STARTING FALL GARDEN 2011 in ZONE 8-9a

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Are you challenged with not knowing WHEN to sow or plant your veggies? Well, this is the place for the Zone 8-9a veggie growers who already know what they'd like to plant for their 2011 Fall/Winter veggie gardens, but don't exactly have the sowing/planting timeframes down!

If you are a veggie grower in Zone 8-9a, and you have the sowing/planting timing down to a fine science, please share with us who desperately want to learn from you! Help us by posting WHEN you're doing the next thing toward growing your fall/winter veggies. We're not asking for a minute, day-by-day report, but if you could update us within say a week of each progress activity, we'd only be a week behind you!

Your tutilage would be so appreciated. We look forward to learning from and growing along with you in the Fall/Winter 2011 veggie season!

^^_^^

This message was edited Aug 11, 2011 9:51 AM

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Tucson, AZ(Zone 9b)

I plan to use this: http://www.asu.edu/fm/documents/arboretum/CommunityGardenPlanting_Calendar.pdf

Mindy in Tucson

Central, TX(Zone 8b)

Gymgirl…I’m a Travis county TX (zone 8b/heat zone 9) master gardener (doesn’t make me a “know it all”); we have a good vegetable planting calendar and variety resource for folks in central Texas:
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/travis/docs/VegetablePlantingCalendar2010.pdf
and a list of known vegetable varieties that do well in our area:
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/travis/docs/VegetableVarietiesTravisCounty2010.pdf
As a general rule I start seeds indoors 4-6 (sometimes 8) weeks before the expected planting date which means I’ll be starting fall tomatoes 6-1.
My favorite resource for vegetable gardening is Dr. Sam Cotner’s “The Vegetable Book”. Forget Amazon, ridiculously pricy out of print copies…Texas Gardener Press has slightly revised the “chemical recommendations” and has reprinted the book selling it for around $35. It covers the growing conditions including soil temperature germination ranges, fertilization and watering tips for all commonly grown vegetables. Texas Gardener Magazine is another great resource for vegetable, herb, fruit and flower gardening. Bill Adams and Tom LeRoy (TX Aggies) authored “Commonsense Vegetable Gardening for the South”, now out of print, check Amazon and other sites, and the newest book, “The Southern Kitchen Garden”! Another great resource is Johnny’s Selected Seed catalog; it provides cultural tips for the vegetable and herb families listed including the percent germination rate vs. soil temp ranges. Order the commercial catalog.
This is a powerhouse resource library for anyone seriously interested in vegetable gardening…now…a gardener simply must understand their soil type, seasonal temperature ranges, and that soil microbes are the key to success – feed the soil, feed the microbes that feed your plants! A very good resource is the book “Teeming with Microbes”. Steve Divers and Dr. Elaine Ingram are great proponents of life in the soil – Google search for their writings.
Coffee cup is empty, morning is dawning and the vegetable garden needs tending! Happy Gardening, T.J.
P.S. Many county Master Gardener groups have posted their planting schedules on-line; Google to find those links!

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

Ah, awesome. Thanks, Gymgirl!

busterharrell, thanks very much for your insights! It is sad, I actually DO have both the links you passed along, but it was your phrase "I'll be starting fall tomatoes 6-1" that is the kick in the pants I need. Otherwise, it would be July before I would start to think, "gee, fall is coming up, I'd better go look at that calendar..." And of course if I needed to order seeds first, I'd really be in a sad boat. Luckily I have seeds.

Now -- another stumper. I've never started seeds for a fall garden. It almost seems like folks in this part of the country need a "cool house" instead of a "hot house or green house" -- how do you keep the little critters from cooking?

Thanks for the other resources -- good to have.



San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

Oh, forgot to contribute here! What I did today was:
-water, water, water.
-Put a foil collar down on a zucchini stem - it may be too late, it is starting to wither, bugs or disease may be happening.
-Picked 3 regular tomatoes and 1 jelly bean.
-Drying some oregano.

West Palm Beach, FL(Zone 10b)

anyone have a zone 10a-10b thread like this going?

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

SoFlaCommercial<

YOU do, now...

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1184951/

West Palm Beach, FL(Zone 10b)

Love ya, GG!

I have no idea what I'm supposed to be doing right now - still dealing with the summer crops...

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

my largest tomato this year: Black Krim 13oz

Thumbnail by drthor
Central, TX(Zone 8b)

Quote from LiseP :
Ah, awesome. Thanks, Gymgirl!

Now -- another stumper. I've never started seeds for a fall garden. It almost seems like folks in this part of the country need a "cool house" instead of a "hot house or green house" -- how do you keep the little critters from cooking?



