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Mid-South:  January 2015 Toplef10Mid-South:  January 2015 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Mid-South: January 2015

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Post  AtlantaMarie 1/1/2015, 9:00 am

Good morning, Everyone!  Happy New Year!  I hope last night was safe and fun for you all.  We had dinner with friends and managed to get home before too many of the amateur drunks were out on the roads.

It's January - new year, new plans, new dreams...  Can't help you with personal issues, but for gardening, you'll get a lot of answers on the forum.  (But you already know that.)

What are YOU planning for your gardens this year?

Me?  I want to get the other 3 beds made and running, get some perennials planted, get some beds ready for blackberries & raspberries, get strawberries/garlic/onions going, find a way to FINALLY kill all that grass for good w/out the use of harmful products, increase my compost pile...  sigh... it's gonna be a BUSY year.

But right now, I'm poring over the new catalogs and seeing what I want to order.  I'm looking at my garden layout to decide what's going in what square.  (Never mind that I haven't finished my cleanup yet!!  Don't remind me!  I do that to myself... thank you very much!)

Besides finishing cleanup, what can be done in our areas for our gardens this month?

If you're in GA, according to UGA Extension:


You can plant or harvest something from your garden almost all year. The two major planting periods, however, are spring (March to May) and fall (mid-July to September). The spring plantings are harvested in June and July, while the fall plantings are harvested from October to December. January and February are prime times for looking at seed catalogs, dreaming of warm spring days, preparing garden plots, and getting ready for a productive season.

(Check!  One "job" completed!  Yea, I'm off to a great start this year!)  (I'll take it where I can get it...)

Next, also from UGA Extension: 

  • Make a garden plan. Plan the garden to include various vitamin groups.
  • Consider planting a few new varieties along with the old favorites.
  • Plant the amount of each vegetable to be planted, including enough to can and freeze. Allow about 1/10 acre of garden space for each member of the family. (Ask your county Extension agent about So Easy to Preserve.)
  • Buy enough quality seed for two or three plantings to lengthen the season of production.
  • Take soil samples if you have not already done so, and take them to your county Extension office for analysis.
  • Apply manure or compost and plow it under if you did not do so in the fall.
  • Apply lime, sulfur and fertilizer according to the soil-test results and vegetable requirements. Buy 100 pounds of fertilize for each 1/10 acre to be planted (if manure is not available, buy at least half again more). Use 5-10-10 or 6-12-12 analysis, depending on soil test and vegetable requirements.
  • Get plant beds or seed boxes ready for growing plants such as tomato, pepper and eggplant. Have beds ready for planting in early February.
  • Check on your compost pile and make sure it is ready for use in the spring.
  • Go by your county Extension office and get copies of Georgia Extension gardening publications.

(Aren't you glad you do SFG so you can skip some of this?  I know I am!)  NOTE:  If you haven't read So Easy to Preserve, it's a fantastic book!  Check your local library first.  That's where I found it.)

One thing I would add - for those who pressure can, take your pressure gauge to the Extension Service & have them calibrate it for you.  And look at your pressure seal.  Does it need to be replaced?  (Every 3-5 years)

Mother Earth News has some interesting info.   They actually cover all zones.


Here's what they say for Zones 7 & 8:

Winter Gardening Tips From Zone 7

What coverings/protections work best for you in your winter garden?

