazon.com) listed a used hardback copy in PERFECT condition for $24.95. Of course, I snapped that one right up the moment I saw it.

The reason Dr. Cotner's book is so expensive is that it is printed on very good quality paper and has tons of COLOR pictures. Also, it is a little over 400 pages. The prices you saw on Amazon are just the law of supply and demand at work.....the book has been out of print for about 20 years, so the supply is very limited. Demand remains high because it is the best, most thorough and most accurate book ever written about vegetable gardening in the southern part of the country.

Dr. Cotner himself has said that there is not a publishing house in the country that could afford to print and sell it these days at ANY price. I believe he is absolutely correct. And he has said he is not interested in writing a stripped-down, smaller version without the photos. (To him, quality still matters.)

If I come across the book anywhere at a reasonable price, I'll let you know.

Dawn


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RE: When to plant beans, okra and cukes in Z6

Dawn,

Now I really want the book. LOL
Ok, thanks for keeping an eye out for me. I appreciate it. Sheri


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RE: When to plant beans, okra and cukes in Z6

Sheri,

Just to make you want the book even more.....every major vegetable has its own chapter, and it covers everything from a brief history of that vegetable, recommended varieties, everything from soil prep to proper temperatures and types of fertilizers and the correct timing of planting based on air temps., soil temps, etc. It also has a great "Problem Solver" for each veggie at the end of the chapter that lists problems, their causes and the best solutions.

I have learned SO much from this book. In many cases, it has helped me understand WHY certain things happened, esp. with regards to the way temperatures affect blooming, fruit set, etc. for many different vegetables. Even minor vegetables are grouped together in a sort of miscellaneous chapter at the back called "Other Crops", and he has appendices devoted to freeze dates, soil testing, pH adjustment and correction of soil, how to rototill, how to make tomato cages, how to pollinate vine crops, etc., etc., etc.

I just love this book.

Dawn


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RE: When to plant beans, okra and cukes in Z6

Okay, now you two have me wanting the book too !!!


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RE: When to plant beans, okra and cukes in Z6

It is the best book in the world for info on vegetable growing in our climate. I remember when it first came out. I thought it was outrageously high-priced back in the '80s, but I bought it anyway and have never regretted it.

I gardened throughout my childhood with my dad (mom was not at all interested in gardening) and grandaparents, and had tons of gardening neighbors and aunts and uncles. From them, I learned "how to". From Dr. Cotner's book, though, I learned a lot of the "why" and "why not". For example, my family taught me that large-fruited (meaning not cherry or Roma) tomatoes wouldn't set fruit in high heat, but Dr. Cotner taught me (via his book) why it was so. That's just one example of hundreds.

The book exists in both hardback and paperback versions. My first copy was the paperback. I left it outside on a lawnchair one day and it got rained on, and I was heartbroken. It was still usable though, and I used it until it was falling apart. Then, I got the hardback version to replace it a year or two ago, and I am so glad I did. No matter how much I learn about gardening, I continue to refer to it constantly, and I continue to learn from it.

Dawn


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RE: When to plant beans, okra and cukes in Z6

I think I found the book (I put the link below), but I emailed and they responded back

"We do not sell any used books. However, we do have new copies of this book available in third edition paperback. All the same information as the first edition with some updates and all black and white photos inside. Price is $28.63 (includes tax and shipping). You can order from
our website www.texasgardener.com or by calling toll free 1-800-727-9020"

I'm thinking it's not near the quality of book you have plus the photos aren't color. It might do until I could find the one you have.

Here is a link that might be useful: Texas Gardener's


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RE: When to plant beans, okra and cukes in Z6

That's it! How perfectly wonderful that they have it. I never went and looked for it on the website even though I knew TG Press was the book's publisher.

I think you probably could live without the color photos although they do add to the attractiveness of the book.

I'm almost tempted to buy an extra one and stash it away in case something happens to the one I have. : )

I don't know when they published it. Mine is a first edition from 1985. Regardless, it should have the same info (which is what really matters).

And, by the way, TG Press also publishes a great gardening magazine, TEXAS GARDENER. It covers all areas of gardening--everything from ornamental plants to veggies to fruit and so much more. I still read it even though I live in Oklahoma now, because most of what is applicable to Texas is applicable to Oklahoma as well.


Dawn


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RE: When to plant beans, okra and cukes in Z6

Very Blessed Mom,

Excellent!! Mines on the way!! Sheri

Dawn,

I also have my Garrett Juice on it's way! I got my dustin mizer, Diacotomus Earth, Seaweed fertilzer. I should be good to go!!


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RE: When to plant beans, okra and cukes in Z6

Sheri,

You are really ready this year! What a difference a bit of experience makes.....since you know now what you will need later, it's a lot easier to "be prepared", isn't it?

Dawn


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RE: When to plant beans, okra and cukes in Z6

Dawn,

Yeah, I am a little more prepared this year. Plus, this year I won't be so apt to freak out everytime I see yellow and brown leaves, ber, and pests. It took me reading "don't worry" alot of times last year, before it finally set in. My plants did pull out of everything just like you said they would. Sheri


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RE: When to plant beans, okra and cukes in Z6

Sheri,

The HARDEST thing in the world is to accept that tomato plants will NOT look perfect. They will have foliage diseases and pests and challenges with hot weather. I still have trouble with that. In my heart, I want the plants to look as good in July and August as they do in May and early June, and it just isn't realistic. (smile)

Sometimes I have to lecture myself and remind myself that pampered, overfed, overwatered plants DON'T produce as much high-quality fruit as those that are stressed a little. (Remember how good the tomatoes taste during a drought year?)

I'm looking forward to a wonderful tomato year, and have a feeling we all are going to have one this year. (After last year, we're due for a good year.)

Dawn


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