OK...for warm season fall planted veggies, such as tomatoes, I start the seeds outdoors in flats under bright shade. The temps are warm enough to get them up. Instead of covering the flats with plastic until they sprout, I wrap them in light weight floating row cover.
Another method is to start them indoors on the metro rack (those metal racks you see in dept. stores - buy mine at Lowes, Home Depot or SAMS), each shelf has 2, 4' shop light fixtures with 4 full spectrum daylight bulbs (replaced each season). For bottom heat I use a 4 flat heat mat with thermostat. Lights stay on 14-16 hours; distance between flat and light is 4".
What I do where depends on the time of year, temperatures, etc. Soaking seeds in warm water with a bit of liquid seaweed (excluding the small ones; bean seeds which split - use Nitrogen fixing bacteria treatment for those) allows one to get a better stand faster but never let the seeds dry out between soaking and planting. This method works planting seeds in "moist" garden soil. If conditions are dry, water several days before seeding. Plant and throw floating row cover over the area to protect against drying winds and hungry insects.
You mentioned ordering seeds - I'm looking through the catalogs now cause I want to order my spring 2012 garden seeds this year so I will have them when needed.
If you're wanting to establish an asparagus bed, order those ASAP on line when available in January, otherwise others will beat you to it and all you'll see is "sold out"!
Happy Gardening! T.J.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I tore down my 10x13x8' storage shed to make room for fall veggie beds.

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
West Palm Beach, FL(Zone 10b)

LOL! A true gardner!

(Nadine) Devers, TX(Zone 9b)

I got my tiller overhauled to do some more work for my dad who wants to start tilling in stuff for the fall garden areas..we will use my 30 yr old tractor which has a back tiller to help do the first few rounds..so it will be easy for my dad to use my tiller..he is glad that he can start it with a key instead of a pull cord...lol..

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

Thanks for the further explanation, T.J. I'm familiar with the basics of seed-starting now, but was worried about the summer heat. So...bright shade it is, and I'll have to pick up some lightweight row cover. Thanks again!

New Orleans, LA(Zone 9a)

The LSU Ag Center has an excellent planting guide that shows spring & fall planting dates. I think almost every states Ag center has one.

http://www.lsuagcenter.com/en/lawn_garden/home_gardening/vegetables/home_garden_crops/Louisiana+Vegetable+Planting+Guide.htm

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I scored 55 cinder blocks to build my RBs. Purchased thru Craigslist, for less than HD or Lowes.

Oh, and I set a new landspeed record for single-handedly unloading a trailer full of cinder blocks in the dark!

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)


This guy knows that many things do better as fall crops (in his neighborhood, east of Tacoma WA):

http://westsidegardener.com/quick/timetable.html

Vegetable Garden Timetable
Written by Travis Saling
Send questions or comments to trav@westsidegardener.com
________________________________________
The timings mentioned here are what work in my Sumner, Washington garden.
Sumner is roughly parallel with Tacoma, but is inland from Puget Sound by perhaps 15 miles.
Compared with locations closer to the sound my summer days are warmer, and the nights are cooler.



These have not-so-much fall crop advice:

http://www.almanac.com/gardening/planting-dates/WA/Olympia

http://backyardheirloomseeds.net/Whentoplantseeds.aspx
http://backyardheirloomseeds.net/Documents/SEED%20PLANTING%20GROWING%20and%20%20SAVING.pdf
http://backyardheirloomseeds.net/heirloom_tomato_garden_definitions.aspx

I have a PDF of fall crop dates with the title
"HEIRLOOM SEEDS FALL PLANTING DATES FOR VEGETABLES".
It has six columns: "If your first Fall frost is on ..."
However, I don't know what URL I got it from!

If you damil you r email address, I'll forward the PDF.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Quoting:
I have a PDF of fall crop dates with the title
"HEIRLOOM SEEDS FALL PLANTING DATES FOR VEGETABLES".
It has six columns: "If your first Fall frost is on ..."
However, I don't know what URL I got it from!


http://www.heirloomseeds.com/fall.pdf

This message was edited Jun 7, 2011 8:35 AM

Tucson, AZ(Zone 9b)

Good work, Gymgirl! Show us those muscles.

I'm leaving soon on a two-week trip and am afraid my vegies will all be dead when I get back! My adult kids will be in charge. Haha I'm not planting anything new before I leave, but I have big plans for late summer/early fall. Yay!

Mindy in Tucson

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Mindy,
You should've seen the young girl I picked them up from. She looked to be around 22-23, and was slinging those cinder blocks like they were made of styrofoam!

I, on the other hand, huffed and puffed, and knocked 'em into a pile carting only 7 at a time on the dolly. I stopped once for water and a break. It took me 45 minutes...no muscles were built up and no gardeners were harmed during the unloading process. ^^_^^

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Linda, you should've talked her into coming to unload the blocks at your house! LOL

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Steph,
She had built koi ponds in her yard. One was in-ground, and looked to be about 3x6x2' feet deep. She had dug out all the dirt herself, and offered me her topsoil.