  • We usually have mild winters, so on hard-frost nights I cover with a sheet of plastic that my husband rigged up for my beds.
  • I have been using low tunnels covered with Agribon AG-19. I spend a lot of time removing and replacing it when the weather gets too warm. But it has saved my plants when it gets cold. I have also added extra layers when it gets below 20 degrees. I only cover the lettuces, spinach and half of the broccoli.
  • I use glass jars as cloches when needed.
  • One of the best covers I ever used was when we cleared brush. I ended up putting the brush over the green beans (it was during fall) and they lasted through several frosts — ha! Other than that, leaves.
  • White floating row covers supported over the plants by a wire frame and anchored by rocks so the wind doesn’t blow it over and the snow doesn’t collapse it.
  • Reemay-type covers (some are thinner and allow more light; see Territorial Seed catalog). Plus, a large hoop house. In the Pacific Northwest we get a lot of rain — 50 inches where I live. Keeping the plants dry helps them not to “decay” in the wet. However, purple sprouting broccoli works best if left out in the rain.
  • I use Wall O Waters.
  • I use PVC pipe covered with a large white tarp.
  • Concrete reinforcing wire quonsets with Reemay row cover pinned over.
  • I use cardboard as mulch, covered with chipped Cypress. If necessary, I cover plants with plastic milk cartons or cat litter buckets.
  • I plant mainly in my high tunnel, but kale and arugula will do well out in the garden — but of course that depends how mild the winter is.
  • We use row covers for the wide rows. I also use homemade milk jug containers for crops like broccoli and cauliflower. The fruit of these tastes so much better in cool weather and we do not have to deal with nearly as many insect pests.
  • I throw old sheets over crops during freezing periods.
  • I have old windows that work as a cold frame.
  • I don’t need or use coverings here.
  • Persistent winter rains and occasional snowfalls beat down lots of plants, so we mostly grow in an unheated greenhouse.
  • I use newspaper covered with lawn clippings. The newspaper makes the setup easy to uncover, and the clippings keep the paper in place.
  • PCV hoops with plastic covering.
  • I mulch with whatever is at hand: pine straw, dead leaves, etc., and toss an old tarp over the garden boxes when needed.
  • I use row covers over a wire frame, with the addition of plastic (thin painter’s plastic on a roll) that is used about once a year, when the weather gets too cold.
  • We use a pop-up greenhouse.
  • Reemay and 4-mil plastic on low hoop houses.
  • Agribon fabric over pvc hoops.
  • I bring container plants into a covered screened porch when it’s too cold.
  • I use half-inch PVC pipe bent into hoops, then covered by 6-mil clear construction film from Lowe’s. I plant in raised beds and secure one side of the film to the bed and anchor the loose side with 8-foot landscape timbers, and the ends with 4-foot timbers.
  • I try to use simple arched pieces of aluminum strips (from a hardware store) to support plastic sheeting. There is always a problem if rain gathers in droopy places in the plastic and squashes some plants.
  • Floating row covers over hoops on top of raised beds. I use Gardeners Supply Company’s Garden Quilt.
  • I use Agribon cover cloth exclusively now for the fall and winter. It holds up better than the other brands.
  • We have a cattle-panel hoop house covered with 6-mil plastic.
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Hay bales on each side of a row with storm windows on top.
  • I have tried a light-weight commercial cover for winter hail and heavier snows. It mostly helps for easy picking in my lettuce bed. Before using it, lettuces survived under snow blankets but stopped growing until exposed to the sun again.
  • I use compost on everything. The plants become well-established and I don’t need to put plastic covers on things.
  • I have a cold frame made from old sliding patio doors on hinges that I put over one of my raised beds.
  • I put plastic covers over tomato cages, laid on their sides, held down with rocks on the edges.
  • During the winter I leave the beds uncovered unless the temp drops to the mid-30s. If the temp drops below 20, I cover beds with a heavy-duty plastic tarp.

What other winter growing techniques work best for you to get the biggest, healthiest harvests?

  • Remember to water even though it has gotten cooler or is winter. Because it isn’t hot, it is easy to forget to water when it is dry.
  • Making sure the plants are near harvest-ready by the time your garden reaches the point of getting less than 10 hours of sunlight and/or the worst of your cold season (see Elliot Coleman’s books). This is except for items that won’t start to grow much until spring, like overwintering onions, peas, and some broccoli and cauliflowers.
  • When fertilizing, do not overuse nitrogen in particular as it reduces cold-hardiness. Extra K and Ca help for a stronger plant wall. Keep plants growing slowly until they go into stasis.
  • I usually let my spring crops go to seed and replant themselves. This is how I seed my winter crops.
  • Leave your winter crops uncovered as much as possible. Good air circulation makes for healthy plants.
  • A heat/grow lamp works well if it stays cold for more than a couple of days. I put mulch around all the fruit trees, grapevines, strawberries and vegetables in the garden boxes — just whatever I have available — to keep the ground warm and protect the roots.
  • I think the most important thing is to choose cold-tolerant vegetables.
  • Continuously harvest leafy crops such as lettuce, spinach, collards, etc. Make several sowings of carrots, radishes, and turnips so you always have more on the way when the first crop is fizzling out.
  • I am planning to grow some crops under netting (before plastic cover is needed) to keep cabbage moths away. Cabbage moths seem to be my only bug problem in winter so far.
  • The best luck I have is keeping the vegetable bed covered with a good layer of leaf mulch. When I hear there is hard freeze coming, I cover the plants with plenty more oak leaf mulch. When it warms up, I move it off the plants.
  • Row covers and planting cold-hardy varieties are the only techniques I use.
  • Fertilize heavily when planting, water as needed and keep the weeds out.
  • Allowing the greens I like best to volunteer in the summer always produces my best winter crops.
  • Situating the winter garden bed where it can get maximum sunshine is important. Also, ensure good drainage in the garden beds.
  • I put winter vegetables in the sunniest locations in my garden.
  • I open the plastic covers on sunny, warm, winter days. I have had spinach and greens as late as Christmas, and beyond.

