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When do we start with the fall garden?

SaintPFLA
12 years ago

My garden was a total bust this year -- beginning in October '09. Worst year ever.

My 'Florida summer' crops didn't fare much better. Even cowpeas can only put up with so much torture. I had one edible tomato and it 'split' on the vine. Plus, the entire plant has wilt and whitefly disease. This was my 7th attempt this year and grew all from seed.

I have watermelons on the vine but are not getting 'bigger'. They have stayed about the size of a softball for weeks. I wonder if I should just pick them and be done with it?

So...onto the next season. Is it time to start seedlings for fall or too early?

Who's doing what right now for fall prep?

Comments (54)

  • SaintPFLA
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    I've been really busy the past few weeks with non-gardening things so have not been out on GW at all (not like me...). I hope everyone is doing great!

    The one thing that is thriving are my jalapenos....which are too hot for me to really enjoy. I like to grow them...eating...well, not so much. ;-)

    So, I should plan to start this weekend: tomatoes (again), peppers, cukes, squash, peas, bush-beans?

    Tom: my okra did pretty well in your fancy bucket system.I think I will need to plant more next time. I did get enough for a pot of gumbo - which was the main reason I planted it.

    Part of my challenge is the precarious line of over/under planting. I seem to usually "under" plant hence the handfull of peas I end up with for my harvest.

    Silvia: that Agua Fresca is great! It reminds me of my business travel days...the hotels I stayed at had that in the lobby for guests at the check in area. ;)

    I did grow the watermelons in a container with a trellis. So, perhaps that's why they are smaller? I grew Sugar Baby water melon.

    This was just a very bad garden year for me. But, it does happen sometimes.

  • sharbear50
    12 years ago

    I put all my seeds in the ground yesterday and watered them; Roma tomatoes, Beef steaks, two kinds of pole beans, carrots, radishes, peppers, onions, and sugar snap peas. I will plant the kohlrabi, lettuce, arugula, and broccoli later when it cools off some. Strawberries and Peppers from last fall are struggling but will hopefully make it to a fall harvest.

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  • SaintPFLA
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Isn't it still too hot for radishes lettuce? Or, do you have a special kind that does well in the heat?

  • sharbear50
    12 years ago

    I planted the radishes in a shady spot. I have tons of seeds so if they croak I will just replant them. The lettuce, and other stuff I listed separately will be planted later when it is cooler.

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    SPF - it's still too hot and humid here close to the water to do anything now. If you want to start pepper and tomato from seed start them now for a six week set in the garden mid-September. Too soon for the cukes, cucurbits and beans here too. I start the cukes and cucurbits in 16 oz solos cups 9/1 in the shade for a set date 9/15. I direct sow the bean seed 9/15....Anything sooner for us and the heat and bugs will get them. I think central Pinellas can start sooner by a couple of weeks but if you're close to the water like we are it's got to cool down some at night or you're just providing salad to the bugfest :-(

    I just posted a picture on Sylvia's thread of the non-Bell sweet peppers I've carried over from the spring/summer. If you want some plants call me, they're producing now but getting sunscald, even with only morning sun, so you'll need to put them under your citrus tree or somewhere with filtered shade all day long.

    Tom

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    And, you're right about radishes and lettuce for us here, we can't start those until around October 1st, I'm sure Zone 9ers can start a month earlier. I have tons of various leaf lettuce seeds and still have about 5000 icicle radish seeds left so don't buy anything, just come over for a visit ;-)

    Tom

  • sharbear50
    12 years ago

    Did you guys miss my second sentence?
    I will plant the kohlrabi, lettuce, arugula, and broccoli later when it cools off some. Just wondering...

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    Nope. I was addressing SPF because I know where she lives and I know her climatic micro-environment.

    I hate to say this Sherri but I concerned you're too early for carrots, radishes, onions and sugar snaps...hope I'm wrong though. Perhaps your night temps are closer to Okeechobee night temps and you'll be okay....

    Tom

  • sharbear50
    12 years ago

    Thanks Tom, last year I waited a little longer and the freeze got my tomatoes while they were green, I picked most of them green before the freeze so that's why I am trying earlier this year. If they croak, I will just put in more seeds. I have plenty. :o)

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    You're probably okay with maters and the other warm season crops. My father-in-law is in Okeechobee and he can start these crops a month to six weeks earlier than I can, much cooler there at night than we are...it's the cool season crops I think you might be starting too early. I can't start them until mid-October at the earliest so I'd guess mid-September would be you're start date for them, except for any that you're going to start from seed in containers inside and plan to set when it cools down, like broccoli.

  • SaintPFLA
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for the confirmation! As you know, this year has not been a good one for my garden! I just ripped out everthing yesterday and am preparing for the fall plantings.

