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What can I plant before last frost?

 
Steve Flanagan
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Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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What vegetables can I successfully plant this time of year? MY last frost date is usually late april. The days have been nice, but we will have some cool nights coming up (around freezing).
So, what should I do? What should I plant? Will planting in containers allow the plants to be warmer? Or will it do the opposite? Any relevant feedback is appreciated. Thank you!
 
Tyler Ludens
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I've been planting fava beans, collards, kale, carrots, lettuce, arugula, broccoli, radish, turnip, rutabaga. Night-time temps in the upper 20s, or around 30 F (ice on buckets of water) and many tiny baby sprouts seem fine, especially the fava beans.

 
Steve Flanagan
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Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I've been planting fava beans, collards, kale, carrots, lettuce, arugula, broccoli, radish, turnip, rutabaga. Night-time temps in the upper 20s, or around 30 F (ice on buckets of water) and many tiny baby sprouts seem fine, especially the fava beans.



Thank you for the input.
 
Joe Hoffman
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Location: Shenandoah Co., VA USA
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Snow peas! I planted mine today.
 
Devon Olsen
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Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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i hear it makes no difference what time of year you plant sunchokes, but have no experience in the matter, other than that, cold weather stuff such as:
arugula
lettuce
spinach
carrots
kale
cabbage
broccoli
brussel sprouts


POSSIBLY curly dock and lambsquarters and pigweed as well
 
John Polk
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What I've done with snow peas in Zone 7-8 is to plant my last rotation of the year about 1 month before first frost. They grow about a foot of so tall, and the first frost puts them into dormancy. They will overwinter under a foot of snow, (that's why the Chinese call 'em 'snowpeas') then when things are proper for them in the spring, they will resume growing. That's when I put in the first rotation of the spring, but the ones that have overwintered will beat them to the table by a month or more. They already have a sound root structure when the soil begins to warm, and really take off fast. Let Mother Nature tell you the perfect date to start the season.

(My biggest problem with snow peas is that I constantly munch on them while in the garden. It's hard to keep enough for dinner!)



 
Mary Saunders
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I vote for favas, but I also have a cress that made it over the winter, though I admit it was near the dryer vent. Plant sunchokes once, and you will be unable to starve probably forever. Have you seen Helen's video about these in Montana? My garlic always makes it over in Portland as well. I stick the bottoms of onions and garlic out, and sometimes they make it. Squirrels don't seem to like alliums much, but they sometimes take out brassicas. Fortunately, they don't seem to like arugula. It's easy to put the bottoms of beets, carrots, celery out the kitchen door by the dryer vent. One time a celery made it to flower. You tend not to get new edible parts, but you may get flowers and seeds. I had a cabbage bottom do pretty well once, but so many pests love them, that is really unusual they survive to make new baby cabbages. Baby purple cabbages are really cute.
 
J W Richardson
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Location: Council, ID
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This winter here in zone 5-6 it got down to -10 with about a foot of snow cover, small fall planted pac choi, kale, spinach, and some arugula made it through. Spring planted large kale made it through too. In general, take literally any seed instructions that say 'plant as soon as ground can be worked'. Spinach is better fall planted, lasts longer before bolting.
Swiss chard, beets, carrots don't grow much in super early spring but don't die either. Swiss chard sometimes winters over, and the beets that the rodents didn't get were growing.
 
Steve Flanagan
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Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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J W Richardson wrote:This winter here in zone 5-6 it got down to -10 with about a foot of snow cover, small fall planted pac choi, kale, spinach, and some arugula made it through. Spring planted large kale made it through too. In general, take literally any seed instructions that say 'plant as soon as ground can be worked'. Spinach is better fall planted, lasts longer before bolting.
Swiss chard, beets, carrots don't grow much in super early spring but don't die either. Swiss chard sometimes winters over, and the beets that the rodents didn't get were growing.


I wonder...
My ground can always be worked in the cool months. My freezes are weak. The coldest I has this past winter was 23 degrees.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Very dry winds wiped out many of my baby plants mentioned above, except the Fava beans which are doing fine. Not only can they be eaten as beans at various stages of development, they can be eaten as greens though I'm going to wait for mine to get a little bigger before I try this. I'm growing them for food but also as a cover crop and green manure, as they have usually done well for me except during the coldest winters. Not all varieties are equally cold-hardy. I'm growing Negreto and Broad Windsor. Broad Windsor seems to be doing much better than Negreto, which are being slow to germinate. I suspect they are less cold hardy. I'll know more when we get another frost, though we're in a heat wave right now...
 
Steve Flanagan
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Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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I wish I knew which variety of favas I am growing. Someone gave me the seeds, he made it sound like they were of a very special variety. I didn't write it down and can't remember what they are. The bees love visiting my fava beans.

I thought I remember reading that fava beans are a good cover crop where you grow tomatoes.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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