What are your best tips for getting the timing right when planning and planting a winter garden?

  • I direct sow early so growth is good before it gets really cold.
  • Paying attention to the weather. Things have changed climate-wise here and the old stand-bys of “plant this at this time” don’t necessarily apply anymore.
  • Follow the suggested planting dates put out by Clemson.
  • We stay warm long into fall, so I start my winter plants indoors in August and then wait to see when the temp will consistently start dropping. That could be anywhere from September to November.
  • It’s hard to get the timing right with the weather so changeable. What works well one year is a disaster the next. Timing the lettuce is important. Plant too early and the more mature plants are more sensitive to the cold, but too late and it will not grow enough to be useful.
  • Use a calendar, counting backwards. Use an app with info about daylight hours.
  • I plant turnips and greens on the second Saturday in August.
  • For me, one key is remembering that the frost will come usually around the end of October. When it is so warm for so long and many times we have a lingering summer, it is easy to forget and think that the frost time has also been pushed back. But it usually hasn’t; it is relatively the same whether it has been a cool or a warm fall.
  • Planting during the second half of August works well for most people around here.
  • Try to plant after the last heat wave and before the first frost. Sometimes I end up sowing twice to get it right.
  • Regional seed catalogs like Territorial and Johnny’s have great information on winter gardening. Do several plantings a couple of weeks apart and keep records of what timing worked best. Other variables impact timing considerations like weather and level of protection provided to the crop. Keep a watch on the weather and provide additional protection measures as necessary.
  • Keep a detailed garden journal.
  • I time things so that plants are 80 to 90 percent mature by Thanksgiving.
  • Follow your state extension’s guidelines for planting. We have been doing organic veggie gardening on this property for over 30 years, so I can judge areas where I can “fudge” the planting times a bit. We are the byproduct of using MOTHER’s gardening techniques all this time.
  • Since crops grow more slowly in fall, you need to allow more days to harvest than is indicated on the seed packets. Since it is hot in August, some fall and winter vegetables are best started inside (or out of direct sun if outside).
  • Plan every detail ahead of time. Jump right in after early crops are finished, add some compost, and plant your cool-season veggies soon after so weeds don’t have a chance to take hold.
  • Sow multiple plantings beginning in early September.
  • I usually wait until the first part of October to plant my winter garden. September can still be pretty hot in Tennessee and seeds don’t germinate as well.
  • In Oklahoma, we have some leeway for fall planting. Wait until summer heat appears to have subsided. Protect crops if there is threat of early frost.
  • Plants in this area need to be pretty big by Thanksgiving — then I feel that I’m really just preserving them outside to keep them fresh, since there isn’t much actual winter growth. So, the best bet is to try to get them going while it’s still warm and hope they don’t bolt before the frosts set in!
  • Watch the weather trends for that year and the time to maturity. Try to strike a balance between soil temperature for maximum sprouting and time to frost vs. days to maturity.
  • In my mountain/forested garden, I’m learning to let arugula, bok choys, green onions, and parsleys self-volunteer for winter crops. Those succeed much better than when I plant seeds in late summer.
  • I try to follow local gardeners’ advice. Right now we live in a climate where the growing season is all year around with micro-climates, so you can grow almost anything you wish. Greens are my favorite crop.
  • I plant various greens whenever the tomato and melon plants die back.
  • My biggest tip is to get organized in advance, in the spring when you are all excited about gardening.
  • I began starting indoors, planting four seeds every two weeks, and transplanting all seedlings outside when the weather was right. I kept notes on which ones produced the greatest yield and had the least amount of pest problems. After a few years of this trial and error, I created my own plan for my area, and it works most of the time. Now and again, Mother Nature throws a curve ball, and if you have seedlings started at different times, you should have a few times that work, no matter what surprises Mother Nature dishes out.

