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!
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!
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?
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.
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.
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..
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!
Vegetable Garden Timetable
Written by Travis Saling
Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
________________________________________ 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.
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.
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!
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!
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. ^^
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!
Ya'll chime in if this planting scheme is convoluted. I'm counting on guidance from the experienced, in-ground growers!
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.
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, 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?
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.
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.
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
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!
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!
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.
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.
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
Sorry for posting twice. Computer is slow today. The variety is Hales Best. I chilled it and moments ago I ate half. It was very sweet. The melon was completely yellow with no green anywhere but I think it couldhave stayed on the vine another day.
I picked my first ever Prudens purple tomato yesterday. It was about 10 oz and really pretty. My youngest son ate it before it even cooled of to room temp. He said it was really good. Today I picked my first Ananas Noire, same thing happened. When I get to taste one ill let you know ifi like them. : )
Be sure to save some of those Pruden's Purple seeds for me!!!! It's my most favorite tomato in the world.
You "air" rooted your tomato plant while it was still attached to the mother plant, then cut if off at the stem after it rooted. I've seen that technique before, using a ziploc baggie or a plastic bag taped around the side stem close to the base of the junction where it meets the mother plant.
I'm not sure my heavy plants could support a water bottle full of damp potting mix. I may just go with a Ziplok baggie. Or, just cut the shoot off with a razor (for a nice clean cut), stick it into a container of sharp sand, and keep it watered in the shade til it takes. It'll root in no time flat!
Stephanie, we are about at the same speed!
Cam, that cantaloupe looks fantastic! I have some too--seeds in a package! Is it too late to plant?
Lisa, I'd be talkin' to that kid--LEAVE my maters alone! Or at least, leave me some to taste!
And Linda, I get it now! See, it's morning and the ol' brain is working again. So, you can just root some plant to grow a new one. I think I will do that with my Cherokee Purple. It was the best tasting of the ones I have. They all seem to be getting a leaf disease so not sure if they will last till fall.
Bariolo - I live in a Mediterranean climate... it should be dry from May through October. We occasionally get a sprinkle in late May... but to get ANY rain before the middle of October is just weird. We have very low humidity as well (usually around 50%).
Climate change is just so apparent in the garden -- it should be way too hot for brassicas now - under "normal" circumstances I would have pulled them all a month ago. Instead, I am harvesting cabbage and broccoli... I've had only three Sungold tomatoes so far this year... and a few years ago my DH was harvesting them for 1/2 an hour a day at this time of year. Every season is a learning experience!
Boy, that's the truth! We have had an excellent year for cucs, tomatoes, eggplant and other things because with the drought, it hasn't been as humid--although it has kicked in more now. My daughter lives in Sacramento and has lots of different fruit trees in her yard and has planted veggies in the flower beds where she can. They are renting right now. I'd say it's a real bonus to get fruit with your rental!
In two weeks you will see a bunch of roots growing from the stem inside the the plastic bottle. At that time I cut the potted stem just below the bottom of the bottle, and put the new plant in a large planter. Pictured is my first effort. This is a Black Krim.
bariolio...the Black Krim pictured above was root bound in the plastic bottle. Roots were very visible on the west side of the garden exposed to the hot afternoon sun. When I got home at 5:30 the plastic bottle was almost hot to the touch, and pretty much dried out. I gave it a good soaking every day. I am surprised it survived. If the plant survives the transplant it should be well acclimated to the hot weather here in Texas. This is what I am hoping for anyway. Like I said earlier I have never done this before. Everything looks good so far...we shall see!!
Gymgirl, the link that you posted about planting dates...Do you know if it means when to plant the seeds or when to set out transplants? My first frost date is Nov 29 so it looks like I dont plant any fall crop until Aug 5. For melons and tomatoes, the cell is blank. Does that mean that we dont plant melons after July 25 regardless of when our first frost date?
After reviewing the chart, Steph's right, most of the recommendations are for sowing seeds. When it means set an established plant, it says "Plant". If the block is empty, you're own your own about whether or not to try it...
You can also plant more cucumbers now...We've got a WHOLE lot more hot weather ahead of us. At least until mid September!
I'm gonna forego rooting, then uppotting, my fall tomatoes. My process will be to repurpose my existing potting mixes, take a good sucker, drop a dowel down into the mix for a good deep hole, and drop the sucker in, up to one set of leaves below the growing tip. Water it in, and put the eBuckets under the patio cover until that tip lifts its head and tells me it wants to live...
Then, I'll start moving it closer into the sunshine beginning August 13th, and encourage the plants to give me another bountiful harvest by Thanksgiving dinner...
Hey, Linda, I like your plan, Sista! I'll do that too! But if you have any extra Black Krim or another tasty mater to share, could you start one for moi?? I'll give you whatever I have that you want...in plants, that is! Daughter & hubby not for swap. :)
Okay, this morning, I planted more bell pepper seeds (red bullnose, orange, golden, and Napoleon sweet) and cantaloupe (honey rock). Either tonight or Sunday, I'll plant watermelon (Crimson Sweet) and the maters.
Gymgirl, I'll likely do the same about the tomato suckers. When are you going to start that?
And, if the top of a long straggly tomato plant has flowers, what do you think I should do? Just let it be? Take the top and replant? Replant and remove flowers?
And, when you say suckers, do you literally mean the little thingos that grow in the crotch of branches and that most folks pinch off? (Cuz I don't have any). Or, do you just mean a healthy looking branch on an otherwise bedraggled tomato plant?
Sorry, I've been outta pocket. Yes, I mean those things that grow in the crotch of the plants. If you have a straggly plant with no suckers on it, I'd trim the lower branches off and sink it down deep. Treat it gently, like a seedling. Keep it watered, and put it in some shade until it looks like it's perking up again. Then, start moving it toward the sunlight gradually, like hardening off a seedling. Hopefully, it'll take off!