    You were right about the watermelons. While they were small, they were ripe. But, rather flavorless and too many seeds. I may try it again for the fall garden. Or, not. Some things are fun to grow in concept....

    How is your Queens Wreath doing? I am at that point again where I 'hate' my SkyVine due to the summer maintenace it requires to curtail it. Honestly, you would think we didn't have a freeze this year the way it has recovered! I swear, it grows a foot per every inch of rain we receive.
    I'm not sure I want to spend my life cutting it back no matter how gorgeous the flowers are...

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    Hey Kid,

    The Queens Wreath is doing well and grows no where near as aggressively as Skyvine or Morning Glories. Two thumbs up, I really think you'd like it. I'd say the same thing about the Solanum wendlandii, it's a slow grower with nice small flowers on it year around, and I think Cheryl doesn't live too far from you. Alternatively, I have this one in a 3.5 gallon bucket and don't know where I'm going to put it because I'll need the bunker it's in mid-September for tomatoes. Why don't you come get it, we'll cut the top off and root it for Lori and I 'll get a piece from you in the spring.

    Skyvine on the left, SW in the middle, QW on the right

    SW

    QW

    I think Silvia's right about the watermelons, they just don't do well in containers. BR has a post above about growing them in the fall and we can do that here and it seems to me we would do better in the fall due to less PM/DM and pest problems...I'd try it again, sowing seed in the ground mid-September.

    Tom

  • whgille
    12 years ago

    Tom

    Those vines are looking good! I am also very satisfied with my queens wreath, it does look good where I put it.

    You and Saintpfla should give a try the Galia melons, they did well for me in containers and it is a good tasting variety, it is recommended by the veggie guru also.

    Silvia

  • leelee_2008
    12 years ago

    Hi everyone!
    I just started my seeds today to hopefully transplant into the garden and final containers mid to late september. I only did 2 of each variety, if both make it, one will go to my neighbor or s-i-l.
    here's what I started today:
    Tomatoes: Dr Carolyn, Goji, Early Girl, Black Cherry,
    Totem, Mortgage Lifter and Goosecreek.
    Other veggies: Black Beauty Eggplant, Baby Bubba Okra, Squash Delicata, Spacemaster Cuke, Cubanelle, Jalapeno and Sweet Banana peppers.

    I'm hoping to carry over into the fall season my green bell pepper, marble peppers and cayenne pepper plants.

    I think it might still be too hot to plant carrots, lettuce and radishes so I'll wait till September and sow them directly in the garden.

    Hope you all enjoyed your day and were all able to enjoy your garden today.

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    LL - you'll be happy with the Spacemaster cukes if you're short on space but I fear you're really early planting cucurbits now if you are Zone 10.

    You and Saintpfla should give a try the Galia melons

    I still have some seeds of both left Silvia, can you believe I've passed them out to everyone else and never tried them :-) :-( Which did you like better, Girlie or Gala?

    Tom

  • whgille
    12 years ago

    Tom - the veggie guru has a farm in Georgia I think, he is a very experienced farmer, and has planted I believe most melons, I saw his website and he has pictures of all the melons grown and he rated Galia one the best!

    And after I grew them I agree with him, I only grown Galia, I forgot that I had the Girlie,lol. It is a very good tasting melon with a honeydew flavor that you like, it gets better after it gets cool in the fridge.

    Silvia

  • loufloralcityz9
    12 years ago

    Tom,

    I agree with Silvia about the Galia melons growing well in pots. I just finished planting my pots today with them. They are a great tasting melon. I love them cut up in chunks (chilled) and eaten with Havarti cheese slices as an anytime snack.

    On the rice question you had about salt tolerance, most rice has some salt tolerance. The best way to tell is give them a try in your pond margins. There are a few good salt tolerant varieties but I have no clue where to find them as they are mostly available to large growers.

    Lou

  • carolynbinder
    12 years ago

    Hi gardening peeps!

    Ya'll are way too anxious for me. I just posted a blog about preparing your fall garden at http://www.cowlickcottagefarm.com. I am in zone 8 in north Florida and am just feeding my soil in preparation of my fall garden. It is way too hot here to plant fall crops, but we are getting ready. Fall is one of the best times to garden in Florida, but we aren't there yet! Relax, and enjoy planning your fall garden. Don't sweat it quite yet!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Cowlick Cottage Farm

  • saldut
    12 years ago

    Cowlick Cottage Farm is a dream come true ! really awe-inspiring, and such a nice thing to know that there are folks who still value a 'country' life... I enjoyed my 'tour', and please keep us informed and up-to-date on the goings-on........thanx, sally

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    Cool, guess I'm going to have to find some room for the Galia's, and perhaps some rice too :-)

  • sulwyn
    12 years ago

    Hey I just started a garden and I'm not sure what to plant. Where do you guys get your seeds?

