Too Late for an AR Fall Garden?

JessicaARZ8(Arkansas 8A)September 7, 2011

Hey Y'all! I've been getting conflicting information by reading different sources today, so I figured I'd ask a few real, live experts for their best opinions.

I was planning on buying some seed to plant this weekend to begin my fall garden in Zone 8. Is this silly or worth a try? I was interested in pole beans, snap peas, lettuce, spinach, and carrots. It's usually November before we get any kind of light frost here in Arkansas, but I didn't know if I could get a good crop going before then.

Is it worth a try if you were me?

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DrHorticulture_(Z3 Central Saskatchewan)

I would say you're good to go for all except the pole beans. Your carrots might turn out a little undersized and you won't have a very long harvest period for the peas.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 5:48PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Bush beans are typically planted in the fall, but I think you're a little late. I plan on sowing mine tomorrow. You should be good to go with the spinach and lettuce.

Here is a link that might be useful: Arkansas Fall Planting Guide

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 7:07PM
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JessicaARZ8(Arkansas 8A)

I did end up changing my plan from pole beans to bush beans, seeing as how they take less time to grow. Thanks so much for your input. I'm hoping for success on the lettuce, carrots, and spinach, but I suppose I'll try the bush beans and peas, too, and see what happens. Maybe this prolonged summer will keep the ground warm a little longer?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 7:13PM
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twc015(7b/8a SE Arkansas)

I think you will be fine with lettuce, spinach, and carrots. I plan to sow carrots and lettuce this weekend. I just planted out transplants of broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage that I started from seed in early August.

If you have the space, you could also buy transplants of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and a few other fall crops. They are usually available for sale this time of year. I would try to get the early varieties this late (that is usually what they have), but I just planted some 90 day types; it is hit or miss with late types. Sometimes I get them in December, but other times it gets too cold too early and I won't get them until February. They really like October and November here. They don't die in winter, but they do slow to a crawl in December and January.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 8:53PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

You will be fine. I am planting my fall and winter garden now until October 10th. I am in Zone 5 in Kansas. Granted most all my stuff is in high tunnels, but you will be fine.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 11:20AM
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JessicaARZ8(Arkansas 8A)

Thanks very much for the vote of confidence, Jay. We tilled and added compost to our beds last night and will sow the first round of seeds this evening. I suppose the worst thing that could happen is nothing grows. Here's to trying!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 12:14PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Below is a link to this very discussion in another Forum. I included the fall garden planting schedule that farmerdill gave me here two or three years ago.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fall Planting scheule for southern gardens

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 9:14PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

I'd like to put in a good word for early, sweet turnips like White Lady or maybe even the fantastic Oasis. "Just Right" takes longer to mature, but tolerates cold and rain better. It's a "fall only" veggie. Some varieties of kohlrabi are very early.

I like Savannah hybrid mustard and some of the pretty Asian greens like Tatsoi for fall, too. Along with the other frost-tolerant crops mentioned above. And kale.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 4:14PM
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Plant it up. Even if the harvest is not great this Fall, much of it will overwinter and produce in Spring. In fact, my best Spinach crop came from Spinach planted in early October that overwintered under a layer of Fall leaves. I also routinely get Spring collards, kale, lettuce, swiss chard, and more from Fall plantings. For beets, try soaking them in non-chlorinated water for 12 to 24 hours before planting. In my experience carrots are hard to get germinated(try to germinate them under cardboard or row cover to conserve moisture). Be sure to keep root crops and lettuce moist if your beds tend to dry out.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 4:20PM
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If you want some legumes, I wonder if fava beans would work, since they are much more cold tolerant? I love them, much like a Lima bean.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 7:07PM
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You can plant lots of veggies, particularly if you are willing to use a tunnel or coldframe. I attached a link to a list of my top ten favorites. I'm in zone 9 but you can grow many of these veggies, even in zone 4 if you provide some protection. Spinach and many other greens are hardy to below 20 degree.

Here is a link that might be useful: Best Vegetables for Fall & Winter

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 1:30PM
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JessicaARZ8(Arkansas 8A)

Thanks for your help and input, everyone. I sowed Buttercrunch and Salad Bowl lettuce, Bloomberg Spinach, Jade Bush Beans, and Danvers Carrots a few evenings ago. I'm anxious to see what happens! Who knows, I may have the opposite problem now that they're calling for a 101-degree high on Tuesday. ;) We'll see just how long this "fall" garden germination takes.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 2:17PM
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