Steph, I have great luck with Black seeded Simpson lettuce planted in September. I usually still have lettuce in April. The snails ate my bok choi last year. The broccoli that Ive grown two seasons in a row with great production is Green Goliath planted in Sept as transplants. This year Im going to grow Gai Lan for the first time and I'll try bok choi again.
We've grown Black Seeded Simpson for the past 2 seasons and didn't like it. We've tried several red tipped lettuces that were good. Maybe I'll look up the names and try those again. I'm more concerned with broccoli and cabbage as I've never really grown those. Not sure about bok choi either. What is that?
Thanks for the input, Gymgirl. I'll double-check for some suckers. (Why do they tell you to pinch them off if you can use them later? Grrrr.)
I have three or four whole plants that are small enough that I can treat in the way you mention (planting deep or maybe lying somewhat on its side). Mostly, my plants are way too tall though. Guess I'd better get busy with those seeds after all. Hope I still have time. I'm still tempted to remove a branch or two and see if I can lay it down in the dirt and get some roots going...
Stephanietx, I was very happy with Green Magic broccoli last fall.
I am not an expert on growing tomatoes but I have learnt to remove the suckers from my indeterminate tomatoes.
Otherwise the plant will grow really big and full of branches making hard to pick the tomatoes, but mostly giving a lot of energy to the green growths and less on fruit production.
Suckers will grow a lot and a lot from one day to the other ... you will have more than you need if you want to propagate your tomato plants at any time.
Bok Choi is Chinese Cabbage. There are several types. I like it better than regular cabbage for stir fry. Im going to try the baby bok choi this year and the Gai Lan is a broccoli type plant that I will try for the first time this year.
Broccoli is a lot easier to grow than I'd ever thought. After all the terminal heads are harvested, you can harvest the side heads and then after that all the little "broccolini" No insects, no problems. I was pleasantly surprised.
Most people, and DG Plant Files, do lump Bok Choy together with all "Chinese Cabbages".
But you can distinguish between Bok Choy and other-Chinese-Cabbages-properly-so-called, at least many seed catalogs and Asian seed-selling sites make the distinction.
Both are the same species: "Brassica rapa" and hence should cross-polinate.
"Chinese Cabbage" are in the "Pekinesis Group" of Brassica rapa,
while "Bok Choi" is in the "Chinesis Group".
Bok Choy stems are rounder and thicker and (maybe) sweeter and crunchier than classic Chinese Cabbage like Napa or Michili. The plant looks more like open, spread-out celery than tightly-headed cabbage.
And classic Chinese Cabbages have fairly tightly-wrapped heads that are mostly-leafy, with very flat stems that seem part of the leaf.
Bok Choi (or Pak Choy) has prominent, thick, fleshy, celery-stem-shaped stems and I don't think I've seen "heading" Bok Choy. Some say the shorter Bok Choy varieties have "soup-spoon-shaped" stems, refering to the rounded shovel-like Asian soup spoons.
Since I like the stems best (like celery but more tender, less fibrous and sweeter) I always grow Bok Choy if I have space, and have not tried Nappa or Michili in years. I eat Bok Choy stems raw more often than steamed, boiled or stir-fried.
You probably know this but make sure your little tomato guys are shaded from the scorching sun. I put up shade cloth and take it down sometime in Sept? Can't really remember one year to the next! I haven't planted any for the fall yet. Probably should, huh?! Janet
I was gone for several days, during which ALL my tomato plants and eggplants looked like death on a shoestring. So, I did a walkthrough to decide which were alive enough for me to take cuttings for a fall potentiality...and, I discovered a huge herd of STINKBUG nymphs and a huge herd of STINKBUG teenagers.
Can you say "DO NOT flick your Bic at a dry tomato plant???!!!"
After carefully putting out the fires, I managed to erradicate/permanently disable most of the Stinkbugs, so I'll not have THAT issue to deal with when I plant my cuttings this weekend...
And, God so graciously and kindly poured some water on all the plants immediately after I watered them...(He knew the plants really needed a nitrogen boost, and, that I might have missed a few smoldering stinkbugs...).
Fast forward a couple hours, and those new-growth suckers were standing up at attention, yelling, "Oooh, oooh! Me, me!! -- pick me, pick me!!!"
Ya'll be careful out there with all that dryness, yah hear?
P.S. I'm ripping the bells this weekend. They're nothing more than lush greenery and white blossoms, are seemingly sterile, and taking up space and water...
Oh, almost forgot. This is part of what I did yesterday to prepare for my fall/wtr veggie garden. Tomato seed-saving for 2012 is finished!
If you saw an assasin bug, jump for joy! And, check around to see where it's hanging out in your grass (hopefully there are more down there), and try to keep a perimeter of whatever foliage is down there. It's attracted to milkweed...
Has anyone tried growing tomatoes from seeds in the spring from ones planted in the fall? Last year, we had tons of mater volunteers in our garden. We transplanted several of them and they did well and were very productive.
Today I tried to take a lesson from others and went through my tomato patch, removing branches that didn't look healthy or that seemed done. I should have been doing it all along. But now I can at least see what I've got and what may be worth hanging onto through the fall.
A couple days ago, I did remove some suckers -- watered them well and brought them inside, it is SO hot out there and I was afraid I'd put them in shade and then discover the sun moved and I'd just cooked them. Of course now I'm afraid to get them too close to a window for fear of THAT cooking them, lol. Anyway, they are looking straggly but hanging in there.
Linda, my bell peppers' second crop of blossoms is starting to produce -- marble-sized -- so we'll see what they do. My peppers are in pots so I don't have to pull them.
