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Looking ahead towards Fall/Winter

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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 7/4/2014, 10:41 pm

I KNOW it seems crazy early but it's not.  What are you planning to do for your fall season and when will you be starting it?  

What did you decide to change from last year's Fall/Winter garden?  What are you going to add as far as cold frames, hoop houses or?

As for me:
1.  I spent time today in my green house planting summer crops that will actually be able to keep growing in my greenhouse since they'll be protected from frosts.  I'm zone 9A/B depending on the year so I treat everything as 9A.   We usually get one early, really hard frost in November or the beginning of December and then will have 4-6 weeks of lovely growing weather after that, so this year I'll be able to protect more of my plants to keep harvesting.

2.  I'm starting to plan what I need to get started as seedlings and will be planting this next week.  It always seems too early when it's our 3rd or 4th time since spring that we're hitting the 100+ temps AND it's going to be for at least another week.  

3.  I'm expanding what I did last fall in my greenhouse as it was wonderfully successful and fun.  There's nothing like eating fresh, vine ripened tomatoes in January.
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Post  Marc Iverson 7/5/2014, 1:56 am

1. More hoop houses.
2. I'm going to try to better protect them from being torn open by rabbits, by running some sort of fencing for a foot or two around their bases.
3. I'm going to be growing mustard for the first time, a big red variety.
4. I'm going to be growing way more cole crops, I think -- probably a whole lot of baby bok choi, maybe broccoli raab.
5. Not sure if I'll bother with kale. It was a complete bust last year.
5. I'm going to be trying to grow an awful lot more peas, but the timing may be dicey, as I usually leave my tomatoes in until very late in the season, as I like green tomatoes just fine. I'm not sure it will work out yet. Depends how the tomatoes do, and it's too early to tell for that.
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Post  sanderson 7/5/2014, 2:15 am

1.  Potatoes in buckets in the green house.  All the potted peppers and tomatoes also in the green house.  (4 x 4 foot print, but I'm going to raise the gable roof so I can stand up in the middle.  Also, fashion a PVC and plastic door for easier entry.
2.  Put Christmas lights and a PVC / plastic frame over the new 2 x 8 TT so I can try to keep growing carrots and greens - kale, chard, bok choy, maybe try lettuce?
3.  Trellised Snow peas, again.
4.  Put some ground boxes to bed for the winter.
5.  Try cabbage, if Audrey will tell me when to plant it to over-winter.  Very Happy
5. Save the fall leaves, again.
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Post  Marc Iverson 7/5/2014, 2:25 am

I look forward to the photos, sanderson.

Question: do you even need to shelter crops such as kale, chard, and at least some kinds of lettuce where you are? How cold does it get there?

Or do you just want to increase productivity?

I guess my outlook is probably pretty reflexive -- I have a Southern California mentality, where winter means it hits 70 degrees occasionally and it makes me think I'm dying of cold.
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Post  sanderson 7/5/2014, 4:18 am

I thought I would grow some greens in the 2 x 8. It is accessible from the patio so if we get rain (ha ha) I can still get some fresh pickings. I heard that this winter is supposed to be El Nino so maybe there's some hope. I'll cover with plastic when it freezes. I'll turn on the lights when it gets in the 20's.
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Post  donnainzone5 7/5/2014, 11:42 am

Marc,

Is it Red Giant mustard you're planning to grow?  It's gorgeous stuff and could even be used as an ornamental.  

If you decide to let it grow, rather than pick off many of the leaves, you'll need to plant it one per square foot.  The "Giant" moniker is no mistake.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 7/5/2014, 1:57 pm

Sanderson, starting seedlings any time from now on is good for the fall crops.  6-8 weeks ahead of planting when started indoors is what I've read.  Check the % of germination at various temps on the different varieties and you may need to start them indoors just to get them to germinate because of our heat!