Winter Gardening Tips From Zone 8

What coverings/protections work best for you in your winter garden?

  • I use builders’ plastic over an A-frame that’s 24 inches tall. I have to clear it when it snows heavily to prevent tearing. Last year I used a crop cover cloth on a wire tunnel, and the snow collapsed it and tore the fabric.
  • PVC hoops and plastic over raised beds.
  • I have not gotten enough frost to kill my winter plants yet. Collards, broccoli, lettuce, and spinach grow like weeds here right up until the heat of summer. The only thing I have lost to frost yet is my Siberian tomatoes. That was one of the rare years it got down to 20 degrees.
  • Covers are rarely necessary, but I use old sheets occasionally.
  • We don’t usually get hard enough frosts to need protection, although if the threat exists, I’ll give the garden a good soaking to keep temps from dipping too low.
  • I have only used thin plastic in low row covers, which has worked well.
  • In this area, we usually don’t need much protection other than sheets on really cold nights.
  • I don’t use coverings consistently — only when I expect a hard freeze and I’m growing more delicate crops. I have used greenhouse plastic sheets from Lowe’s, held down on the edges with boards.
  • I use a plant blanket when it is going to freeze.
  • I use Agribond 19 and 20, as it’s light enough to protect from frosts but still has good light transmission.
  • Cold frames facing south work well.
  • For my winter lettuces, I plant them in a raised bed with hoops so I can cover them by using a variety of fabric row covers with different weights depending on the nighttime temps.
  • I use Agribon 19, which allows 85 percent transmittance. If I need extra temperature protection, I double it over.
  • I don’t cover, as by doing so I have a bigger problem with summer insects wintering over.
  • I have bent pieces of rebar over my beds. They are spaced about 4 feet apart from each other. I cover this with Reemay and weigh it down with rocks, which I leave nearby. This probably only needs to be used in 29-degree weather and lower.
  • The only “protection” I use is nice, aged horse manure. As it breaks down over winter, it keeps the soil from freezing and heaving, and provides early nutrition in the spring.
  • Straw sprinkled on the crops. It is easy to remove, allows ventilation, keeps snow raised off plants, and can be rearmed if another frost or snow is predicted. At the end of the season, it is ready to be turned under with the chicken manure.
  • Use a light frost cloth if it’s going to get seriously below freezing, but this is not necessary most years.
  • Row cover is usually all we need for our winter vegetables.
  • Rice straw is best or hay for outdoor beds to prevent excessive evaporation. Frost-sensitive plants I grow in the greenhouse most of the year.
  • I have a portable plastic greenhouse that covers the beds that I use when there are freeze warnings.
  • We don’t need them where we live.
  • Last year, I had hoops and plastic prepared, but it was really too warm to use them. (Every year is different.)
  • I currently have a raised bed cold frame with a plastic tubing frame that I cover with plastic sheeting. It is OK, but access is a pain. I am building a cover with hinged access. When the night temperature dips below about 15 degrees, I cover the plastic with a couple of old blankets.
  • I use cold frames with brick sides for the radiant heat.
  • I rarely use a cover. To save spinach, I sometimes use hay/ straw. I plant things that benefit from frost. I live in northeast Georgia, and our winters have been erratic the past few years. Even the veterans are baffled. I have used blankets for ice storms.
  • If needed, I use shredded leaves or burlap cages.
  • I dig 2 feet down in the garden, and then add 3 inches of chicken poo, 3 inches of horse poo, two inches of goat poo, and 6 inches of soil on top. I put black 1-gallon pots in a row around the bed, and set old windows on top of them. I have started seeds in January this way.
  • I cover the lemon verbena and the tarragon with burlap. That way the plants can breathe, but they’re safe against frost. Same for greens.
  • Raked up leaves around plants and then a thin film of plastic on top. I use bamboo stems to keep plastic off of the plants. I only do this if the temp is going down to 20 to 22 degrees. This is just for lettuce. My other greens have survived 6 to 10 inches of snow.
  • At most, I use a light covering of leaves or partly composted wood chips in the week of January when we have real winter temperatures.
  • The only coverings I’ve ever used are leaves, because they are free and most people don’t spray their trees with chemicals. So we glean the big bags of leaves that my nincompoop neighbors are throwing out in fall. We have a huge compost pile, but might use some of the leaves in the garden to cover things, but only if the weather is going to be severe — like a freak ice storm or lots of snow. Otherwise, all the crops we put in are fine through the winter.
  • We have only used mulch to keep the ground warm enough for the garden, using whatever materials are at hand: straw, leaves, etc. The young collard seedlings were able to winter through in an uncovered cold frame.
  • If it is freezing or below, I cover my crops with hay.
  • I use rebar on either side of the rows with old shower curtains or other transparent plastic over top. For carrots, I use Johnny’s row cover for germination.