  • carolynbinder
    12 years ago

    Hi Sulwyn:

    There are lots of great places to get seeds! I have had great luck with Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. They have a great web site, and their catalog is gorgeous--it's like a toy catalog for gardeners! Renee's Garden also has high quality seeds and an informative site. Good luck with your garden.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Cowlick Cottage Farm

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    Lots of great places in addition to Baker Creek and Renees, in no particular order; Pinetree, Sandhill, Burpee, Jung, Totally Tomatoes, Shumways, Tomato Growers, 2bseeds, Park, Territorial, Victory, Evergreen, Kitazawa....I'm sure I forgot a few but somebody will come along and name a few more ;-)

    Welcome to our group!

    Tom

  • jwahlton
    12 years ago

    Well in my other post I was told it's too late for me to start my tomato seeds. Dang it! But what about others like broccoli, squash, etc?

  • sulwyn
    12 years ago

    I live north of Tampa and was wondering what vegetables are good to start around this time? Is there a planting calendar you guys use?

  • carolynbinder
    12 years ago

    The book, Down to Earth Gardening Down South, is quite helpful in deciding what vegetables to plant when. It has become one of my favorite references. I am really looking forward to planting for the fall.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Cowlick Cottage Farm

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    Well in my other post I was told it's too late for me to start my tomato seeds. Dang it! But what about others like broccoli, squash, etc?

    Sow your cucurbit seeds now, you'll be okay. Same with broccoli but you may want to start it in starter cups and then set in a month or so.

    I hope you don't have to go to the Big Box because they are all expensive, even Wally World, but if you do additional small maters to try that I've seen available are Husky Cherry Red and Sweet Chelsea, both regulars every year in my garden.


    I live north of Tampa and was wondering what vegetables are good to start around this time?

    Table 3 of the UF planting guide is a good place to start until you get to know your micro-climate.

    Tom

  • SaintPFLA
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    I am going to start my seedlings this weekend...tomatoes, some herbs, cukes and beans.

    Aaah....I love the optimism of new plantings! ;-)

  • sulwyn
    12 years ago

    Tom, if you don't go to the big box stores then where do you get your stuff? The only nursery I know sells only fruit trees.

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    I start from seed and buy from several sources, but like everyone else an occasional September hurricane will get my fall babies, and I lost all my spring seedlings last year to frost, something I've never experienced here. So, when this happens to me I buy seedlings from Willow Tree nursery on 49th St. in St. Pete for $1.19 a four-pack, many independent nurseries in this area sell the starter four-packs for under $1.49, I just stated "under $2.50" to not be misleading. If you have to go to the Big Box you'll pay more like $3.50 per plant, which is ridiculous compared to 30 cents each....

    Tom

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    I am going to start my seedlings this weekend...tomatoes, some herbs, cukes and beans.

    SPF, too early for the cukes and beans here, maybe central Pinellas can start now but we can't. I know it's hard to wait but you're three to five weeks early, you'll lose them to bugs, mildew and rust....Start you tomato and pepper seed now with plans for a mid-September set date.

    Tom

  • dunedingal
    12 years ago

    Tom,
    I am two miles from the gulf (Dunedin) and was wondering if you thought I was Central Pinellas and could start beans and cukes (now that you brought it up, lol) This zone stuff has me confused, I always thought I was zone 9. The UF chart has me listed as 9, north of Route 70 which is Brandon. But you're 10? BTW, love Willow Tree but don't get down there often enough.:)
    Thanks for any clarification.
    Sylvie

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    Gosh Sylvie, I don't know. I'll bet you do get frost so that would put you at least a couple of weeks ahead of us here in south coastal Pinellas, hopefully someone in your area will chime in with their experiences....

    I'm Zone 10, from experience. I posed this question several years ago to Pam Brown at the PC Extension office and she stated that other than the extreme northeast section, all of Pinellas is Zone 10 due to being surrounded by water. I'm not sure I completely agree with that, I think the coastal ridge is considerably cooler at night (5 degrees), although now that everything is concrete and asphalt I could easily be wrong....

    Tom

  • dunedingal
    12 years ago

    I went researching on the internet and came across this article:
    http://www.garden.bsewall.com/topics/hardiness/maps.htm
    It states I am a zone 10 due to climate change, but that isn't necessarily true due to the extremely cold weather we experienced in January. We had frost and freezing temps for over a week. My neighbors lost crotons and plumerias and I had some plants die to the ground, but rebounded. So I think that I will play it safe and continue to plant according to zone 9. Thanks for the help!!!

  • loufloralcityz9
    12 years ago

    With all this crazy weather this year it looks like I'm in zone 8 in the winter time and zone 10 in the summer time with a few hours of zone 9 in spring & fall. The dang zone moves around faster than I can carry all my pots and push my earthboxes around. Maybe I should just dig a big cave type hole and only plant mushrooms. At least it would be cooler working underground.

