When to direct sow fall vegies in zone 8/9

Pulaski, GA

I am borderline zones 8 and 9, Coastal Georgia. Can someone in the same general zone tell me a good time to plant the following:
In the past I have waited until mid/late September or early October, but I'm thinking that's too late. Last fall we had a major frost the first of Oct. and my fall vegies weren't well established enough to survive.

Glocester, RI(Zone 6a)

Check out the Fall Planting Calculator on Johnny's Seeds website: http://www.johnnyseeds.com/t-InteractiveTools.aspx

Just plug in your average first frost date and it will give you the suggested planting date for each veggie.

Taking a quick look, I'd say you have about another month for the spinach and turnips, the kale should be direct-sown right around now, and the cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower should be planted as transplants in the next week or two.

Central, TX(Zone 8b)

Call you County Extension Service agent's office - they might have a local planting guide. I found the following links when I visited the UGA web site:









I never direct seed Broccoli, Cabbage and Cauliflower, rather I raise my own transplants in cell packs or paper pots by backing up 6 weeks + days to germination from the planting dates for those vegetables.

Let us know your results!

Ms. Tommie

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

These links should help you. They're from past threads, from then until now.

Vegetable Gardening: Zones 8-9 Fall/Wntr 2010 IS UNDERWAY - Part III http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1126351/

Vegetable Gardening: Zones 8-9 Spr/Sum 2011 Veggie Gardening is UNDERWAY- Pt l

Vegetable Gardening: Zones 8-9 Spr/Sum 2011 Veggie Gardening is UNDERWAY- Pt lI

Vegetable Gardening: What I did TODAY in Zone 8-9a, for my 2011 Fall/Wtr Veggie Garden

This message was edited Aug 3, 2011 12:26 PM

Pulaski, GA

It's difficult to count back 6 weeks from the first frost date because ours varies so much. Last fall it was early October. The year before it was mid-November. Just wondering if someone in the same zone had a usual planting date. BTW, I have always direct sown broccoli and had good results.

Central, TX(Zone 8b)


The Texas AgriLife Extension planting guide I go by is based on the "average" first frost and last frost dates for my area which can vary 2+ weeks either side of that date, more considering our crazy weather patterns of late. It's a moving target at best...

If your county has a Master Gardener group surely one of those folks will be able to offer advice based on their experiences.

Best Wishes,


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

One possible remedy would be to pick a relative FF date and then stagger plant, every 2-3 weeks. That way, you'll fall within the FF window, AND, you won't have everything maturing at the same time. You might lose a few, but you'll certainly win some, too!

Just a thought.


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

Come join us over on the "What I did TODAY for my Fall/Winter 2011 Veggie Garden" thread, in the Vegetables Gardening forum. Gardeners have begun sowing, and the scheduling discussion is kicking into gear!


This message was edited Aug 8, 2011 2:01 PM

This message was edited Aug 8, 2011 2:07 PM

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Gymgirl ~ I don't think nonsubscribers can access that forum. You might ask admin to move it over here...

Vicksburg, MS(Zone 8a)

Hi miles,
I've been gardening for 30+ years down here and I've always planted my fall garden the last week of August (pretty much what you plan to put in) and I've always had very good results. Love the fact that I don't have as many bugs to fend off that time of year.

bhopal, India

[deleted by admin]

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

That exactly why I love the fall garden -- cool temps, and NO BUGS! Although, truth be told, I had about 10 bugs of note all spring -- my herd of Assassin buggies in the grass below all my veggie containers did the yeoman's work of keeping every living thing off of my tomato vines!

Love those Assassins!

Vicksburg, MS(Zone 8a)

Hi Gymgirl,
Love those assassin bugs is right! I also keep feeders out for the birds and have planted all the things they need in my yard so I have a huge assortment of birds. They do a wonderful job of keeping the bugs cleaned up in all my flowerbeds and veggie garden. I always have a large spring garden but enjoy working that fall garden better. You know down here it's too hot for words most of the time during summer but fall gardening is always so pleasant. Did you manage to have a good garden this year in spite of this brutal heat? I finally had to let my garden burn up--couldn't afford the water bill.

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

I had the best garden and the biggest harvest of all my growing seasons COMBINED, since January 2008! Keep in mind, mine is a container (eBuckets and Earthboxes) garden, with a small yield, but, for me, I had a bounty this season.



Hilliard, FL(Zone 8b)

I am a Master Gardener with the local extension office in Nassau County in Northeast Florida. Nassau County also is on the border between zones 8 and 9. The advice below about checking with your county extension office is good advice. Our county extension office here has a good planting calendar on its website. You can access this planting calendar at http://nassau.ifas.ufl.edu/horticulture/landmatters/neflvegplantguide.doc . This calendar lists the proper times to plant the vegetables you mentioned, as well as vegetables throughout the year. Since we are not too far apart, it should work for you. Personally, I am going to start my broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale in starter packs within the next week or so, so they will be ready to transplant in about 6-8 weeks. I will direct seed my turnips and mustard greens sometime between late September and mid-October. For spinach, I usually start some in cell packs for transplanting, and direct seed others in October. I hope this helps.