Luckily, my teachers at DG have taught me NEVER, NEVER, EVER to bring home topsoil I don't have a "Carmax Facts Page" on.... So, I respectfully declined her offer.

You want it? I can call her. She might deliver it to you! ^^_^^

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

No, but thanks for the offer! LOL

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Today I harvested my onions so I would have room to start planting my fall garden when it's time.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Steph,
My onions are still growing. More slowly now, but still fattening up, especially the 1015 Yellow Granex . The purples have stalled, so they might come out pretty soon, and the whites are pushing forward.

Making decisions about which veggies to put where in the yard. Have three RBs planned, and working with light and soil depth requirements. Since I've gardened almost exclusively in eBuckets from the very beginning, planting in the ground will bring on a whole new set of challenges for me. Fortunately, I've made enough observations on the plant growth patterns in eBuckets to have a bit of a handle on how deep certain beds need to be. And, I'm more inclined to wanna do only one layer of concrete cinder blocks vs. two, especially since my neighbor has offered to till the ground for me first.

If he gives me a good 6-8" of tilled soil below, I can add another 6-8" of my pine bark fines RB mixture and have enough depth for the tomatoes to be happy. I've observed the roots don't actually grow so much downward, as outward. My biggest plants' root system was approximately 11" deep by 15-18" wide. I now see why there's a recommended spacing of 18-24" between the beefsteak, indeterminate heirloom tomato plants I like to grow!

I figure my root crops (beets, turnips) will be happy with a depth to at least 8"-12" or so. I'm thinking I can plant cabbages and some root veggies in front of the tomatoes, and broccoli and cauliflowers in their own seperate bed, with more root crops beneath them. I think I can also plant some carrots in front of the tomatoes in the deeper bed, but only if the RB mix isn't loose enough. But, it should be ok.

And, a bed dedicated to those long-eason Nicola and Canela potatoes!

Decisions, decisions!

Ya'll chime in if this planting scheme is convoluted. I'm counting on guidance from the experienced, in-ground growers!

Hugs!

Linda

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

The grass was overtaking the onions and they were looking pathetic, so out they came! With all the health issues Mark's been dealing with (he's been in the hospital for almost a week now) I just haven't had time or energy to do much outside. Tomorrow, when I'm off, I'm going to dig the rest of my potatoes. Then I'm going to cover the whole thing in straw/hay and let it sit until I'm ready to plant for fall.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Gymgirl,

I'm always obsessed by drainage. If your subsoil is heavy clay, or has very little drainage for any other reason, you might want to give some thought to the grade around your new RBs (or the grade of the impervious layer in your subsoil).

If your neighbor tilled down below grade into poorly-draining soil, you might be putting a RB on top of a mud puddle into which roots won't grow - or, worse, into which they WILL grow during dry spells, and then drown and die during wet spells.

In eBucket terms, like having an 8" deep water reservoir in a bucket that's only 10" deep. When you fill the reservoir, any roots deeper than 2" may drown. You'll have a water reservoir that may last months, but shallow roots.

If true, you may want to cut a trench away from the lowest corner of the new below-grade part of the bed. It should run downhill until you reach something that DOES drain away or down. (Or, I am learning, big enough that the trench itself can hold any likely run-off safely below root level, and then evaporate away or slowly perk away down through the clay.)

(Please forgive me if I've preached this to you before. I forgot it once and made a great big mud-wallow.)

Lately I've played with the idea of creating one small extra-raised patch on top of a raised bed that raises the soil even higher (for drier soil and better drainage than the rest of the bed).

I have some Lavatera that wants dry soil, growing near other plants that I want to keep moist. I should have planted the Lavatera 8" higher than their neighbors.

I thought I could put a small "collar" on top of a bigged raised bed, like an open-bottomed 4-gallon pail, or a half-barrel with no bottom, or a ring or square of sheet metal or fiberglass. Fill it with soil, higher than the surrounding raised bed, and now the root zone is that much higher and drier. For example, for 16" long daikon radishes. I don't know about potatoes.

Like a two-tier layer cake where the top layer is much smaller than the base layer, or a small penthouse apartment on a large roof.

Corey


San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

Corey, that's a great idea about putting that extra ring onto a raised bed. For those of us still learning about depth requirements of different veggies, it might be a great experiment to put the same veggie in both environments, side by side and just see if it makes a difference. And, what is Lavatera?

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> it might be a great experiment ... side by side

THAT'S a great idea!

