OK so this summer was my first ever garden & I've learned some valuable lessons. But now I'm moving into planning my fall garden & need to know when to take out plants to make room for the new. Like my hot banana peppers. They've all produced wonderfully but now that I'm harvesting do I Yank the plant or leave it? Will it make more peppers? Same goes for the tomatoes, bell peppers, & pole & bush beans. Any advice?
If they are still producing I wouldn't yank anything. Fall gardens are usually planted late Aug. early Sept. here and mine does better than my spring garden. Especially cukes. Temps are cooler and humidity is usually a little lower before they start to bear fruit and they usually keep producing until we get a cold snap. Once they're gone I plant cabbage,greens,broccolli,lettuce and the like.
OK. A few sites said to till the old plants into the soil with compost so the soil can sit for a few weeks or some such thing so I figured I'd ask. I'm starting most my fall plant seeds in pots this week so they're all ready for transplant in August. That's the rite way, yes? Thanks for ur help!!
Which cole crop seedlings are you starting? I'm in Zone 9a (comparable to yours), and I'll be starting my seedlings soon, too.
One tip: You want a sizeable seeding to put out so that it transitions smoothly into the cooler weather with little difficulty. My cauliflower & broccoli seedlings are usually 8-10" tall with between 5-7 true leaves before they go out. But, one they do, they're large enough to withstand (and appreciate) the cool temps they love.
My cabbage seedlings are usually around 6-7" with ~5-6 true leaves.
Also, remember that the brassicas are WATER HOGGING, HUNGRY HIPPOS, so keep them evenly hydrated, and feed them weakly, weekly!
Here's my planting timeline from last season:
Broccoli and Cauliflower timeline:
8/6/12 Sowed seeds
9/3/12 Potted up some that were ready to be potted up
9/17/17 Hardening off some
10/7/12 Transplanted 17 cauliflowers out -RB #3
10/13/12 Transplanted 11 broccoli out -RB #3;
10/13/12 Transplanted 7 green magic broccs & 6 caulis out -RB #2
12/03/12 Broccoli and Cauliflowers making buttons at 120 days from sowing
And, here are a few accompanying notes I made regarding the schedule:
►I've decided that, NEXT fall, I really need to watch the temperature predictions more, and not plant the brassicas when it's still too warm.
► If it's too warm, I need to wait until the end of September to start these seedlings, and transplant out beginning late October or early November. When the weather is too warm here, those plants just don't thrive, and, the up and down warm/cold just stresses them out.
►So, the adjustment will be to watch the weather, start the seedlings later, and have more transplants growing inside for transplanting out in the late fall/early winter, when it's already cold. I can always transplant them out under my covered hoops until they take.
►The ambient air temperature should be the steady cool/cold that they truly need. Hardly any of my cabbages have made tight heads, cause it's just been too warm for them.
Oops, I guess I wasn't very clear in what I said. We actually get 3 growing seasons here if you time it right. Spring seeds and transplants go in the ground late Feb. to early April and produce until the heat, humiditity, fungus and bugs wipe 'em out usually beginning with my cukes in May and ending with tomatoes around July. Okra,southern peas, and eggplant are the only things I even try to grow through July and August. Fall gardens are a repeat of spring crops with seeds and transplants going in the ground late Aug. early Sept. By the time they start to produce it's getting cooler instead of hotter and they produce better and longer than the spring garden did. Most of my mom's canning was done from the fall garden. Cold usually didn't get it until after thanksgiving but before Christmas. Then we'd plant the cold weather crops and they'd be done by the time the spring garden needed to be planted EXCEPT for brussell sprouts, They need to be in the ground (transplants) by the end of Sept. early Oct.at the latest and hope for a cool winter. I wouldn't start seeds for transplants for cool season crops until mid to late Sept. unless you want to skip the "fall" garden, then I'd still wait until mid August. It's just too hot and humid for them to get a good start right now.
OK. Just so I can be 100% clear, can I till the summer plants into the soil once they r completely done producing? Or is it better to just remove the plants & use compost & fertilizer while tilling the soil for fall? Thank u so much 4 all the info so far! This kind of advice is priceless for a beginner like me, especially since ur so close 2 me location wise!
I,d pull "em not only for disease control but because you're gonna be planting again soon it won't have time for the woodier stems to decompose and it's a pain trying to plant in it. Do you buy or make your own compost?
I keep my pepper plants, since they seem to be happy with wherever I put them. I sacrifice a few to the bugs and what I'm calling the "humud" - humid, sandy, bayou MUD that my soil is - but I don't till them in unless they're dry as bones. I stick extra-huge decaying squash leaves on top of my patio weeds, hoping to deprive them of sunlight, I have no clue if that's a good idea or not, but it works in my little postage-stamp yard!
I hate to waste organic matter, too, but the seeds in our humud will just sprout all over again where you least expect them. My front garden is a lovely disaster area of passiflora, amaranth, zucchini, morning glory, and cucumbers to prove that I should really be more careful with my home compost. ;)