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Low temperatures, can I plant yet? Toplef10Low temperatures, can I plant yet? 1zd3ho10

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Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
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Low temperatures, can I plant yet?

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camprn
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Post  seb 3/24/2010, 5:43 pm

Hi all,

I have kept a digital thermometer out in my covered box and checked the temperature around 7:30 AM for the last few days. Yesterday morning it registered 27 degrees Fahrenheit, this morning it was 21! I was planning to plant some peas, lettuce, spinach, and radishes this afternoon. It's supposed to be warming, but thes low temperatures were quite a bit lower than what was forecast for my area. Am I too early? Should I wait? This is only my second year gardening, and last year I planted only warm weather stuff, so I'm just looking for some advice.

Thanks,
Steve
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Post  SusanG 3/29/2010, 12:05 am

I was hoping someone would answer your questions as I too have been wondering. Last week I went to J&L in Bountiful to get more compost. I ask the clerk the same question, and she said she planted peas, spinach, radishes, etc., a couple of weeks ago. Then I was at J&J in Layton, and met some people who planted about two weeks ago too. So I decided to give it a try.

I planted sugar snap peas, spinach, two varities of lettuce, three varities of radishes, and two varities of cabbage from seed on the 25th. Then on the 27th, I put out plants from J&J (cabbage and brussel sprouts), and I planted one box in strawberries. Everyone has told me to forget the brussel sprouts as the bugs will get them, but I like to learn the hard way. Oh, the clerk at J&L told me to plant my root crops now too. I will do that this week.

I don't know how cold it got last night (Saturday), but there was frost on my car windows. I was afraid to go out and take a look, but when I did, the plants looked fine. I did have the plants outside under my covered patio for about a week before I planted so maybe that helped them adjust.
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Post  seb 3/29/2010, 9:00 am

That's good to hear, Susan, thanks for the info. I ended up waiting a week because it took me longer to get my boxes finished up than I had anticipated. So last Saturday (the 27th) we planted 2 different lettuce mixes, spinach, butter lettuce, peas, swiss chard, and an easter egg blend of radishes. That evening was supposed to get down to about 32, which in my experience would mean it would get colder in my little microclimate, so, being paranoid, I put a 5 gallon bucket full of water under my box cover to hopefully give off a little heat during the night. The next morning I went to check the temperature around 8:00 and it read 32.5, so I think it might have helped a little. Anyway, I am excited to start seeing some stuff sprouting. I plan to buy some strawberries, broccoli, and cauliflower starts this week and plant them. I also have some onion sets that I will plant sometime this week.

Steve
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Post  Kabaju42 3/29/2010, 11:18 pm

I'm not far from you and I planted peas, romaine lettuce, broccoli, red onion, spinach, and leeks last Saturday. The red onions are actually survivors that I tried to get rid of last year so I know they can handle the cold. The leeks I'm a little worried about, but the others on the forums assure me that they'll be fine. As for all of the rest that I planted, as far as I can tell they won't just survive the cold, they actually prefer it. So I'm sure you'll be fine.
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Post  SirTravers 3/29/2010, 11:25 pm

20 degree temps I'd be concerned about, but 30's I say go for it. Once our lows hit the 30's here our highs start creeping into the 60's and 70's during the day. Not too sure if it's like that up your way, but a good row cover at night does wonders.
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Post  Kabaju42 3/29/2010, 11:31 pm

Looks like we're expecting a low of 29 this Friday, think we should cover the garden with plastic or something like that for the night?
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Post  SirTravers 3/30/2010, 12:18 am

Plastic can aggravate the issue as it catches condensation on the inside. A light row cloth/frost cloth will work. try to keep it from touching the plants...you want to keep a small bubble of slightly warmer air on the inside. That's the goal.
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Post  SusanG 3/30/2010, 5:33 pm

Forgot to mention that the clerk at J&L said not to worry about the temp unless we get down to 19 or 20 degrees.
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Post  TheVeggieO's 2/26/2011, 1:48 am

Hi all,
I'm new to the forum...but live in the foothills...quite a microclimate here and we are as well in a dip or holler here. I am planning (as soon as it quits snowing!) to put some hoop arches over my raised garden bed (this could be done with smaller beds as well) made from black vinyl hose. My idea to cover them is to use the white liner I got from the mattress factory. It is a white light material that is used for a dust cover. I'll keep you all posted as to how it goes. I'm hoping to retain a bit of heat during the nights!
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 2/26/2011, 12:34 pm

Hoops and/or plastic to warm your soil is a must if you plan to get an early start. What is the frost date for your area? Better yet, do you know the "freeze date?" The plastic may help a couple of weeks on either side of those dates, but it won't likely save you from temps in the low 20's....that's just a little too cold still to expect growth.

However, there's nothing wrong with planting seeds in temps like this.....it will just take forever to germinate.....without warming help from you. All the peas, lettuce, spinach, and other cooler loving crops will come up in their own time, but you could likely have planted seeds in December and still seen something this spring. After all, Mother Nature makes seeds survive cold naturally.

