Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Soft Neck Garlic and Fall / Winter Seed Starting Schedule

This past weekend, I pulled all of my softneck garlic. Considering that this was grown from garlic purchased at the supermarket, I was happy to find that there were quite a few good-sized bulbs. There is always a certain level of risk when planting stuff from the supermarket, but all in all, I think this little experiment worked out well. If anything, I planted it just for fun. Whether or not I'll do it again come October is another story.

I also planted 5 supermarket shallots last fall but unfortunately, only one of them overwintered successfully. Maybe I'll purchase some from a seed company this year. It's interesting how shallot bulbs pull apart from one another as they grow - definitely makes it easier to tell when they are ready.

Finally, for all of you out there who may be interested, this is my tentative fall/winter seed starting schedule:

Broccoli - F, now (I)
Beets - F, 7/11 (I)
Mini Napa Cabbage - F, 7/25 (I)
Shanghai Bok Choy - F, W, 8/1, 8/15, 9/1 (I)
Extra Dwarf Bok Choy - F, W - 8/1, 8/15, 9/1 (I)
Mizuna - F, W, 8/1, 8/15, 9/1, (I)
Tatsoi - F, W, 8/1, 8/15, 9/1, (I)
Choy Sum - F, 7/25 (I)
Scallions - W, now (I)
Swiss Chard (Fordhook) - W, 7/25 (I)
Kale (Red Russian) - W, 7/25 (I)
Mesclun Mix - F, 8/15, 8/29 (D)
Minutina - W, 8/15 (D)
Mache (2 varieties) - W, 8/29 (D)
Lettuce (Tango) - F, 8/22 (I)
Lettuce (Korean) - F 8/22 (I)
Lettuce (Winter Density) - W 8/22, 9/12 (I)
Wild Arugula - F, 8/22 (D)
Claytonia - W, 8/29 (D)
Radish (Daikon) - F, 8/22 (D)
Radish (Altaglobe) - W, 9/12 (D)
Radish (French Breakfast) - F, 9/12 (D)
Radish (Watermelon) - F, 8/22 (D)
Turnip (Tokyo Cross) - F, 8/22 (D)
Turnip (Hakurei) - F 8/29 (D)
Carrots (Nantes Half Long) - F, W, now, 7/25 (D)
Chinese Celery - F, 7/25 (I)
Spinach (Space F1) - W, 8/15 (D)
Snow Peas and Shoots - F, 8/1 (I)

D - Direct sow outdoors
I - Start indoors

Again, this year's fall and winter garden will be largely experimental and utilize plastic covered hoops in order to extend the growing season. Hopefully we'll have lots of warm weather again this fall.


  1. Thanks for putting that schedule together! I haven't started any of my seeds. I did order some seeds today though. I better get my rear in gear :)

    That garlic looks pretty good. I planted shallots last fall and they all rotted. The potato onions made it...I think that they are just about ready.

  2. Is the supermarket garlic that you just harvested from last October's planting? Wow, I didn't realize they stay underground for so long.

    Also, thank you for posting your seed starting schedule. As a newbie gardener, it's really helpful for me to visually see someone's planned schedule to help me plan mine.

  3. I didn't know that about shallots! Very cool.

  4. The garlic and shallots look great. I tried some of mine this weekend and was thinking of pulling the rest later this week.

    Thanks for sharing your schedule. I am making my plans now for my fall/winter garden. I plan to also use low tunnel hoop houses, unless I get my high tunnel house built. I was curious, are you starting your seeds indoors. I was simply going to start flats outdoors this summer. Do you see benefits to starting indoors.

  5. Hi Ken, yes, as you can see from the schedule, I'm starting many of my seeds indoors. Since there's little margin this time of year, I'd rather start my fall crops in a controlled environment with consistent light and temperature. Crops like peas and lettuce don't germinate or grow too well in the heat of summer, which is why I'm giving them a head start indoors and then transplanting them out in late August - early September when the weather is a bit cooler.

  6. Garlics look great, Thomas.
    I am amazed at the list. Good luck with them all and I'd definitely be following :)

  7. That schedule is very helpful, thank you. Let me ask, how much space will all of what you listed take up?

  8. Nice variety you are planning for the fall/winter garden! I am following my own schedule fairly well this year (some adjustments along the way but over all sticking fairly close to my plans) and already have quite a few items under way for the fall crops. My softneck garlic and my elephant garlic are showing some outer leaf dry down/yellowing - so I am probably not too far away form the garlic pull myself.

  9. So you are Zone 6, we are zone 5. Any suggestions on how to adjust your planned dates to my zone? Should I start a week or two earlier?

  10. Thanks for posting seed sowing schedule. That will be one big experiment. As I remember your last winter garden was also very successful (carrots especially!).
    I’m not planning to start winter/fall sowing before August. It will all be direct sowing.

  11. Its amazing to see you growing so much stuff for the winter, I will have to see what I can find to grow.

  12. Turling - this list will take up a decent amount of space. Last year, I had six 3X6 raised bed covered during the winter. This year it will be much more.

    Anonymous - one or two weeks should be a sufficient adjustment. If you have full sun, you might be able to get by with the dates I'm using because I tailored my schedule to account for the fact that a large portion of my garden is part shade. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as planting your fall and winter crops too early. Some of your greens may bolt if you do.

  13. I need to get my fall ordering together too. Last year I forgot to order garlic! I call shallots "toasters", since they pop above the soil line when done! I am surprised you start greens and lettuces indoors, is that because of the rabbits?

  14. I was chopping garlic the other day and noticed one of the cloves had a green sprout, so I took it outdoors and stuck it in a bucket of dirt, just for fun, too.

    I'm glad to see from your photo, that I may get a clove of garlic from it? I am totally clueless about this stuff, but it has several leaves now and is about 6 inches or more tall, so I'm curious to see what will happen. :)

  15. Erin - last year, a lot of my young greens that I sowed directly were eaten up by slugs before they took off.

    Depending on how the weather is and the pests around, I might direct seed my greens and also start a few indoors to plug up any germination gaps or pest damage.

  16. That is quite a list Thomas! Great turn-out on the garlic experiement.

    (P.S.- I emptied a potato bin today, one that I had robbed a couple of weeks ago...results tomorrow.)

  17. That's impressive garlic from supermarket starts! And I didn't know how shallots grow... We recently planted organic grocery store potatoes because we couldn't find any seed potatoes after voles decimated a large chunk of our "crop." I hope we get as good results from those potatoes as you got from the supermarket garlic.

    I also do a seed-starting schedule but mine is handwritten on a calendar. Our first starts are indoor cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts on July 10 to be transplanted out in mid-August. I'm in a planner, so I love coming up with the schedules and sitting there with all the seed packets being excited :) I remember my first year of growing, I actually counted out the days to harvest of each crop based on the seed packet info and wrote it on the calendar. It was that year I learned that seed packets lie... (I don't do that anymore; I figure we'll see when something's ready).