Fall Garden 2019 Observations

Weather Impacts

  • August was a very wet month with over 11″ of rain through the 26th.
  • From then until October 12, when 1.2″ fell, was a brief shower of 0.4″.
  • 10/12/2019 – Once the drought ended it rained regularly with October getting about 10″.
  • Due to the high soil temps many things that should have been planted in September were not planted. The winter squash–watered daily–has small fruit but only two 30-ft rows of both mustard and cabbage were planted due to the soil temps being in the mid-’90s during the day when the ambient air temps were in the low-’90s.
  • 11/12-13/2019 – Hard winds of 20-35 MPH for a day before the hard freeze on 11/13 together killed all squash, tomatoes, and tomatillos. The wind beat up the daikon radish and tiny beats.
  • 11/14/2019 – Soil temps made a drastic drop from the high 80’s/low 90s to the low 50s in three days.

Winter Squash

  • Aug. 18, 2019 – Prepared individual hills about 6″ high by hand. And that worked well. Spacing that worked was:
    • 4 feet from the grass garden edge
      • Cucumbers – 3 hills 3 ft apart
      • Sugar Pie Pumpkins – 2 hills 5 ft apart
      • Table Ace Acorn Squash – 4 hills 7 ft apart
    • Next Row, 8 ft from the first row:
      • Vegetable Spaghetti Squash – 7 hills, 5 ft apart
      • Waltham Butternut Squash – 12 hills 2 ft apart.
  • All the squash germinated well and new leaves were showing within 5 days. With daily water during the September drought, they vined and bloomed. Side dressed them when they started vining, Decided to not repeat the side dressing when they started blooming as they are dark green and are planted where the spring garden peas grew.
  • The cucumbers were the same as planted in the spring and were then prolific. These finally germinated and grew small plants with no runners. Soil temp must have been too high–high 80s to low 90’s.
  • Several small areas of fungal damage were not addressed until too late and the vines lost a lot of leaves.
  • Hard Freeze on 11/13/2019 killed all plants. We picked all fruit the day before except for two small green pumpkins. Picked them early on 11/14.
  • Need to plant all squash at least a month sooner to allow for maturing of fruit.
  • Find another acorn squash that is not a hybrid.
  • The Waltham Butternut, Vegetable Spaghetti Squash and Sugar Pie Pumpkins did well and should be replanted.

Beets

  • Ruby Queen Beet germination looks spotty as in maybe 50%.
    • Soil temp was on the high side but not above the max.
    • IFAS says seeds ”  require ample moisture at seeding or poor germination will result.”
    • IFAS does not include Ruby Queen in the suggested varieties.
  • For the hard freeze on 11/14/2019, we protected 25′ of the first row with burlap where 1″ high seedlings with two leaves were standing up. Used 1″ and 3/4″ PVC pipes anchored beside the flimsy seedlings to hold the burlap above them. The pipes seemed to work ok.

Cabbage

  • Early Jersey Wakefield
    • Planted the first 30 feet later than intended due to the September drought and high soil temps.
  • Early Flat Dutch – Very poor germination; i.e. nothing obvious came up.
    • Variety is recommended by IFAS.
    • Four weeks after planting we had a hard frost.
  • Next year – Per Harvesttotable.com
    • stamp the soil firmly in; beets often fail to germinate when there is insufficient contact with the soil.
    • Pre-soaking the seed in water before sowing can aide germination; soaking loosens the seed coat which contains a germination inhibiting chemical.
    • To improve germination sow seed at dusk or on a cool, cloudy day.

Mustard

  • Florida Broadleaf
    • Planted the first 30 feet later than intended due to the drought.
    • The 3-5″ leaves were not frozen by the hard freeze on 11/14/2019.
  • Tendergreen – Very poor germination; i.e. nothing came up.

Brocolli

  • De Cicco
    • Very poor germination; i.e. nothing came up.
  • Waltham 29
    • Very poor germination; i.e. nothing came up.

Tomatoes

  • Celebrity
    • Seedlings grew well and with no fungus, no bug damage and 2-1/2″ to very small fruit as of the hard freeze on 10/31.
  • Romas
    • Seedlings we grew are healthy and blooming by 10/25. Only one very small fruit when froze on 10/31/19.
  • Tomatillos
    • Seedlings we grew transplanted well and had a few small fruits when froze.
  • Hard Freeze on 10/31/2019 killed all plants.

Spinach

  • Being late due to hot dry September through the first week of Oct. we planted the first two varieties with still high soil temps (but no longer in the 90s) to see how they would do. Clearly, they did not germinate so should not plant spinach when the soil temps are in the 80s.
  • Corvair – Planted first when soil temps were in the high 80’s when the max for spinach some say is there but other advice is max is 75. There was very little if any germination.
  • Emperor – First planting did not germinate. Soil temp was also too high in the high 80s;
  • Space – Planted 11/13/19 with a soil temp of 51 F.
  • Black Seeded Simpson
  • Arctic King

Lettuce

Carrots

  • Nantes Scarlet Carrot – Planted when soil temp was good but still slow to germinate although that is the way carrots are…they say.
  • Rainbow Carrot –

King Richard Leeks

  • Planted when soil temp was in a good range and germination was ok.

Radishs

  • Diakon Radish
    • Germination was good
    • The 3-4″ plants were not frozen by the hard freeze on 11/14/2019.
  • April Cross
    • Germination was good
    • The tiny first two leaves were not frozen by the hard freeze on 11/14/2019.

Swiss Chard

  • Germination was ok.
  • For the hard freeze on 11/14/2019, we protected 25′ of the first row with burlap where 1″ high seedlings with two leaves were standing up. Used 1″ and 3/4″ PVC pipes anchored beside the seedlings to hold the burlap above them. The pipes seemed to work ok.

Leeks

Planted very late and once small 2-leaf seedlings are showing in late Nov. I found the instructions below that King Richard does not overwinter.

King Richard is a newer leek variety that grows well throughout the United States. This leek variety is a summer type, non-bulbing leek that grows to 12? in length. King Richard has green leaves with white inside. This leek is a very early maturer and is not sufficient for overwinter growing. From UrbanFarmerSeeds.com

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