As for my harvest -- not much!
Tomatoes -- I am picking maybe one tomato a day and a couple cherry tomatoes. The tomatoes get picked before fully ripe and I let them finish indoors, to keep the birds from getting them.
Squash -- SVB got through my every defense, although I know my tin foil moved from watering and wind and left the vines unprotected at times. Plants look pretty pathetic. I did harvest a small (5 inch) zucchini, and hope at least 2 more patty pan will have time to get big enough to pick before the plants totally keel over. Not much to show from the plants though!
Cukes -- are also looking poorly along the bottoms of the plants -- still green at the top but no fruit growing anywhere now and the blossoms sort of all seem crowded together in knots at the top -- seems like a virus of some sort but maybe it's an environmental reaction of some sort. Time will tell.
Melons - I have 2 cantaloupes and 2 watermelon hanging in panty-hose slings on vertical vines. And they are so exciting to watch. Just waiting and waiting and waiting until I can pick them. Cantaloupe are full-sized but not ripe, and watermelon are pretty much the same size and shape -- and I have no idea how big this variety is supposed to get. I'd better go back and look at my seed packets.
Leafy stuff -- I'm harvesting a leaf or two of kale or Swiss Chard every day. I tuck them into a bag in the fridge and will make a sort of tomato-bean-kale stew here today or tomorrow in the crock pot. And shearing my basil and oregano plants pretty regularly and drying the leaves. I LOVE seeing my little herb bottles full!
Onions -- all done. I pulled the last of them a couple of weeks ago.
hrp50, don't feel inadequate -- although I know exactly how you feel! Notice that of my above paragraphs, there is not much to eat! One tomato, a leaf here and there and a lot of whining, wishing and waiting -- lol! But I'm learning. I think the biggest lesson to learn in gardening (aside from taking care of the soil, lol) is patience.
drthor -- you rock! Love seeing your harvests, garden plants and seedlings. Keep it coming. I feel like I'm playing chopsticks in the presence of Chopin when I look at my harvest and then see yours, but that's okay, I'm learning heaps and dreaming of when MY garden (hope, hope!) looks like yours someday!
I've learned that this gardening venture is as much about the ADventure, as the harvest! I get a total kick out of seedlings popping from seeds -- even moreso than seeing tomatoes ripening on the vine. Go figure!
And, total victory when I discovered a whole herd of Assassin Bugs were providing pest patrol for Free!
And, finally growing an onion bigger than a ping pong ball! Mind you, they're all still out there, and I've only eaten about 3 out of the 50 or so there, but, for me, it was the joy of DOING it! Guess I better bring those onions in, huh?
BTW, how are you storing your onions?
P.S. It's almost time to start ordering onion plants for next year! I'm gonna plant out earlier this time. This year I set the plants on January 8th. This time, I'm going to set them out by mid-October or -November. I believe it was UberShoe or Farmerdill who advised that onions do best growing through the winter. Mine tolerated the slight freezes in February like little polar bears.
Here's to the next growing season, which is already right around the corner!
July 9, 2011 plan toward the f/w veggie garden:
►Snip off all the suckers I plan to grow for a fall crop (Sioux, Momotoro, Black Krim) ~ 3 of each
►Rip all the tomato plants that will not be grown in the fall
►Refresh the container soil and prep for the next wave of fall tomatoes
►Rip, or severely trim back, the bell peppers that aren't producing
►Relocate the "Fooled You" Jalapenos to more sunlight (they're producing well, but could do better...)
►Harvest the onions and prep the EBs for collard and mustard greens
►Sow seeds in large Jiffy pellets, GS 15-cell unit, and 4" nursery pots for the following: Broccoli, Cabbages, Cauliflowers, collards, mustards, Romaine lettuce, spinach
Thanks for your 'to do' list, Gymgirl. Making decisions on what to do is the toughest part of gardening for me. I get overwhelmed and indecisive and then I find I'm late getting things done. And, lol, I think most of my post was actually intended for the other zone 8/9 thread, but oh well! lol.
My onions have all been consumed already. I grew about 50 but thinned out several throughout the season and ate those at a small stage; then it seemed the others were stalled at a certain point (about pingpong, a couple slightly larger) and weren't ever going to get any bigger, so that was it, I just pulled them. I let them dry outdoors for a few days, then trimmed them and put them in a basket in the kitchen. We ate the last of them just last night.
I did really enjoy growing them so am game to do it again. Maybe I'll order something too. Last year I just bought onion sets from Home Depot but there was no official variety aside from "red" and "white."
I know what you mean, stephanietx. I stare out my kitchen window and look at my poor fried yard. About all I get done is hauling hoses. My outdoor thermometer reads 102 right now. I can't last more than a few minutes out there.
And I can't figure out WHEN or IF to try to spray anything (fertilizer, garlic spray, whatever) onto my plants, since the directions always say not to do it in the heat of the day (but also don't spray at night or when bees are out, or or or...). I hope someone will let me know which FIVE MINUTES of the day might be appropriate? LOL.
On a more positive note, I'm thinking about doing one thing (one pot, one seed tray, one whatever) at a time in my kitchen, just to stay out of that heat. A vinyl tablecloth and keep the broom handy -- what do you think?
I've only sowed cole crop once before, last fall, as my first "winter sowing" adventure.
I used gallon-size milk jugs turned into winter sowin vessels with built-in lids. You can find them over on the WSing thread.
I've since learned I need to start earlier in order to have sizeable seedlings to plant out in mid-September. So, we'll be learning together!
My plan is to try both indoor AND outdoor sowing, and compare the results. It is oppressively hot outdoors now, and, I'm already feeling like the ones indoors will be much better off. At the very least, they'll be cooler and protected from the draught.