Lavatera is a fairly big bush that likes to be cut down to a foot or so each winter, and it comes back up to 4-6 feet where I live. (Plant Files says 3-4 feet.)
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/48703/

Very pretty pink, and it seems drought-tolerant to me. A mail order nursery told me they sent "Barnsley" but mine have looked like "Rosea" ever since I coaxed them from microscopic sprigs into a bush.

I discovered after tghe first year outside: do NOT fertilize them and water them or give them rich soil. Starve them in sandy soil and water minimally. I tried pampering mine, and they shot up and up, then sprawled out and out. They became octopii and completely filled the bed they were supposed share. So I dug them out (which everyone says their roots hate) and moved them to shallow sandy soil where they seem happy and healthy. We'll see: this spring is their second spring outside.

I saw this last year, and I think I read someone online say the same thing: some kind of bugs like small ants love them and cluster on them. Hopefully they are attracting them AWAY from weaker plants!

I proudly collected many seeds, then relaized that most commerical varieties are hybrids and won't come true from seed. And since I don't trust the online nursery that sent me mine, I couldn't trade the seed without admitting I don't know the variety, or even whether it's hybrid or not.

Corey

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

Thanks for the info on the Lavatera. I know what you mean about babying things that don't want to be babied. I nursed a rosemary to death, then learned that they grow best if you pretty much ignore them.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> I nursed a rosemary to death,

Cute!

Many people have complained that they couldn't get soemthing to grow no matter HOW much they fussed with it. So they threw it onto the compost heap.

And then found, a few weeks later, that it was growing happily and thriving on neglect.

I think my worst "babying" bad habit is overwatering.

Corey


This message was edited Jun 14, 2011 3:07 PM

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

I'm addicted to this guy and his videos, I admit, but I thought this video was nice, on "What you should be doing in the garden every day." He's in CA, (zone 9?) but still, the principles are good.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2dxMj0SvOU&NR=1

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

BUMPING this thread to keep up with progress toward the Zones 8-9a fall/winter gardens. So, who's done what, lately?

I haven't watered my tomato vines in 2.25 days, and in this heat that spells certain death! Hoping to still snatch a couple suckers to replant for fall. I've decided to go with just the Black Krims, Sioux, and Momotoros for fall. Maybe two of each.

Need to tend to the okras that are taking off. I pulled off a bunch of lower leaves, and advised a neighbor to trim her lower leaves back, to encourage veggie production. I'll check in with her directly to see if her okras did anything new!

Linda

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Hmm ... my Spring Snow Peas finally put out flowers. Does that make them a fall crop?

I've uprooted all the Spring Brassicas that have been in suspended animation, and I'm ready to put out transplants of Bok Choy, Gai Lan and Broccolo Spigariello (hopefully it's not too early to put out a fall crop, becuase it seems pretty late to re-try the Spring crop!

Corey

Pleasant Hill, CA(Zone 9b)

It is RAINING in California on June 28th. I have lived here my whole life (mostly)... and this is a first.

Today, I harvested chiogga beets, kohlrabi, broccoli, kale, and my first (ever!) cabbage. My tomatoes are still green, but I am eating string beans like crazy. What is going on? Cold crops or heat crops? My little garden can't decide!

Making soup for dinner. Usually, we just cook outside all summer long. Soup. Hmph.

Hutto, TX

I am starting my fall mater crop. I am trying something I learned on another forum. I purchased some 16 oz clear bottles of water. I emptied out the water in my dog's water bowl, and sawed off the top of the bottle where the cap screws onto the bottle. I cut the bottom of the water bottle off w/ a razor blade, and cut the bottle in half lengthwise w/ a pair of tin snips. I opened up the bottle, and put it around a healthy tomato plant stem (sawed off cap end down). I then taped the seam up with some gorilla tape. I then put some cotton balls into the bottom at the cap end, and filled with potting mix to the top . I then watered for two weeks until I saw lot's of roots growing inside the bottle. I cut the tomato plant off at the stem where it meets the branch. I re-potted the Black Krim in a two gallon planter. I will plant into the ground in 2 weeks........... I have done the same thing to my Cherokee Purple, Rutgers, Big Beef, and Early Girl Bush ( that I think are Celebrity Bush). I am hoping this method works. The one plant I have re-potted looks real healthy. I may show pictures tomorrow if anyone is interested.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Yes, show and tell, horn! My brain is too crazy right now to interpret what you just described but a picture would be great! I'll tackle the explanation in the morning!
Happygirl, is it cold and raining?? I'm from the South and it's *supposed* to rain in the summer!! Not so much here in TX--drought here. I'd eat soup almost any time though. That reminds me--I should make gazpacho with all the cucs and tomatoes. And put some cold, spicy boiled shrimp and avocado cubes in it. YUM! Janet

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I thought about finding my planting guide today. :)

Houston Heights, TX(Zone 9a)

I finally remembered to take photos before eating my veggies!

Thumbnail by steadycam3

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