Summer Planting for Fall and Winter Harvest


| 7/14/2012 1:00:53 PM


Tags: Broccoli, Cabbage, Greens, Corn, Lettuce, Okra, Succession planting, Fall gardening, Winter Gardening Southern Gardening, Gardening in the Southeast, Ira Wallace,

 nutribud broccoli early jersey cabbage 

It seems like we just got started with our summer succession plantings, laid out the drip irrigation and finished mulching everything in sight, but it’s already time to start planting our Fall and Winter garden, even if it is 105°F degrees! We’re sowing broccoli, cabbage, kale and other brassicas that will mature in the cool fall weather. If we want to have a glorious second spring in September that carries us through the holidays, into winter and on, not stopping until after spring crops are producing “baby greens,” then we need to start planting now in our zone 7 garden. For help timing your fall garden, contact your local Master Gardener group or county extension office. Southern Exposure also has several fall planting guides on our website to help you out.

As insurance against fickle weather, I usually make at least two planting of broccoli and cabbage seedlings for my fall garden. Frankly, vegetable plants don’t care what season it is, as long as their basic growing conditions are met. When it is 100°F for days in a row, you have to make it cooler. The soil temperature should be 85°F or lower to get normal seedlings. If you have space to start seedlings inside in flats that might be sufficient, as long as they are kept moist and get enough light once the seedlings emerge. I need to start a lot of plants, so I use these simple tricks for sowing brassica nursery beds outdoors:

   remay bedsseedlings under screen 

  • I start my brassicas outdoors in a rich, specially prepared seedling bed in a partially shaded area that still has 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. We have trees just in the right place. Corn or tall trellised tomatoes can provide enough shade.
  • I cool the soil by watering the bed thoroughly one week before planting, again the day before planting, and immediately after planting.
  • I cover the planted area with a piece of salvaged window screen to keep it cooler and moist. Remove the screen as soon as the tiny seedlings emerge.
  • To protect the emerging seedlings from flea beetles, grasshoppers and other insect pests, I use a lightweight spun polyester row cover, supported by hoops.
  • I water daily until the seedlings emerge, then check daily and water as needed.

row cover bed   seedlings screen rows 

Lettuce responds well to similar treatment and may need to be planted in the early evening and watered with cold water or ice the first evening after planting to get good germination.




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