The ones outdoors will be grown under the patio cover, with a lot of natural breeze blowing over them. It'll still be warm air, though. But, we'll see what happens.
I found large Jiffy 16 pellets that I'll use to sow some of the seeds. I'll sow some in my Gardeners Supply deep-root 15 systems. And I'll sow some seeds in 4" nursery pots. Depending on when they decide to germinate, they'll either go under lights indoors or under the patio cover.
So, there you have it. Now, I'm off to snip tomato cuttings!
So, as of today, I ripped and snipped half the tomato plants. I put the cuttings in containers of water with a couple spoons of diluted MG water soluable. I figured they wouldn't mind a teeny tiny hit to perk em up, since they looked like death on a shoestring.
Tomorrow, I'll rip n snip the remaining tomato plants. Hopefully, by Monday, I can sink the cuttings into some repurposed potting mix.
I did that about a week ago but kept the tomato snippings in the water too long. Peee-You! So, then I buried them sideways in a bed with nothing in it and covered with about an inch of soil/compost. Most will probably die (or were dead) but I might get some to root. I'm going to check them this evening. I guess I feel like, if they don't make it, there's always the option of buying plants... :) I'll be putting away my first cleaned up tomato seeds today and anxiously await the info on when to start them for next Spring.
I sowed my tomato seeds after December 21st (the Winter Solstace), on January 8th. My timing from seeds to seedlings was about 27 days. I began planting out March 19th. My intended plantout date was to be February 15th, but I fell behind. Hope to get em out by 02/15/12!
Good to see your post, Gymgirl. Your light set-up looks so good and easy, I think I'm just going to show your photo to hubby and say, I want that!
As for what's happening here -- Not that much, and I'm feeling a little panicked to know that I'm headed out on vacation in a week or so and will likely be gone most of August. I can enlist a son to do bare basics watering, but won't be here to mother seedlings, unfortunately. I don't think I'm quite fanatic enough to take seedlings along on the road trip, lol.
In the last week, I did the following:
-harvested the last of a whopping 2 cantaloupes my vines produced (but they were GOOD!)
-harvested (yesterday) the only watermelon my vines produced (but it was and is GOOD!) - I am definitely going to keep trying to grow both kinds of melons.
-picked a few leafy things (kale, chard, herbs) and a couple late tomatoes (one was good, the other not so good)
-watering what's left. I started 2 pumpkins a couple weeks ago, and they are growing like crazy -- everything else is just hanging in there, or trying to in this heat.That includes a few tomato suckers in little pots, 5 bell pepper plants that are producing a second crop, plus whatever I already mentioned. I have one seed tray going with squash and chard but it's a battle keeping them happy (warmth without cooking, sun without frying, and not letting them dry up). I don't have much hope for them once I'm on the road!
In other garden activities:
-pulled up dead or dying cantaloupe, cucumber, zucchini and patty pan vines, and a few sickly tomato plants that were in pots. I held insects at bay for a long time, but with the heat stress and my not spending as much time out there lately, eventually insects had their way. Or maybe it was just time.
- emptied old tomato pots into the garden beds to add depth -- am trying to raise the level of the beds behind my long row of cinder blocks.
- hoed weeds from an 8' section along my side fence, where I will likely try to make another veg garden bed.
- hubby repaired a crack in the lid of a big tote where I keep garden supplies. It started leaking, so cleaned and re-organize the stuff in there. Only thing I lost was some cornmeal that had been in a paper sack.
- turning the compost heap a little every day.
My NEXT plans:
- refresh bed where the melons and squash used to be.
- try air-layering technique on tomato plants (the video I posted yesterday)
- screen some soil and compost so I have some nice light stuff for seedlings.
- figure out what I am doing. (A biggie -- What can I plant now, that my son can keep alive? What do I need to order? What will I grow this fall?)
I am finishing up a non-garden-related project at the moment that needs to get done in the next week, too, and that sure isn't helping me feel organized! But, life is good.
Today was seed sowing day. First order of business was sterilizing last season's seed starting mixes. I bought an old microwave oven earlier this year, just for this job.
First, I wet the mix really well, then nuke it for 20 minutes. I use a large hard plastic popcorn bowl that can take the heat. After it's nuked, I fluff the mix quickly to release the steam, then cover the bowl with a large plate to hold in the steam. Then I move on to another batch, and by the time the second batch is nuked, the first batch is finished the sterilizing process. I fluff it again to cool it a bit more, then fill my seedling vessels.
I sowed 15 cabbage and 15 cauliflower seeds in the Gardener's Supply APS Deep Rooting System. I like this system because the seedlings develop a really big root ball, compared to seeds rooted in shallower cups. I only have two, and am considering getting another one or two.
I also sowed Broccoli seeds in two different containers. Nine seeds were sowed in a deep 9-cell tray, almost as deep as the APS system. I really would like to find more like this one. Nine more broccolis were sown in 8 oz. Yogurt cups.
The seedling mix is warm when I sow the seeds, and I water them in with warm water. Then, I quickly shove them into plastic drawstring bags and tie them up. This sets up humidity, and seems to hold the warmth inside the bag. I noticed fast germination last season, and wondered if it was the heat inside the bags. When my tomato seeds came up, and I vented the bags, I stuck my hand inside. I could feel the heat built up in there! In any case, all of my 212 tomato and 65 bell pepper seedlings germinated.
I'm praying for the same success this season!
Godspeed and Good Harvest!
Then I remembered my friends who were expecting seedlings, so I sowed 12 Catskills Brussels Sprouts and 12 Calabrese Broccoli seeds in 6 oz. yogurt cups for them. The cups are in a cat litter tray that I placed in a clear plastic, drawstring bag.