All that said, it would be one heckuva experiment to see how cold you can tempt fate. And, I, for one, would be extremely interested in watching others push that envelope. Good luck with whatever you decide. I just thought I'd toss my two pennies into the fountain.
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Post  TheVeggieO's 2/26/2011, 2:50 pm

Thanks for your reply!
Freeze date? Wow, because we are here in the mountains, one can never tell! Each year is different since we have lived here (3) In the past I have watched the birds, and the natural plants growing to determine "spring." So far we are the only "brave souls" in the gardening arena...all others up here don't plant a thing here till "after Mother's Day" But last year we had lettuce, spinach, carrots, peas, strawberries, chard and onions, cabbage growing before then...oh and tomatoes and peppers under walls of water.
Something else to consider here are some lovely friends we have....These friends ate two planting of peas before I figured out they were helping themselves to what I had planted! Common Towhees love pea seeds! So, I am thinking covering my beds would have more than one function, keeping out the cold to a degree and our lovely bird friends!
I plan on getting it together...that is as soon as the snow melts. Ahhhhh, big sigh as I sit here looking out on the white winter wonderland dreaming of digging in the dirt!
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 2/26/2011, 3:20 pm

http://davesgarden.com/guides/freeze-frost-dates/index.php?q=63126&submit=Go

Here is a great link to help determine your frost and freeze dates with "some" confidence. I understand you have a bunch of microclimates with the elevation changes, and even which side of the hill you live on. But, this ought to get you close. And, if you don't think your answer makes sense because of microclimate, find another zip code close to you the mimics your area better.....as I've done. Google maps are great for that.
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Post  TheVeggieO's 2/26/2011, 7:25 pm

Wow..that is a cool site and thanks! I did put in our zip code....and not really sure I agree with it! I remember the first year we had a garden having my zuchinni freeze in the middle of May! But this will give me a good starting place. I check the weather daily and up here one can pretty much "feel" cold weather coming on!
I'm hopeful to have some things planted for testing in a week or so.....the snow is supposed to melt here in a few days! LOL
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Post  camprn 2/26/2011, 7:57 pm

once you figure out your last frost date this calculator may be helpful.
Johnny's seed starting calculator
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Post  TheVeggieO's 2/26/2011, 11:29 pm

Thanks, that will be helpful!
Nancy
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Post  herbarium 3/12/2011, 8:22 am

The Dave's garden link was accurate for my area. You can also check with your County Extension Office

I planted all my cool season crops yesterday - cabbage family from starts and everything else from seed. We got some rain last night to water it for me.
I expect them all to be just fine because they can handle some frost. Last year we had a colder, wetter Spring and my March 6 planted peas just waited for the right weather and they came up.

I planted four tomatoes last Saturday because it was such a nice day. On Monday we got a heavy snow but the tomatoes were in Wall O' Waters and are doing great!
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Post  kellis97 3/17/2011, 9:53 pm

I read a few of you in Utah have already planted. How is everything doing so far? I live in Utah county and would like to plant this weekend but I'm not sure if its still to cold or not. Also where did you get your mels mix from and how much did it cost?

Thanks!
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Post  herbarium 3/17/2011, 10:05 pm

I live in Davis County. You will most likely be fine planting cool season crops now. That includes most leafy stuff and root crops. Basil should not be planted until May.

I have been a SFGardener for years so I made my own mix. You may be able to find it at nurseries, garden centers, or big box stores. I know some are trying to get it in but I don't know if any of had success yet.
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Post  kellis97 3/18/2011, 4:12 pm

Thanks! I think we are going to try and get things in the ground tomorrow. We started our greens inside and they are coming up really well. We will put them in the ground and see how they do!
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Post  peanut0915 3/18/2011, 10:48 pm

Thanks to Beuna who answered my questions on a different thread, I planted my lettuces, carrots, peas, beets and green onions this morning. I got my Mel's Mix from the SFG warehouse in Ogden a week ago. It was $17 per bag.
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Post  Kabaju42 3/20/2011, 9:03 pm

I think I have the power to make it snow. Yesterday I planted Broccoli, cabbage and onion transplants a friend gave me. Then it snowed last night. Last year the same thing happened, I started planting and it started snowing. Since those are cold weather crops they did just fine in the snow, so I'm not too worried.
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Post  Lollypop9 3/24/2011, 1:04 pm

so am I too late to plant?! will others in UT share the dates on the calendar you are planning on planting what?

when other have said they have planted: lettuce, spinach, carrots, peas, strawberries, chard and onions, cabbage---is this from seed or starts? what do I NEED to get from starts at this point (hoping to have my box and pots ready by this weekend)- and what can I do from seeds?! --

people said a plastic covering isn't good for the cold--what do I do/make then? I can have my hubby make it tomorrow--what's the best most versatile thing?and what is the plastic covering FOR them if not the cold/frost?
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Post  herbarium 3/24/2011, 1:31 pm

Where in Utah are you?
It is not too late to plant. Everything I planted so far was from seed except for tomatoes which I protected with Wall O' Waters and cabbage and broccoli which should need no protection.
If you know your last average frost date you could use the chart in the back of All-New Square Foot Gardening to see what to plant when.

These sites might help you find the frost date for your area
http://www.almanac.com/gardening/planting-dates/UT/Lehi
http://extension.usu.edu/htm/faq/faq_q=153
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Post  Lollypop9 3/24/2011, 1:53 pm

im in lehi. oh thanks--i didn't get to the back of the book yet--maybe I should finish that.
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