What other winter growing techniques work best for you to get the biggest, healthiest harvests?

  • Cut greens instead of pulling the plant up. We get many cuttings in the fall and winter.
  • Lots of compost to soften soil and mycorrhizae to make roots stronger. I did a test to see how much the mycorrhizae worked. The plants that didn’t get inoculated with it were much smaller.
  • Use lots of well-composted manure when prepping your bed.
  • Broccoli is my favorite plant to grow in winter around here. I planted mine in September, and harvested it up until March of this year. I also had onions in my winter garden.
  • depends on seasonal temps- covering helps from too much frost
  • Covering winter crops protects them from wind, cold, and, especially in the Pacific Northwest, excess dampness. Excess water is the real enemy in the Puget Sound area.
  • I use Christmas lights in the hoop house if I need additional heat to keep plants from freezing. It works like a charm!
  • I plant fall tomatoes if we are having a moderate winter. I had tomatoes until mid-February in 2012. I covered them when I needed to.
  • Try deep watering before freezes, and cover the crops for extreme evenings.
  • I only plant food crops in raised beds and containers during the colder months. The crops are much easier to cover and I can move the smaller containers into a part of my yard that receives the most winter sun (such as it is in Seattle).
  • We continue to sow seed all winter long. In Texas, except for the panhandle, most winter crops will still germinate in December and January. My growing season actually goes from the end of the heat, in early September, until the beginning of the heat in early July.
  • The south side of your house is a great place to plant as much as you can. It can mean a difference of 10 degrees. In Texas, winter gardening is the best time to garden; there’s more rain and fewer pests. The covering often only needs to be done if the temperatures are going to stay below freezing for a number of hours.
  • Keep using your greens. They grow all winter here if you keep harvesting them.
  • I am realizing that I can sow more generously than I used to. My chickens can always eat any over-abundance. I keep my collards and such in the garden past their prime, overwintering them and letting them bloom; the florets are a lot like broccoli rabe, and I love them. If I miss the floret stage, the immature seed pods are great in stir-fries. (The yellow flowers are pretty, too!) I don’t pull them up until some of my spring plantings are starting to yield (peas, lettuce, radishes).
  • We grow a variety of micro-greens on our south-facing, enclosed front porch from saved and purchased seeds. We sprout alfalfa, lentils, wheat berries and others.
  • A second application of compost should be added in fall for winter growing.
  • I choose varieties developed for my region.
  • Harvest diligently, experiment and don’t take it too seriously. After all, it should be fun. Live and learn. Stick with what works. Pay attention to weather forecasts and especially local lore. For example, sayings like “we’re having a blackberry winter.” Spring crops often bolt here as it gets hot quickly sometimes, so fall planting and winter growing are very important. Sow at intervals to increase your chances.
  • We plant most of our winter crops near a south-facing brick wall. This provides some radiant heat during the winter, and protects against cold winds and somewhat against frost.
  • Depends on the weather. Our last two winters have been mild. Three years ago, everything except collards and kale died. A number of things such as mustard, radishes, and broccoli do well into December, and then winter-kill. I have greens all winter and into May or June from collards, kale and turnips.
  • Mulching is one key, but keep watching for slugs. They love living in mulch, no matter the season.
  • Be sure to water when the day is warm enough. It is rarely below freezing all day long in my Zone.
  • Remembering to water during dry spells is paramount as the moisture will help insulate the plants and their roots from temperature extremes.
  • Find and know your micro-climates. You may have to put your winter garden in a place separate from your summer garden, to get maximum results.
  • Make sure to regularly harvest to reduce stress on plants.
  • Containers are great for starting things in the shade in the late summer, and moving them to full sun in the fall/winter.
  • When I was zone 4, I was used to planting on Memorial Day and harvesting the last of it around Labor Day, but I have found that because it is so hot and humid in my current Zone 8a, my winter garden is much more productive than the rest of the year. It required a shift in my thinking and planning. My compost is started in fall with the neighborhood leaves and is ready by the next fall to put on the garden. Planning is the key. We are urban and have eight chickens in the backyard, so their manure goes in with the leaves, yielding dark, lovely, rich soil.