I'm toying with sowing some Collard and Mustard seeds, but not sure I should start them so early. They grow so fast, I'm afraid they'd outgrow my light stand before I could put them out. I don't want to set them out in this heat, and I'm not sure it'll be cool enough in 8 more weeks.
Great job, Linda. That was a LOT of work! You're going to have another great garden.
When you wet the seed mix, do you drain the water or is there some left in the bottom of the bowl when you nuke it? I've never sown seeds indoors before, so I may have more really ignorant questions! Like, once the seeds come up, do you remove the plastic bags right away?
Thanks kid! Janet
There are NO ignorant questions in the garden!!! Questions are to us veggie growers as heat is to tomato plants -- can't grow without it ('em)!
If you've tried to wet seedling mix before, you know what a pain it can be to get the stuff to absorb water. I put a pretty good mountain of dry mix in the popcorn bowl, and break up any old clumps. I find that using hot water from my kitchen sprayer to moisten the mix helps. Just something about that heat!
To answer your question, I just eyeball how much water I add. If I'm in a hurry, I swirl the soupy mix around to try to get it moistened, and so I don't end up with wet mix only on top, and dry underneath.
If I have more time I'll wet it good, and let it sit for awhile, to absorb, before I nuke it. The very last batch I watered was REAL soupy, but I was wearing down. I nuked it anyway, and by the time it cooled down, it was pretty wet but not soupy. That mix can hold LOTS of water.
It becomes your call on how "wet" you plant it. I used to squeeze the mix so dry it crumbled and didn't even stick to my hands. My recent experience (all those tomato seeds!) showed me I could leave the mix more damp (but not drippy wet).
I think the potting mix needs to be damp enough at sowing, that you don't even think about watering again before that first seedling declares.
I pulled the drawstrings and tied 'em shut. I poked two dime size vent holes in the top of the bag. I want that humidity to stay built up. The run-off helps keep the soil moistened, too!
Hope I wasn't too wordy.
And, you just ask away.
P.S. I've decided to sow the Mustards and Collards tomorrow. I should be ok on the plantout in 6-8 weeks, so, expect more pics!
P.S.S. Since I'm continuing tomorrow, I'll take some step x step pics along the way.
Today, I sowed 6 Georgia Collards and 8 Florida Broadleaf Mustards. These will grow in 7 patented Earthboxes. I love growing greens in the EBs, cause they are serious waterhogs, and those built-in reservoirs sure help out. When the greens are at full steam, I end up watering morning & evening.
The collards grow so fast, I have to grow twice as many mustards to keep up! I harvest 18"-20" leaves about every 6 weeks at the peak. Then clean, blanch, and freeze. I should process about twelve gallon-size freezer bags this season.
Then, I'll do the same with the turnip greens and spinach.
I'm still a beginner. Would love to hear more about epsom salts and tomato plants. I pulled up 1/2 the garden today (old tomatoes) and planted Four Champion II tomatoes.
Summer was a bad tomato season for us... We've done better before...perhaps it was the varieties we planted.
Also - I'm gonna tell hubby that we are NOT allowed to plant Peppers anymore. Every year the veggies are too small. We don't have much room and will find something else (like tomatoes) that will taste much better home grown.
Anyway - another mistake I think we've made is fertilizing the Tomatoes BEFORE they set fruit... any advice on that appreciated.
I use Epsom Salts (Magnesium) to green things up. Just about 1 tbsp to a gallon of water when I use it on my veggie seedlings, keeps em' nice and perky. I also use it on my lawns. 1 lb for my front lawn, 1 lb for my yard. Same greening up!
Have you started seeds for your fall/winter garden, yet? Better hurry! You're burning daylight to have seedlings ready to plant out by October 1st!
MaryandLance wrote:I'm much too "beginner" to do the seed thing...
NUH UH... You gotta put just TWO seeds in a cup of seedling starter mix ('cause you're gonna keep the strongest one...)
When you see that 'lil baby come up, and watch it grow into a lush green plant, and spread out and branch, then reward your love and care with huge, red/purple/orange/yellow/black/green/pink, juicy tomatoes sitting on your dinner plate, you'll be hooked!
WOW!!!! A road Trip!!! ^^ Lemme check my schedule!!!
My apology for my OT contributions. So, back on track for prepping for our fall/winter veggie gardens, eh?
Saturday and Sunday, I sowed seeds for broccolis, cabbages, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, mustards and Collard greens. Last year I sowed broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts seeds, and they took at least 18 days to come up.
I left home for two days, and EVERYTHING has come up!!!
I wasn't even gonna look at 'em for another week. So, I happen to peep and I see one leggy seedling and I think, "oh one came up". Then I look closely, and they're all up. Have you ever prayed for your seedlings NOT to come up?
Well, I shoved 'em under the lights and promptly realized that the vinyl mini blind labels were too tall, so clip, clip and the light came down.
So, now, breathe...
But, some of them are leggy stupid, and I'm not about to reseed 'em all. So, these are gonna sink, or swim. When they start filling out, I'll do another experiment and plant them deep.
We shall see. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
I'm so sorry to hear about your Mark. (I have a Mark also!). You are all in my prayers, Stephanie.
As for Fall garden, nadda. Except I have nice seeds in nice packs. I have been feeling crappy--getting thyroid on track takes a long time, evidently. Been doing stuff indoors (like trying to make cream cheese) and resting. BUT, I plan on direct sowing most things in Sept/Oct. Hopefully. My cucs are still producing and some puny eggplant. Okra is great. Sweet pepper plants lookin' good. As long as those keep going, I can't prepare for Fall anyway... :)
Don't think I can make the Baton Rouge trip. We'll be going to the Weird Al concert the Friday before, then leaving SUNDAY for New Orleans, then on to Destin for our vacation! If I feel great and am totally organized, then maybe hahaha! Stay cool, everyone! Janet
Not that this has anything to do with FALL GARDENING, but my cream cheese came out nice!! I'll do better next time, though. And I'm trying all kinds of soft, non-aged cheeses and milk products! When I have the energy...