    Lou

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    ...I'm in zone 8 in the winter time and zone 10 in the summer time with a few hours of zone 9 in spring & fall....

    Too funny Lou, lets just move inside where we can heat and cool as desired. If the pot growers can do it we can too, all it takes is money, something we'd never make trying to sell our veggies :-) :-(

    Tom

  • loufloralcityz9
    12 years ago

    Good idea Tom, maybe I could buy a repo-doublewide MFG home, set it on the property, hollow it out and grow hydroponics in the cool of the A/C inside. Put some solar on the roof to run the grow lights. I figure 75 grand total investment to grow the perfect tomato.... sounds like a good deal to me or maybe I should just buy those hot house tasteless hydroponic tomatoes at Publix.

    Lou

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    I bought some seed varieties for those exotic table top indeterminates that can supposedly be grown indoors, then I realized how ridiculously I was bitten by the bug and I have not done anything with them since...I sure do hate cardboard tasting tomatoes though.

    Tom

  • sharbear50
    12 years ago

    Tomncath, "If the pot growers can do it we can too"
    Too funny! Any luck trying to grow veggies inside? I've never tried that...I don't have any plants "inside". :o)

  • saldut
    12 years ago

    How abt. the little greenhouse thingy ? doesn't have to be pricey if you make it yourself and use second-hand windows,or get some of the clear-plastic from HD..... I'm still nagging my son, he has started tearing down those gazebos and tool-sheds I had in the back-yard, and he's saving all the good lumber for me... I figure there's enough there to frame a greenhouse and there are a couple old windows around for the walls, it just might work especially if we get another January like we already had..... sally

  • carolynbinder
    12 years ago

    My naivete is showing, when I read tomncath's comment about the potgrowers, I actually thought s/he meant people that grow veggies in pots! LOL!

    I am thinking about a little greenhouse for this winter, or maybe just adding hoops made from cattle fence over my 4 x 8 raised beds. These can be covered with heavy plastic or freeze cloth during the winter and then shade cloth during the summer. They can also be used to grow vining crops. I'll post pictures on our site if we get to this project. Has anyone else tried this?

    Here is a link that might be useful: Cowlick Cottage Farm

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    Has anyone else tried this?

    Sure, pictures have even been posted on this forum, look toward the bottom of this post.

    Tom

  • sharbear50
    12 years ago

    tomncath, I really like the cattle panel/shade cloth idea from that post. Wish I could put that across my whole back yard! lol I guess you all are right, too hot now for some of what I seeded. Oh well, the peppers, basil, zinnias, marigolds, sage, strawberries, sunflowers and oregano are still plugging along. Patiently waiting for something that resembles "cool" weather. :o)

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    ...too hot now for some of what I seeded....

    Too hot, period! I have NO interest in doing ANYTHING outside with the exception of being in the pool :-) :-(

    Tom

  • sharbear50
    12 years ago

    Tom, you are right about the too hot to do anything outside. We,for the first time, hired a lawn care co to cut our grass and do the trimming. I told my DH we ought to just sell the riding mower and continue to let someone else do it. :-)

  • tomncath
    12 years ago

    I thought it was outrageous that I was paying the yardman $80 a month to cut the grass when it only takes 20 minutes to do it, so I bought a mower a few years back and did it myself. That's when I discovered it takes 20 minutes to mow and 50 minutes to weedwack and edge...for $18 bucks an hour there no way I'd ever go back to doing it myself, especially in this heat!

  • carolynbinder
    12 years ago

    It's Labor Day weekend! It is slightly cooler and drier here, and the promise of fall is in the air. I can feel my energy returning, and I will begin planting this weekend. We are already craving lettuce, collards and kale. Have a happy and productive weekend, everyone!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Cowlick Cottage Farm

  • sharbear50
    12 years ago

    I'm with Tom, we recently hired someone to do it for us...it's is well worth the $75 a month for our little 1/3 acre. It's the weed eating that will kill you in this heat!

  • sharbear50
    12 years ago

    Carolynbinder, where are you...that it is cooler? Still hot as heck here! Darn hurricanes sucked up all the moisture, so no rain in sight. All my plants, veggies and ornamentals are suffering...still...and I was enjoying the cloudy/rainy days last week.

  • carolynbinder
    12 years ago

    Sharbear - We are just outside of Tallahassee, so north of you. It's still hot, but more bearable. I ended up not seeding this weekend--think I will wait just a bit longer. But we did clean out all our beds and harvest lots of gorgeous sweet potatoes (about 40 pounds from one 4 X 8 bed!), eggplants, peppers and one final watermelon. I can't wait to get my fall garden started, though!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Cowlick Cottage Farm