Vegetables and Fruit forum: Starting seeds

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Name: Greg
Middle Tn (Zone 6b)
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lereg15
Mar 14, 2016 6:50 PM CST
I'm sorry if this was already posted, but I'm new here and haven't really found my way around yet, so please forgive me.

I have been going through the posts on here and some are saying the lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, and such should be in the ground by now, which apparently I'm a bit late. The temps will be around 40 at night here for about another week, I hope, so should it still be ok to plant them outside now? Obviously it wont be freezing out, but I'm not sure if the germination will be slowed because of it.

Thank you for your advice!!

P.S. Is there anybody around the Crossville, Tn area on here?
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Mar 14, 2016 7:20 PM CST
Hi Greg! Welcome to ATP. You'll find the places you like soon. There is a TN regional forum:
http://garden.org/forums/view/tennessee/

and forums for particular plants, and one for edible crops:
http://garden.org/forums/view/eateat/


Until someone from your area sees your post, here's one way to get a hint. We have a garden planting calendar based on "last frost date". If you enter your location, it will make some suggestions for when-to-start seeds indoor, when to transplant outdoors, or when to direct-sow outdoors.

I put in "Nashville, TN" and got this:
http://garden.org/apps/calendar/?q=Nashville%2C+TN

"Cole crops like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage can be direct seeded into your garden around February 24, assuming the ground can be worked, but it's better to start them indoors around January 27 and then transplant them into the garden around March 17. Do the same with lettuce and spinach."

Whoops, Crossville would have been more accurate!:
http://garden.org/apps/calendar/?q=Crossville+TN

"Cole crops like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage can be direct seeded into your garden around March 2, assuming the ground can be worked, but it's better to start them indoors around February 3 and then transplant them into the garden around March 24. Do the same with lettuce and spinach."

You can also get to the "Garden Planting calendar" from the left-hand blue menu bar, "Goodies".

Is there still an Echlin plant in Crossville? Auto parts?


Check out the Member Map or Member List:

http://garden.org/users/memberlist/location.php?my_location=...

@JayWyatt . . . . . . . . .Crossville, TN 0
@JanetOlsenOlinger . . . . Crossville, TN 9
sassyjanis . . . . . . . . . . . .Rickman, Tennessee 30
TennesseeDave Dayton, TN 31
amybourne98 Cookeville, Tennessee 34
homeshow brayton tn. 34
mccallicoat Harriman, Tennessee 34

Map:
http://garden.org/users/memberlist/map.php
Name: Greg
Middle Tn (Zone 6b)
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lereg15
Mar 14, 2016 8:29 PM CST
Wow!! I'm going to like this forum!!! Thank you so much for all the info!

Do you think that the germination times will be slower because of my temperature, or will they be fine?

About the Echlin plant, I'm not really sure, because I don't get down that way very often, and I don't really have that many friends here (I do this for me, not because I'm an idiot). I know there's a Colinx here though, if that helps.
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
Mar 15, 2016 5:54 AM CST
Welcome Greg, you will find lots of helpful people on this forum.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Mar 15, 2016 11:41 AM CST
lereg15 said: ... Do you think that the germination times will be slower because of my temperature, or will they be fine? ...


Every crop and every variety of each crop is different in their tolerance for cold weather. So unfortunately, "it depends". I'm still hoping someone local to you chimes in, because I don't know your weather.

Even then, if you have a seed packet that says "very cold-tolerant", you might be able to plant earlier than your neighbors. If your slope and exposure give you a warmer or colder micro-climate, you'll have to tweak even a neighbor's advice to match your garden. (Or relocate some beds!)

My rule of thumb is to really coddle warmth-loving crops like tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, because where I live, it barely EVER gets warm enough for them. For those 'warm crops", planting too early outdoors would be a risk, and seeds of warmth-loving crops planted a little later will often catch up to or surpass ones planted "too early".

Generally, if there is a pinch between:
"how soon can I put them in the ground?"
and
"darn it, my short season meant that the late-planted rows never had time to fully mature"
...
then you would have been smart to set up a light shelf and start at least SOME seeds indoors for later transplanting into settled warm weather.

The really smart move is to start a few indoors, and direct-sow a few 2-3 weeks before you think is ideal. Maybe dedicate one row to 'exper8iments" and sow a few feet of each crop you are wondering about EARLY. Then sow most of your seeds whenever you think is probably pretty safely after too-cold weather.

If your "experimental row" does well, you can harvest it 1-2 weeks before the main rows. Be sure to pay attention to the flavor and tenderness of the experimental row: you might find that some crop is much better when grown on the cold edge of what it tolerates. or you might find that it can SURVIVE coldish wetaher, but never fully recovers and grows rapidly.

Every variety is somewhat different in the temperatures it prefers, and trial-and-error, in your own soil and micro-climate, are the only GOOD answers. Everything else is "what works for Joe Shmoe in his climate"


But "cool weather crops" can often take more cold than you might guess. I don't push them to survive actual frost, but that's because I don't have a lot of frosty weather and can afford to play safe. But there's a reason that many seed packets will advise you to sow that variety of that crop 2-3 weeks BEFORE the last frost. They know that those seeds will germinate on warm days, grow in warm and cool days, and just hunker down and survive very cold days. But they know that excessive summer heat will stomp on THAT variety like Godzilla on Bambi.