I hope all of you or your spouses get to feeling better. Personally, it's too hot for me to even think about fall gardening. I never grow many cool weather crops anyway but when the long range forecast is 105 or better every day I just can't even conceive of it cooling down. I'm just going to hope my spring plants, cukes, and squash produce again. I wonder if we are going to have a late start to winter?
I have cabbages, too, but no pic. All my seedlings sprouted while I was away, which is why they got a bit leggy before I put them under the lights. But, they're beefing up nicely. Some are almost ready to be potted up!
Yes... you can transplant cucumbers. I have kept them in ground all summer by succession planting. I have at least six more started to transplant and will probably start one more batch before fall/winter.
I would say it's now or never with the cukes. They are a warm weather plant, unlike the cool crops. I don't know what zone your in but they can't take cold weather like Cole crops can. They will produce until you get a freeze.
I direct seeded mine, due to the extremely high temps, I thought it would just be easier on the plants, no transplant shock etc.
I typed a whole reply late last night, and bloop! it was gone...
Anyways, from my experience growing mustard and collard greens (and most of the cole crops) in my patented Earthboxes, I've observed the roots of the greens (mustards and collards) have grown down between 8"-11". Those water bottles allow for 5"-6" of starter root depth. They just look a lot taller than they actually are.
I'm hoping the roots will fill the potting mix in the bottles, and develop a good, dense system in the next two weeks. My targeted plantout for the mustards and collards is September 17th. I'll also start stagger planting the other veggies if they're big enough by then. The greens are growing the fastest.
Once I get a good crop of greens (for me, when the leaves are between 18"-24"), I'll cut the leaves off, leaving enough young leaves (approximately up to 10"-15" long) to start another batch growing. I can harvest about every 4-6 weeks. Then, I flash blanch, shock, and freeze the greens for use during the year. The greens in the pic are what grew back two weeks after a harvest. See how fast they grow??!!
Last season, I processed about 15 gallon freezer bags of greens! Yum!
Ive started a few things for winter garden but Im beginning to doubt we will have success unless we have free water. The long range forecast is that this drought will last until next summer. That is very discouraging to me.
Let the potting up begin! Tomorrow! Got enough true leaves inside to pot up, and enough heat outside to keep the plants in, still!
But -- I've also got WATER BOTTLES!
So, the greens will get potted up, and the cabbages that were put in the straw sleeves, too. The Brussels Sprouts are good to go, and some of the cauliflowers. I'm gonna need more potting mix...
This weather is putting a serious clog in my works! I have MORE than enough of Tapla's 3:1:1 mix outside that I could recycle from last season. But, since I have to keep the seedlings in a few more weeks, I'm not about to bring in the soil that's been sitting outside all season. Can you say, "ANTS??!!" "BUGGIES???!!!"
If the weather was just a tad bit cooler, these seedlings would get hardened off and go directly into their eBuckets for the long haul!
lol she lives close enough...and she'll never know it was us! I HAVE to get the tplants in the ground by mid week, not worried about the cukes as they can handle it I think but the tomatoes..well they worry me. As far as the fall goes I've talked to GG and I think I have a game plan. I'll get leftovers from her if she'll let me and buy a few..The tomatoes are my main focus but I'm trying really hard to set my mind up for the fact I'll not have a good season.
Uh, I have both your numbers! And, I know where at least one of you lives!!!
Good thing I have a heavy hand with the seeds. After I remove my share, there are 30 fourth-graders in line for seedlings AND eBuckets!! Don't even ask how I got myself into that one. My cousin tells me I can claim the donations as a tax write-off...
Today was another potting up day. So far I have 28 mustard and 13 Collard greens, and 26 cabbage seedlings done. I worked ALL day.
There are still broccolis, Brussels Sprouts, and cauliflowers to go.
I need to buy some therapy sessions to figure out why I keep doing this...
Mary ~ I am a bit north of you and have a shorter growing season. Our first frost will be around Thanksgiving. As a result, fall tomatoes need an early start here.
I started a dozen fall tomatoes at the end of June. By the end of July, I planted them in ground and in spite of these non stop, 100° plus, incredible temps, I was amazed to see them take off. My plants receive morning sun and afternoon shade. The plants are knee high and are starting to bloom right now.
The blooms will not pollinate at these high temperatures but I am hoping to snag a cool night or two where they can pollinate and deliver fall tomatoes.
Fall tomatoes are truly more pest free. They have always done better for me. I am hoping we don't go from too hot to too cold. Then a tomato crop wouldn't have time to develop. That is why I try to select shorter DTM (days to maturity) varieties.
I'm a beginner and the Fall garden thing is really new. I still do 100% transplants. Put the Champion II tomatoes in the ground 2-3 weeks ago... so maybe Okay with that one...
put 4 "Burpless" cukes (transplants) in the ground today and a Sun sugar tomato (just one). We have limited space ... no room for LOTS of plants... I think this is all I'll have unless some veggie makes sense for a late September planting. I could maybe squeeze 6-7 more plants in around the back yard... no more...
We've got the next few weekends planned out... Good point on the DTM variety... Burpless cukes said 58 days... so...October 25th they should begin producing? Might be iffy but hey... learning so got to make mistakes... Huh !
MandL- you will never have enough experience to not make "mistakes" while gardening. You will learn from mistakes but then the weather or something will change and you will be back to square one again. Lol don't worry about it just consider it an experiment.