Also, most of the winter crops such as kale, chard, broccoli and cauliflower should grow fine outdoors unprotected in our zones.  In our area some of them simply may need a row cover layer or two during a severe cold snap.  I get much colder nights than you on a regular basis, hence my greenhouse :-)

Q. You have often mentioned cold tolerant vegetable crops and those which are very susceptible to frosty injury. Could you list these and temperature lows which they can tolerate?
A. This is very difficult to do and be accurate since cold tolerance depends on preconditioning. For instance, if broccoli has been growing in warm conditions and temperatures drop below 22 degrees F., it will probably be killed. If these same broccoli plants had experienced cool weather, they would probably survive the sudden cold.
In general, a frost (31-33 degrees F.) will kill beans, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, okra, peas, pepper, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, tomatoes, and watermelon.
Colder temperatures (26-31 degrees F.) may burn foliage but will not kill broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, lettuce, mustard, onion, radish, and turnip.
The real cold weather champs are beets, Brussels sprouts, carrots, collards, kale, parsley, and spinach.

SOURCE: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/vegetables/coldtoler.html
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Post  sanderson 7/5/2014, 3:51 pm

Thanks, Audrey.
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Post  CapeCoddess 7/5/2014, 5:21 pm

Holy mackerel! Is it that time already? I still need to get the corn in.

As soon as my garlic and onions come out I'll throw some lettuce, collard and kale seeds into those two 4 x 4s. Garlic goes back in on Halloween...somewhere...maybe in one of the new boxes awaiting the MM from the broken boxes. The broken boxes still have peas, chard and beets growing in them, as well as romaine, peas, Tendergreen and spinach going to seed on purpose.

It's a waiting game at this point...

I have row covers and plastic to put over hoop tunnels and domes, and windows to go directly over the boxes, for extending the season if I'm feeling that ambitious by then.
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Post  Marc Iverson 7/6/2014, 1:12 am

donnainzone10 wrote:Marc,

Is it Red Giant mustard you're planning to grow?  It's gorgeous stuff and could even be used as an ornamental.  

If you decide to let it grow, rather than pick off many of the leaves, you'll need to plant it one per square foot.  The "Giant" moniker is no mistake.

Thanks, Donna. Yep, it's Red Giant, from Botanical Interests.

I'm really curious as to the taste and am looking forward to it. I like spicy stuff a lot, but don't quite know what to expect with mustard leaves. I hope they're mild enough that I won't be the only person eating them.
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Post  donnainzone5 7/6/2014, 11:57 am

Marc,

It's pretty spicy; you probably wouldn't want too much of it "straight."  I've had a few leaves mixed into salads so far this summer, and it's delicious!
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Post  kamigh 7/6/2014, 3:34 pm

I've been thinking about this topic as well.  In fact, I thought I might be a little nuts to be thinking about fall when it's 96 degrees outside, so I'm glad to see I'm not the only one!
This year was my first time with a SFG, so my family made me start out small to make sure that a) I liked the system and b) I could keep up with it and not end up with a giant untamed jungle in our yard.  Happily I have passed both tests (LOVE the SFG!!!!!), so this fall I'm going to expand and double my beds so I'll have FOUR 4' x 8' beds!
So here is my list:
1. Expand by creating 2 more 4' x 8' beds.
2. Grow some more tomatoes since I have a long growing season (luckily I got an email from my garden center and they have some for fall planting that have just come in, so I'll get a couple of those and see how they do).
3. Plant some baby pumpkins (Jack be little and Baby boo). I grew these this spring/summer and they are already done, way too early for fall.  So I'll try some more for the fall - my kids can't wait.  These are perfect for their little hands to plant since the seeds are big!
4. Plant onions, shallots, garlic and carrots.
5. Once it is a little cooler, I'll plant some more lettuce, spinach, and kale.  My spring lettuce was amazing but burned up about a month ago.
6. Plant some peas and maybe some more beans, although my beans so far have been a total bust.

I am so jealous of all of you who have greenhouses.  I want one so much but my new neighborhood HOA doesn't allow it.  I'm trying to meet and get to know all my neighbors as they move in, so that when the builder is done with our neighborhood and gives the HOA to the actual homeowners, I can propose to change this rule and get my greenhouse!  It's a long-term goal since our neighborhood is only about 1/3 finished, but gardening is a life-long hobby so hopefully I've got plenty of time Very Happy
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Post  Marc Iverson 7/6/2014, 5:43 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:Marc,

It's pretty spicy; you probably wouldn't want too much of it "straight."  I've had a few leaves mixed into salads so far this summer, and it's delicious!