What are your best tips for getting the timing right when planning and planting a winter garden?

  • Here in Texas we have to wait for it to cool down, which can start in late October or early November, before attempting to plant anything. Otherwise, it’s too hot.
  • Start seeds sets both for an early and later planting. Plant lettuce in several different plantings through November and starting again in late February.
  • Make multiple sowings a week apart.
  • Down here, just wait for the worst of the 90 to 100 degree temps to end. I have planted as late as November with great results. The winter is my best growing season. Summer here is hot and brutal on most plants.
  • We have a long, warm fall, so planting through November is not a problem.
  • I go by the Farmers’ Almanac.
  • My local extension suggested August plantings for many crops like carrots, lettuce and beets that turned out to be too early. The soil was still so hot the seeds would not germinate well, so I did better waiting until September. If the winter is mild, just about any winter crop will grow well, but there have been a few unusually cold winters where I live. I find I have to watch the weather forecast carefully for more delicate crops.
  • Let things reseed themselves and they will grow and do much better than you trying to do it.
  • I plant in Grow Boxes, which can be moved to a more protected area for winter. Just moving my summer crop of chard into the greenhouse extends the season very well.
  • I go by the Florida Vegetable Gardeners Guide. Your list of planting dates leaves out several good months for Florida gardeners. Between January and June many vegetables can be planted.
  • Greens and other vegetables need to be nearly mature when the weather starts turning cold, so count backwards from your first frost date to know when to sow seed in your area. Grow enough for the entire winter, because most crops don’t start growing again until the temperatures start warming up in the early spring, and then they bolt fairly quickly as temperatures rise.
  • Wait until it’s cool to plant everything, except for tomatoes. For those, plants need to be in the ground by late August.
  • Since most of what I “grow” during the winter months are cover crops to enrich my soils, the main challenge is to be able to complete harvesting of food crops with enough time to plant the cover crop seeds and have them germinate and start to grow before the temperatures drop too low. So I tend to plant crops that need a short growing season and I don’t plant warm-weather crops after mid-July.
  • I target the first frost date as the plants-are-at-three-quarter maturity date. So, for a 90-day crop like mustard greens, I’ll plant the seeds 10 weeks prior. Most winter crops store better in the garden than they do in the fridge.
  • I get my seedlings started in plugs or pots in half-day shade or in a sunny room in my house. I put them out when the temperatures have dropped at least 5 degrees. Texas has long HOT summers. Our summer is our winter as far as intensity goes.
  • Winter is our spring here in southern Texas.
  • Watch the frost dates, and watch the night temps. It it’s too hot here at night, nothing works regardless of when the first frost date is.
  • I usually follow package directions for best timing, and grow most of my greens in the greenhouse. Root vegetables and squash I grow in garden beds in full sun, starting in late spring or early autumn.
  • Always use locally adapted seeds or transplants.
  • Check with your local county agricultural extension agency, state-specific gardening magazines or websites, or a national seed purveyor with a planting calendar by growing Zone on their website.
  • Early fall planting works best for me. The bug population is dropping, but the days are still warm enough for the plants to get a good start.
  • Using starts, but I'm trying seed this year
  • Use inter-planting techniques. I plant my winter crop in the fall around whatever is left of my summer plantings.
  • Micro-climates exist all over the Northwest where I farm. You might have them, too, so beware of applicability of weather reports and frost dates, and keep your own data. Invest in frost cloth, soil warming/weed cloth, read/research online, and look to reliable supply houses such as Johnny’s for special varieties and techniques.
  • Keep a journal of when things go in the ground each year, and when and how much they produce.
  • One year something will do really well, and then the next season it won’t. We are in between the mountains and the foot hills. We’re at about 1,500 to 1,700 feet, so winter gardening conditions are never the same.
  • Get plants in so they mature before the heat sets in. It’s a small window for planting most cool-weather crops.
  • Pay attention to what is selling in nurseries in your area.
  • I look at the NOAA long-term forecast for precipitation and temperature.
  • Check the Farmers’ Almanac. It’s surprisingly accurate for trends when whether will cool off (so lettuces will germinate and not bolt too quickly) as well as frost dates for harvest.
  • I moved from zone 4b to 8a and had to get used to planting fall crops in very warm weather that still feels like summer. It is still blazing hot here in September when I need to plan for fall and winter growing. I do companion planting and succession sowing, so I have to keep putting in seeds every couple of weeks.
  • We are an urban garden. Our challenge is getting our soil thoroughly prepared for the root vegetables. We garden all year and our winter greens thrive, as long as they are mulched against winter gusts.
  • Consult the Texas Gardening Fall Planting Guide.