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

May I ask you a question? I sowed seeds for broccoli, cabbages, cauliflowers and brussels sprouts on Saturday & Sunday, August 6th & 7th. Unfortunately, I was away from home until yesterday evening, and all these seeds have come up. They are leggy, and about 2" to 2-1/2" tall. I immediately shoved the trays under the fluorescent lights.

You think there's any hope for these seedlings? Other than being leggy, they're fine...

Also, when/if they get their 2nd set of true leaves, and I pot them up, would you recommend potting deep, like tomatoes?



Hilliard, FL(Zone 8b)

Hi Linda. When I start seeds for my “green stuff” this time of year, I usually put the flats on a table outside in a somewhat shaded location—bright light, but not too much sun. While they are still small, after they get their first set of “True leaves,” you can water them with a weak liquid fertilizer solution, about a quarter to half as strong as recommended on the label. As they grow, you can increase the strength of the fertilizer solution. When they get bigger, and the weather is a little cooler (it is hot as you know where in Florida right now, as I am sure it is in Texas) I move them to where they can get more sun, and when they are 3 or 4 inches tall, I plant them in the ground.

With that being said, with the grow lights, they should turn out OK. You could also try moving them outside to a shady location if you can—the wind and gentle breezes will help strengthen the plants. Also, make up a very weak fertilizer solution and feed them a little every couple of days. Also, if you feel that they might not survive, it is not too late to start a few more plants from seeds.

When you pot up the plants, plant them a little deeper than they were originally growing, but not as deep as you would plant tomatoes—if the plant is 4 inches tall when you transplant it, you could plant it about an inch deeper than it was in its original container. If your leggy plants survive, and the stem is still kind of long, maybe a little deeper. Hope this helps.

Hilliard, FL(Zone 8b)

One more note, Linda. If you cannot move your plants outdoors to a shady location, try gently running your hand across the tops of the plants a couple of times a day. This simulates the wind, and will help strengthen the plants. And if you plant organically, instead of liquid fertilizer, you could try a weak compost or manure tea to feed the small plants.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Paradacrades-do you put them outside before or after they have all germinated? The temps are so extreme we are breaking records right and left and are under extreme drought conditions. It seems strange to put cool weather crops outside when it's 105 in the shade. I'm just not sure if my normal routine will work under these extreme conditions,

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

Thanks, Paradacrades! I have a good history with brassicaes. I've just never started any from seeds, so was wondering about the legginess.

I'm keeping my fall brassica seedlings inside under the fluorescents, for that very reason. It's too hot out! I've provided enough heat already, with warm potting mix, warm water, and greenhouses made from plastic baggies!

Although, I do have tomato suckers that I rooted and planted in 2-liter Coke bottles sitting in a shady corner. They've been there about 2 weeks now, and growing like gang-busters. I have them sitting in drip trays I keep filled with a weak solution of MG water soluable fert. I thought with this heat, they wouldn't be ready for potting up (or I wasn't gonna be ready for potting up) until mid-September. But, at the rate they're growing, I may as well clip the bottom leaves off and plant them deep. I have a covered patio, so they'd be shaded while they grow on, until the temps drop. Then, I'll gradually move them into the sunlight.


Hilliard, FL(Zone 8b)

I place the flats outside as soon as I make them. We are pretty hot here in Florida as well right now. That is why I am waiting a week or two to start the seeds. Maybe even a little later if the heat keeps up. You are right that your normal routine might not work this year. This has not been a normal year weather wise. Could you wait a couple of weeks to start your seeds? Where I live, I can safely plant or transplant most green stuff right up through Thanksgiving or Christmas (or even later for some things) if I wanted to.

Hilliard, FL(Zone 8b)

Glad I could be of a little assistance, Linda. Starting brassicas from seeds is pretty easy. The legginess is common when you start seedlings indoors if you are not careful with the lighting. That is why I try to start mine outside when I can. One time, I started some tomatoes indoors, and was not careful with the lighting, and they became quite leggy. I moved them outside as soon as I could, and gave them a little liquid fertilizer, and they turned out well after all. Try to stay cool, and pray for rain.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Para- I can wait but the long range forecast isn't much different. I usually don't start my cool weather crops until the end of August beginning of Sept. anyway but it's good to know I can stick them outside. Our weather is always so extreme either really hot or cold. To be honest with the weather we see having cool weather veggies just seem like they can wait a while

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

I hear yah, Lisa. I expected to be putting seedlings out by mid-September, but looks like summer won't end until mid-October this year. And, I suspect we're gonna have a very short, but very brutal, winter...

I might be thanking God in advance that I'm forced (once again) to do a portable eBucket garden this season. Fully expected to have my RBs in place, but, I'm counting this blessing, now!!


Pulaski, GA

I found a website by the University of Georgia College of Agriculture that showed when to plant in my area. For the month of August it suggested more summer squash and cucumbers, so I did that today. It also indicated that I should have planted my Halloween pumpkin 2 weeks ago, so I planted some pumpkin seeds today. I also put two tomato seedlings in the ground that had been sitting around. They were pretty bedraggled so don't know if they'll survive. The site is quite user friendly and I'm excited to have found it.

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

Come on over and see what a Zone 9a gardener has been up to for the upcoming fall/winter season!


Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or sign up to post.