Hmm, at the rate of a few leaves once in a while, I guess I won't need many plants! I'm a voracious salad eater, though, so who knows ...

I'm glad you say it's also beautiful enough to treat as an ornamental. I like the idea of something doing double-duty like that, and there's always someplace that could use some dressing up around here.
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Post  Marc Iverson 7/6/2014, 5:50 pm

kamigh wrote:... this fall I'm going to expand and double my beds so I'll have FOUR 4' x 8' beds!
.
...

I am so jealous of all of you who have greenhouses.  I want one so much but my new neighborhood HOA doesn't allow it.  I'm trying to meet and get to know all my neighbors as they move in, so that when the builder is done with our neighborhood and gives the HOA to the actual homeowners, I can propose to change this rule and get my greenhouse!  It's a long-term goal since our neighborhood is only about 1/3 finished, but gardening is a life-long hobby so hopefully I've got plenty of time Very Happy

kamigh, that is a wonderful amount of space!

Re changing the no-greenhouse rule in your HOA, sometimes greenhouses are beautiful enough that it's easy to imagine they would increase rather than decrease property value. Good luck getting the change -- maybe people will go along with the idea more easily if you show them pretty pictures of the kind of greenhouse you want to build, and it's a nice one. Heck, you might even get some of them to want a greenhouse themselves, and then they'll really be on your side.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 7/6/2014, 7:12 pm

Really good lists!  Reading through them, I think I need to add some things to mine as well.

However, I'm temporarily having to focus on right now - pest invasions hit with the high temps last week :-( and I've discovered that my 4-6 inch wood chip cover is down to 1 inch in a lot of places so I need to replenish it.  

My ground is hot, hot, hot and DRY without the deep mulch so I get to haul it in 100+ degree days.  That means a max of 3 loads a day is all I can do so it will be a couple of week's project.  *DEEP SIGH*
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Post  sanderson 7/7/2014, 2:36 am

Can only do so much outside in this heat wave. My husband got home tonight after being in TX for 5 days, and said "This is all you got done?" He was just kidding but this heat really hampers how much you can do right now.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 7/7/2014, 2:44 pm

I feel your pain, Sanderson.  I'm so ready for a break!
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Post  Marc Iverson 7/7/2014, 5:16 pm

Me too. It's nice to toughen up and deal with the heat as best we can, but after a few hours it can get so draining and really wipe you out.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 7/13/2014, 1:43 am

I spent the afternoon working on cleaning and organizing my greenhouse. I'm planting some plants in pots that I will try to keep growing through the fall and into the winter.

It's amazing how much clutter ended up in my greenhouse - I just stuff things in there and then forget about it, LOL! I have to clean it up to get the new starts going. I want to put a shelf system in there to place my starts on it.

I got 2/3 of my wood chips on the garden and things are going better in that garden already. Heat wave coming again...
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Post  sanderson 7/13/2014, 4:23 am

It's so hard to think of fall/winter right now with the reoccurring heat waves. I guess the only thing I'm trying to get done is the 2 remaining TTs so I can have some winter hardy plants outside the back door.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 7/13/2014, 7:56 pm

It's 102 degrees in the shade on the north side of the house, I don't even want to know how hot it is outside.  I watered everything a little extra last night knowing how hot it would be and EVERYTHING is wilted right now...
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Post  Marc Iverson 7/13/2014, 8:21 pm

It's supposed to be 109 tomorrow. Ugh.
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Post  jimmy cee 7/13/2014, 9:54 pm

There's no way I am looking forward to next winter, our last remains vividly trenched in my feeble mindLooking ahead towards Fall/Winter Winter10
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Post  donnainzone5 7/14/2014, 4:56 pm

Given the fact that a so-called "polar vortex" is predicted this week, I don't blame you.
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Post  TexasAggie 7/16/2014, 11:59 pm

Fall/Winter
Still moving into our new home (Retirement) and will start building my first oe or two units at the end of the month.  - In checkin in the appendix, acorn squash is this one plant for every other square?
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