Just been reading this thread and boy have I learned a ton of things! I am about to undertake my first vegetable garden in more than 30 years, and just about everything is going to be different. Well, a lot anyway. I had a huge organic garden when I lived in Oregon in the 60-70's. I just bough a homestead in Texas and my head is spinning with things that need to be done and when to do them. lol
I remember baking my soil in a oven to sterilize it. Didn't know you could use a microwave!! Glad I just found out - I was about ready to toss an old one. And I love the idea of reusing those plastic water bottles!! I don't buy them - but my adult children do. They all think of me as the recycle queen already. Just wait till I tell them to save the water bottles for me.
The only thing I have started are a few winter squash and herbs, so far. Most are ready to be planted out already. We have been tilling a large garden area and trying to get ready to plant a Fall garden here. Still trying to come up with something to add to the soil to enrich it. At one time we use to add horse manure and stable shavings as well as rotted and decomposing leaves, along with our compost. We are thinking maybe some manure - if I can figure out where to get some for free. lol Or possibly some seaweed, but not sure about the rules and regulations about harvesting it here. Anyone know? We want to stay organic and have to consider our water well when using anything. I hope direct sowing most of the vegetables will work here. Otherwise I may have to wait till Spring to plant most things. Although I know there is a lot that won't grow well in the heat here. We do have a compost pile going and already have lots of volunteers growing out here. lol My biggest challenge is going to be how to deal with all the wildlife here. Lots of rabbits (already have rabbit fencing up!), wild hogs (have no idea what to do about them) along with some friendly armadillos and a few deer. Looking forward to the next year and whatever it brings. lol
TX - I'm fairly new too... (2007) but never heard of sterilizing soil !
Yay Stephanie on the Tomato bloom! Way ahead of me... but I've already lost 2 tomatos and 4 cukes becuase my puppy decided they should go away. So I'm just sick about that and lost some of my fall veggie garden enthusiasm.
I found a new hydroponic store near my house today...and they have Hot Pepper Spray. Would love to try it but I spent $$$ there and couldn't spend another dime... may go back ...
You can make your own hot pepper spray. Get several of the hottest peppers you can find and cut off the stem part. Put 'em in a blender and liquify them. Add in some garlic for good measure. You can use it full strength or add some distilled water to it to decrease its potency.
I'm still trying to figure out how big is "too big a seedling to plant out and expect a decent, mature veggie"...
My broccolis, Brussels Sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and mustard and Collard greens seedlings just went out yesterday for hardening off, and I'm concerned they might be "too big" to get what I'm supposed to get. Have I stunted them???!!!
Linda, I don't think I'd be concerned with "too big", but with "too small". I'd go ahead and plant the good sized ones as those will most likely produce something. You may not get a bumper crop, but you'll get something.
All of the melons have set in the past 3 weeks when the temps cooled off. I have a watermelon jungle in my back yard. Two self-sown plants and they're EVERYWHERE!! LOL
Gymgirl... might be more a question of patience withme ! So far just done Transplants.. PLUS with PUP deciding to pluck out of the ground... sometimes I am hoping the bigger the plant... the less chance she will dig it up...
Stephanie - THANK YOU so much for the Hot Pepper Spray idea ! And to think of all the hot peppers I let rot this year..but I WILL try this recipe !
I was in my den early this a.m., and I heard something on my patio. I thought it might be birds tugging @ the seedlings on the patio table. I opened the drapes to see my neighbor's TWIN puppies, Marco and Polo, trying to hoist themselves up to nip at the mustard greens leaves blowing in the wind!!
Forgive me, Mary, but can I say "kill" and "puppies" in the same sentence? I shooed them outta my yard, but they'll be back until I get my fence up.
I was on the way out to church, and thought they might ride with me to the far north side of town, one way. It took all I could pray not to remove those dogs from my neighborhood. They're allowed to roam, and it'll only get worse when they're grown.
Remember, it was her roaming cat that died two weeks ago IN MY YARD!
So, now I can't even harden them off properly outside, unless I'm around.
>>LiseP, Thank you! That's music to my ears.
I can't understand why it's so hard for others to start seeds. It's totally EZ!! I've made more observations this go 'round, and I have learned even more dos and don'ts. >>
Linda, I think I'm learning each time. I sure hope so! (The fact that there are a lot of dos and don'ts probably indicates it's not "totally" EZ, lol!). But I appreciate your observations. From you, I've learned, among other things:
- Sterilizing soil is worth the trouble.
- The mix needs to be light and well draining.
- Hydrogen peroxide is your friend.
- And of course, you've posted great stuff on grow lights.
The book "Texas Organic Vegetables" has a good section too, with further hints I didn't realize:
- When you pot up, bury plants a little deeper. (I never did that before).
- When seedlings stall, they're short on fertilizer or have too damp feet. (mine often stall and probably for both reasons).
- Seeds that sprout in total darkness (like in my water heater closet) should be brought out into bright light (even indoor bright light) gradually, or it can shock them. (guilty a couple of times).
- Cold water can shock them. Use warm. (never knew!)
Anyway, gradually, I'm eliminating mistakes, one by one. One of these days...look out! LOL
Just caught up to reading this thread, starting with Stephanie's prize melons!! Fantastic!
I like these short and to the point pointers on growing seeds. Do all or most seeds need to germinate in the dark? If I EVER feel better, I am going to start some seeds this fall--it might be for the spring garden, but I'm going to get it done, darn it!
Congrats on the 30th anniversary, LiseP! We're 33 this year and going strong!
"Forgive me, Mary, but can I say "kill" and "puppies" in the same sentence?"; ..."thought they might ride with me to the far north side of town, one way."
