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Is it too early for Fall crop planting?

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Is it too early for Fall crop planting?

Post  braim5 on 8/30/2011, 9:55 pm

I was able to find seedlings at a local garden center for brocolli, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussels spouts. Here, in north-central Arkansas, we are still experiencing some highs in the lower nineties. Would my seedlings die if I put them out in my SFG now? I am such an impatient person to wait. In fact, I've already tried direct seeding the brocolli, cauliflower, and cabbage in the soil without any luck with germination. I'm hoping that the seedlings(they are pretty good sized) can tolerate the warmer temps better than the seeds could. Anyone with experience in Fall gardening able to help me?


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Re: Is it too early for Fall crop planting?

Post  boffer on 8/30/2011, 10:05 pm

Your first frost date is going to dictate here. Regardless of your current temperatures, your plants need time to reach near maturity by your frost date. Your cool crops will survive sub-freezing temperatures OK, but their growth rate will slow way down along with the shorter daylight hours.

You can help your seedlings get through the heat by providing shade, and keeping the MM moist on top at all times, as the evaporation process will provide some cooling effect.

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Re: Is it too early for Fall crop planting?

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 8/30/2011, 10:38 pm

Wondering if you have Mel's book? The one in the banner? It has wonderful tables on fall plantings, directs you to time them by your fall frost date, and has germination charts showing you that when soils are still that warm....nothing germinates.

If you want to satisfy your impatience (like me), drop some seeds in a starting medium and bring them indoors until they sprout. Then, take them outside and gamble with the heat. If the cooler season plants have some shade, they may just make it. If they are in full sun, they will likely disappear.

However, stagger the gambling attempts every couple weeks and you will time your heat breaking perfectly. Sometimes that's all we can do.

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Re: Is it too early for Fall crop planting?

Post  braim5 on 8/31/2011, 7:26 am

Thanks Boffer and BBG for your replies. I do have the book and have read it. After several failed attempts at direct seeding in my bed for cool weather crops (I would get some germination, but then the small seedlings would "dissolve" in the sun), I found some tips on here from members about seeding in vermiculite. I am extremely happy with the germination in my little cups inside. However, when I saw these seedlings already established, I couldn't resist buying them... I'm not sure what I will do with my sprouts, but at least I have a back up and maybe I can find some places to plant them to have a staggered harvest later on, especially for the cauliflower and cabbage that doesn't provide side shoots like the brocolli. I can't wait to taste them all! I've never grown any of the cool weather crops before. What a Face

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Re: Is it too early for Fall crop planting?

Post  Lemonie on 10/3/2011, 2:13 pm

This is my first year gardening- so no experience to speak of. But my broccoli from spring went all summer! I harvested the heads early on and had non-stop shoots to keep our plates full. I finally pulled those 3wks ago and started my seeds indoor about the same time. Now that it's been consistently mild, my young plants are spending most of their time outside and doing well....except those darn moths found them! Evil or Very Mad But I'm carefully taking care of them now! Twisted Evil I haven't put the plants in the ground yet- I'm keeping them on their watering tray and move them to the shady side of the yard on days when it's supposed to be warmer. So far, so good!

Lettuce, spinach, peas, beans and carrots are all taking off and my tomatoes are still going strong. Even the strawberries are doing well after the light frost. I have some heavy plastic that I'm wrapping the garden up in at night now...got down to 38*F 2 nights ago. Hopefully we'll have a more consistent fall that we did summer. So far- it's been easier to keep all the seeds very moist and most of the pests at bay.

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Re: Is it too early for Fall crop planting?

Post  AZDYJ2K on 10/3/2011, 3:19 pm

I'm surprised your seeds have not germinated. I am in Chandler, AZ (low desert) and it's still hitting 100 degrees give or take 5 degrees. I planted broccoli, spinach, bok choy, carrots, napa cabbage and leaf lettuce. The leaf lettuce are the only ones that did not sprout and I knew going in that leaf lettuce does not sprout in warm soil. All the seedlings are doing good.

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