too late for fall planting?

suzan30October 20, 2013

I'm a relatively new gardener but had a very successful crop of tomatoes and peppers this summer. Back in August I bought seeds for a fall garden (kale, swiss chard, onions) but my tomatoes kept producing until just recently, so I never planted them. Today, finally, I did a clean up. Is it too late to plant my seeds? Should I just save them for spring? Thanks in advance.

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lonmower(zone8 Western Oregon)

I am going to answer this, even though I don't have knowledge/experience of your growing/weather conditions.

It is too late to start those. You might be able to find chard and kale as seedlings in your local nursery and you might be able to get some kind of crop using plastic covering such as a low tunnel. Google/contact your local extension service for info.

You might consider growing a cover crop in your beds. This should be done ASAP and once again much useful info on this is on this web site and (probably) at your extension service.

GL

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 1:38PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Agree with lonmower.
Fall planting is pretty much over unless you are way down south.
But then you are in Illinois. I don't even think that you will have a chance to grow cover crops either. Probably you are close to your first frost. So your best bet is to buy seedling and plant them.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 2:15PM
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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

The gardening season is going to end very soon. Unfortunately it's too late to plant the things you mentioned, even if you were to cover them. You might be able to get a crop of radishes though.

Rodney

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 6:10PM
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suzan30

Thanks to everyone who answered. I thought it was too late. Will the seeds I bought be ok for spring planting?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 6:33PM
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lonmower(zone8 Western Oregon)

Seeds should be fine. Below is a discussion about how to store.

Here in the PNW, I would start all of those seeds indoors and then transplant to the garden. Onions I would start in Mid January. The Chard and Kale around mid-February. They are both "cool weather" crops.

You could get a inexpensive fluorescent light setup for an indoor starting operation and even start you tomatoes yourself. The peppers can also be started. They are a little trickier...but definitely something you could manage.

Can Do!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Seed Saving

    Bookmark   October 20, 2013 at 6:59PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

The phase "COOL CROP" can give wrong impression, that you can plant them in COOL/COLD weather and they will grow. It is not necessarily so. Most of the so-called cool crops need some warm soil and weather to germinate and get established. Most of them should be started late july to mid August. So by the time it it cools off they have good roots and foliage to continue.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 6:26AM
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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

To me, cool means 55-60*F (both air and soil temp). Most "cool crops" will germinate at these temps just fine as long as the soil isn't overly moist/wet. But they do germinate slower at these temps than if the temperature was around 70*F.

In the spring these temps aren't a problem because because the temperature is on an upswing and the plants have time to grow to maturity. In the fall, if you plant when it's 55-60*F, the plants might not have time to get to maturity because the temperature is going down. And it goes down quick, one week it will be in the 60's and the next it's in the 40's. Plants grow slower at lower temps.

Then there is also the daylength. In the spring daylength is increasing which causes plants to grow faster. In the fall daylength is decreasing and it causes plants to grow slower which means it takes longer for the plants to mature.

It's for these reasons that you usually have to plant your fall "cool crops" in the summer.

Rodney

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 10:15AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Yes. You are getting good information here. I would just add that as a new gardener, one of the most important things you need to know is that you must learn to think a season or more ahead at all times. In the next few weeks you'll be receiving (or you can sign up for) seed catalogs. Winter is the time to order your seeds. In late winter it's time to start seeds (indoors) for summer crops (for instance, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants) and, perhaps, in your climate to direct sow seeds for early spring crops in the garden like peas and lettuce.

In early summer, it's time to start seeds (indoors) for fall crops like kale, collards, cabbage, etc. In late summer to early fall, it's time to transplant and direct sow seeds for your cooler weather crops like onions, garlic, greens, root crops, etc.

You will do well to get a book on vegetable gardening that is written with your part of the country in mind. Read it carefully and start making yourself a calendar that will give you what to do each month at a glance. Winter is an excellent time for that! Plan. Dream. Order. Get ready.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 6:36PM
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