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RE: Direct sowing in hot weather? (Follow-Up #22)

posted by: donnabaskets on 06.01.2013 at 06:13 pm in Vegetable Gardening Forum

I had my first vegetable gardens in Indiana long ago. Then after several years, we moved to the Deep South. I tried for several years to grow veggies here and finally gave up. I then began growing ornamentals. A few years ago, I finally learned some crucial information about vegetable gardening in this part of the country and have gotten back into it enthusiastically.

Because of my experience, I never assume that people know the basics of growing in the south. So...just in case the OP doesn't realize it, I want to state clearly that we have two distinct growing seasons here. Right now, we are in hot season. Come fall, we will be in cool season. What you need to understand is the vegs that we grow in the cool season, we grow then because they will not grow in the hot season. The advantage is that most of them can be grown all the way through the winter.

Cool season veggies are lettuce, carrots, beets, greens, broccoli, cauliflour, cabbage, and onions. Some are started from seed inside during July or August and then transplanted outside in the fall. Others are direct seeded in the fall.

Hot season veggies are tomatoes, corn (grown only in spring and early summer), beans and all their kin, squash, cucumbers, okra, sweet potatoes, peppers, eggplant.

In our intense heat, tomatoes and green beans stop setting fruit (or slow down dramatically, depending on the variety) in July. When the weather cools in the fall, if you have given the plants excellent care, they will begin to fruit again.

I personally keep only my cherry tomatoes through till fall. I pull the other plants out when they stop bearing and replant that space with something productive like okra, butter beans, cowpeas, or squash.Long beans do extremely well in the worst heat too.

I wait until early to mid August and replant green beans. They come up fine in the heat (with watering, of course) and are ready to bear by the time cooler fall temps roll around. Some years I can pick beans on Thanksgiving day.

If you are having trouble getting seeds to germinate in the heat, you can cover the rows with some kind of fabric and water through the fabric into the soil. The fabric will keep the moisture in the soil and help the seeds to come on up. Just keep an eye on things and remove the fabric as soon as you see germination.

Mulch is a virtual necessity here to keep moisture in and weeds out.

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clipped on: 06.06.2013 at 09:31 am    last updated on: 06.06.2013 at 09:31 am