Linda. You are ALWAYS good for a big laugh!! You know you can call the whatever they are called now--we used to call them the dogcatchers. Look up whatever county you are in for the info--they are there to protect the ANIMALS as well as the people. It's hard for me to understand how people can let their pets run free in a residential neighborhood. It's different out in the country (I imagine--I've never lived in the country, unfortunately). I hate seeing dead pets on the side of the road...I know sometimes though, those tricky little pets get out themselves!
And your seedlings look incredible. I think you will have a bumper crop. Let me know when the Gumbo Z'Herbes is ready! Janet
I'm no expert at seeds (obviously!) but I'm going to say no, they sure don't have to germinate in the dark and maybe it's better that they don't? Some people suggest using the top of a water heater for the warmth, since light shouldn't be an issue (yeah or nay) until they sprout, right? This book author made the case that
"If you choose to germinate your seed on top of the water heater or kitchen counter, move the flat into full light gradually. If you move the flat from a low-light area to full sunlight or intense artificial light, buring of the young, tender seedlings may occur."
So, I'm thinking, the darker place they start, the bigger the transition, right? Maybe I'm overthinking it, but I do know that the water-heater seeds never did do well.
Also, I forgot this point -- plants do best with a 10 degree or more difference in day/night temps. If they are always kept at same warm, cozy temp, they can also end up weak and spindly. Again, maybe the water heater is not such a good place!
Some plants do require light to germinate. At least 3 of the many I just started needed light to germinate. Most of them were herbs. I didn't do that well with those seeds - as they are hard to keep moist AND light when it is over 100 degrees for as long as it was. lol And I also noticed most of those seeds were so tiny.
Odd you mention that TXbabyboomer. I planted what was left in a pack of catnip for the fiends at this house. They never germinated so I thought the seed was too old. Now with cooler temps, I have two pots full of catnip sprouts. Telling me temperature (cooler as well as hot) is important for some seeds.
Quoting: It's different out in the country (I imagine--I've never lived in the country, unfortunately).
Bariolio ~ it's not any different. Good fences make for good neighbors where ever you reside.
Which is why I'm going to go door-to-door begging forgiveness from ALL my neighbors for going without the Hurricane Ike replacement fence for sooooooooooooo long.
But, because I plan on replacing it only ONCE in my remaining lifetime, (God sparing the wind), I searched long, long, long, to get who, and what, I need to build a stout fence that ONLY God himself will bring down.
Here're some more bullet pointers:
►All my seedlings were sown in freshly sterilized potting mix, which was still very warm to the touch (but not HOT) when I put it into the seed trays/containers, and sowed the seeds.
►All my seedlings were sprinkled in "gently" with medium warm (to the touch) tap water and IMMEDIATELY shoved into large plastic baggies that were fogged up with condensation within 10-15 minutes of closing them up (you can see this in the pic I posted below). I stuck my hand in a seedling baggie in January and could FEEL the heat build-up inside. I believe my heat comes from trapping the warmth from the soil and the warm water inside the germinating vessel.
►All the plastic bags/covered starter trays/etc. were vented slightly for some air circulation, but not enough to totally stop the condensation from forming (built-in watering system, until they declared-popped-peeped)
►All my seedlings were germinated in the same room where they have grown. They were shoved underneath the light stand, with only the filtered (not bright, but not totally dark either) light coming from the window. It was relatively dim? underneath the last shelf...
►All my seedlings declared-popped-peeped within 72 hours from sowing (and I wasn't home to put them IMMEDIATELY under the fluorescent lights...)
Upon discovering they had declared, ALL my seedlings were immediately shoved under the BRIGHT fluorescent lights (4 lights per shelf). It was so bright in that room, I saw my true paint color for the first time! Never have "transitioned" seedlings from dark to light...never knew that tip...ain't broke...not fixing... LOL!!
►All my seedlings that declared-popped-peeped have survived - NOT ONE CASUALTY... (praise God!!!!!)
(I'll share some other observations I have made about feeding/watering, later...)
I know this is a thread on fall gardening, but...is it to early to start pre-sprouting my taters for the spring? Some of the ones I harvested and have never gotten around to using have started sprouting! LOL
ONLY because those Canelas?? and Nicolas I ordered way back when, that have turned into a huge alien sprout in the box I opened TWO weeks ago, are going into some soil as soon as possible, will I say GO FOR IT!
Keep in mind, these are LONG-season varieties, made to withstand some cold and a quick frost (like we have).
You must choose carefully, Grasshopper!!!
We can conduct our experiment together! What variety do you have?
As it was raining a couple of days ago, I was at a garden center. Well anyway, I picked up (It WAS raining and my glasses were fogged up. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.) what I thought was some Swiss chard. When I got it home I discovered it was okra!! Will this even grow in the Fall here? I was under the impression it was a summer crop.
I'd return it and try to trade for what you want, unless it's too much of a hassle. The time for baby okra is over...won't survive to make something to eat before cold weather gets here. If it ever DOES get cold... :)
I've been inspired to clean out some of my bed. The eggplant were goners and also the tomatoes. Gotta fix up the soil some and get my few tomato plants in the ground.
But right now I gotta go cook Creamy Southwest Chicken!
Babybloomer-if they won't take it back you might try growing it and consider it an experiment. What zone are you in? It was 98 here today, and while it felt great that's still hot. It grows pretty fast. What have you got to loss? Does an Okra plant resemble Swiss Chard?(teasing) If I were you I'd buy seeds for SC and direct sow it. The seeds are actually capsules so you may have to thin them but they are really easy to start. They germinate faster if you you soak the seeds overnight.
No, I'll admit okra doesn't come close to resembling the chard. Maybe it was the cabbage I was thinking I was getting? lol I probably will go ahead and try growing it. It is way to much trouble to take it back. I think I have a lot of clear heavy plastic - that maybe I can fashion some sort of mini greenhouse around it with. I was thinking of doing that for the tomatoes as well.