Seriously, folks, trying to predict anything with our weather has become increasingly challenging, although the first signs of fall are definitely in the air and it is time for fall seeds. In fact, I already have some started, and this is not because of seed package directions that, frankly, are not all that helpful in our long-growing-season climate (they often have directions for spring planting but not fall, which is when we plant pretty much the same crops as spring). This is because I clued in, finally, to a little secret called soil temperature and how it affects seed germination rate. This is how I discovered that beets like 85-degree soil for germination, which would explain why I have had such poor beet results in previous years as I’ve always planted them later in the fall. This is also how I learned that spinach likes 70-degree soil for germination, which explains why it typically doesn’t germinate well when I plant it at the same time as lettuce, which can handle soil temperature just a hair warmer.
In short, here is where I find out my local soil temperature. It shows my soil temperature to be about 77 degrees, and so now I go to this chart, which gives me optimal temperatures for seed germination rates for various crops. I scan down the list for seeds that like it around 77 degrees and discount ones that I know are summer crops and would need long, warm, growing time.
This results in, drumroll please, the “plant now” winners:
(plus the others mentioned on the sign in this photo)
The “wait awhile still” list includes:
For those of you shouting, “What about broccoli? What about broccoli?”–first of all, thanks for being such a passionate veggie lover, and second, broccoli likes 75 degrees, so, yeah, we’re moments away from that as well.
There. Now, wasn’t that easy? For our local friends, we invite you to swing by our store on Briarcliff Road by LaVista Road in Atlanta and pick up your fall seeds (and there are even some transplants to give you a leg-up on things). For our national friends (or anyone who likes delivered-right-to-your-door convenience), please consider ordering select fall gardening supplies online.