If your season for "cool weather crops" is short - like summer comes on hot and fast - then by all means plant some or all of your "cool weather crops" while there is still some risk of frost. those that can, will thrive on it. those that are slowed down, will suffer a little if you have a late spring. If you have an unseasonal late cold snap ... oh well, you may have to throw blankets over hoops to protect them, or have to re-sow a few things. But if hot summer is a'coming in, you might HAVE TO plant spring crops on the early edge ...
I just don't know central TN.

And here's the real bummer if you're looking for "THE" right date to sow.

Every "garden calendar" and even the "average last frost date" are only averages over a 20-30 year baseline. What frosts and chills will happen in the next few weeks is as unknown as next week's lottery numbers. The "average last frost date" means that 50% of the last 20-30 Marches had frosts AFTER that date. And in 50% of the last 20-30 Marches, you could have planted before the last frost date.

So every spring is a gamble. You can hedge your bets, push your luck, or pick some dates through experience and then play safe.

Do you feel lucky?

How eager are you to be the first on your block to have fresh tomatoes?
Would losing a few rows to a late frost break your heart or be a welcome challenge?
If you have time, energy, seeds and inclination, sow more than a month early and hope you get lucky!

There's no one BEST answer, and to the extent that there can be, only your experience in your garden will get you closer than 2-4 weeks.

Hope this is somewhat helpful. It sounds like you're already within a few weeks of knowing "the right dates". I'm trying to say that narrowing it down much more than that for each variety of each crop is a matter of personal preference, judgement and luck-of-the-weather.

But when you find some gardening neighbors (hopefully here or in the TN forum), a good first guess is "whatever they do". Then try some seeds 2-3 weeks earlier, and later, to see what YOUR ideal dates are.

P.S.
>> if you have a seed packet that says "very cold-tolerant",

Beware even that. First, they usually mean "very cold-tolerant for THAT species". Thus a tomato that is called "very cold-tolerant" is only cold-tolerant FOR TOMATOES. A relatively-warmth-loving broccoli will still be MUCH more cold tolerant than that tomato because all tomatoes need more warmth than any Brassicas.

Second, they are printing that seed packet for average climates. A seed packet that says "good summer lettuce" might mean "this does OK in summers in mild climates, but if you live in Texas, WHAT, are you CRAZY???"

You've probably noticed that seed companies like Parks print "easiest to grow" and "favorite variety" and "best-tasting" on almost every variety!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Mar 15, 2016 11:44 AM CST
If you can find a local nursery that gives GOOD advice, pay their higher prices once in a while so they stay in business, and pick their brains.

But many nurseries will give whatever advice makes the cash register ring.
Name: Greg
Middle Tn (Zone 6b)
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lereg15
Mar 15, 2016 10:15 PM CST
That makes sense, Rick. I guess I just wanted some reaffirming for my decision. My neighbor does have gardens, but thinks it's too early for it now. Personally, I think it will be perfectly fine now. Actually, I just spread some more fertilizer on my plots and will till them next week. I really think I should be good by then, I hope. I do have seeds started already, but no sprouts yet. I think I'll go for it and see what happens, wish me luck!!
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Mar 16, 2016 4:49 AM CST
Welcome! to ATP
We all learned by doing our gardens, and sometimes we made mistakes.
In gardening we learn as we grow things.
Go ahead and try some things!
You could just sow part of your seeds early, and then the rest later.
Rick has given you good advice,
and there are plenty of people on the ATP who will answer any questions.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Mar 16, 2016 11:44 AM CST
Good luck, Greg!

Whatever we decide when planting our gardens, the weather has the last word.

Well, except for us running around with floating row covers or hoops, sheets and blankets!

And sometimes hardening off seedlings turns into an exercise in "carry indoors at night and back out the next morning".

So I guess we have the last word after all.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
Mar 17, 2016 7:41 AM CST
Welcome to All Things Plants, Greg!

Your veggie seeds should germinate just fine, as long as you keep the ground moist so the seeds don't start sprouting and then dry out (they definitely don't need freezing temps to germinate). And your growing season is plenty long enough to mature any of those types of crops; lettuce can be succession-sown all season, and broccoli and cauliflower make great fall crops as well as being grown for the early season. Smiling
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Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Mar 17, 2016 8:27 AM CST
Hi Greg. My father retired to Paris, Tn and was a great gardener. He gardened here in Alaska (Fairbanks) prolifically and had great success. He would build a greenhouse out of willow branches (7' tall) covered in poly and grew tomatoes, cukes and the like in there. He had a few acres under very 'manual' cultivation in Paris and they 'put up' tons of stuff for the winter. He even built a work shed for his wood working stuff on a slope so he could have a concrete root cellar beneath on the down hill side. I would love that but I am a flatlander (if you don't count the Chugach mountains to the South and the chain of mountains to the north (including Mt. MtKinley) that trails down the Aleutians, all in site on a clear day. Rolling on the floor laughing But my little 13000sf lot is flat as a fritter. Could I do the back yard over again I would build in a rock slope covered in dirt that would allow for a cave of sorts to use as a root cellar.

I have my cole (hmmm, I always thought it was 'cold' weather) crops growing in the garage for now. Lettuce, spinach, Pak Choi, as well as herbs basil, thyme, rosemary, etc. Hm, I think I also started two squash plants just for fun. And of course, some experimental (for out zone) flowering plants. I have three raised beds (18"x4'x8') with pvc hoops over top that I cover with poly when it is warm enough for things to go out for hardying up. Works great for dahlias that need protection from the direct sun. They never burn in the hoop houses. Not so good for beans though as they really do need the warmth, not just protection from frost.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)

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