Summary:  Compost, mulch, dream & plan.

Finally (Thanks, Sanderson!  Great web link!), according to www.gardenate.com, we can be planting all sorts of stuff.  Because we cover zones 7 & 8 AND there are separations in the individual zones, take a look for yourself to see what you can get in the ground this month!

Remember - Your January can be as successful as you want it to be!  Not just in gardening, but in life.


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Post  yolos 1/1/2015, 9:39 am

Wow, that was a lot of useful information. 

Next year I plan to start my fall vegetables earlier than I did this year.  This last fall it was too hot to start them early.  Next year I am going to invest in some shade cloth so I can start them earlier.  I still have Broccoli with small heads, brussel sprouts, kale, peas, and carrots growing (I just picked the radishes yesterday). Everything is growing so slow.  Partly because of the temps and partly because the garden does not get the proper amount of sun in the winter because of the angle of the sun and the woods behind the garden blocking out the sun for a large portion of the day.

I also planted garlic and shallots in early Nov which are about 6 - 10 inches tall.  Do I need to cover them if we get extreme temps.  So far I have only mulched with straw but have not used any row covers.

My test beds of cover crops (annual rye and winter peas) are healthy but growing very slowly also.

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Post  AtlantaMarie 1/1/2015, 3:06 pm

Amazing what you can find when just doing a general Google search, lol... Wink

Probly more info than anyone needs, but... who knows?  I may need it myself.

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Post  tagyourit 1/6/2015, 3:33 pm

We are cleaning out the beds and picking out seeds this month.    Really, this cold front is killing me.   I can't wait for it to warm up and turn into spring so we can start planting this years garden!

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Post  Windmere 1/6/2015, 4:19 pm

Wow Marie!  That was great!  Thanks for compiling all that.

Just to add my 2 cents:  You mentioned getting a hold of local Extension publications.  For those interested in UGA publications link, you can find them here:


This info probably overlaps with your post, but I just thought I'd add to it.  In addition to vegetable info, I found an interesting article about spring bulbs that I enjoyed reading.

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Mid-South:  January 2015 Empty Your avatar is hilarious

Post  Windmere 1/6/2015, 10:06 pm


I was looking over some other posts and I happened to squint at your icon about working out.  When I realized what the picture showed... I laughed so hard I got a small asthma attack.  That's hilarious!!!

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Post  AtlantaMarie 1/7/2015, 6:37 am

Oh, Honey, I'm sorry!  Didn't mean to do that to you!

Just a little humor to brighten folks days... Razz

And thanks for adding.  I always value input from other folks!

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