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Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2012 10:39 am
Location: Prescott Valley, AZ

Obnoxiously late start...need some ideas and guidance...

It's been an absolutely insane year so far, and there's no signs of things letting up anytime soon!
Between work schedules, buying a house and renovating it before we could move in, changing jobs, learning that we're expectingour first baby, and life in general, I haven't had time to get our garden in the ground at all.
However, things have begun to settle down some, and we're finally into where we can actually do something with starting a garden.
Here's my dilemma- we're in the heart of summer in the high desert, lows in the mid 50s, highs in the mid 90s.
I have about 20 weeks of growing left before first frost, perhaps a couple more of the fall its mild.
We have consistent 25 plus mph winds here on the prairie, which is something I've never had to deal with before.
I have lots of seeds in packets, nothing started yet, in a wide spectrum of varieties.
My question is this- what would you suggest to me to get this party started quickly, for the best yields, and getting food on the table in the shortest time?
Thanks in advance!

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Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2012 10:39 am
Location: Prescott Valley, AZ

Re: Obnoxiously late start...need some ideas and guidance...

I can't believe that nobody has any thoughts on quick turn type veggies for a late start.
Come on gang, I know we're better than this!

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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:32 am
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Obnoxiously late start...need some ideas and guidance...

Kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, seeds can be started in July for fall harvest

October: plant onions and garlic to overwinter.

Beans, squash, cucumber, and corn ( use the early maturing varieties they are still going to be 70-80 days to maturity), and also some of the drier herbs rosemary, thyme, dill, and oregano.

If you can provide shading and misting, red leaf lettuce and swiss chard are the shortest crops I know. I plant mine under the citrus trees or between the corn and beans to provide shading in summer. I live in Hawaii so temps rarely go above 100 degrees and only in July and August.

Super Green Thumb
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Location: El Cerrito, CA

Re: Obnoxiously late start...need some ideas and guidance...

Just a couple of reality check-in facts:

The original post was written at 11:25 a.m. Pacific time on a Saturday morning in June, a time at which our Eastern, Central, and Mountain (to say nothing of Atlantic, Alaska, and Hawaiian) Time Zone friends may be out running errands or working their fingers off in their own gardens, either to nurture the plants or to save them outright from the ravages of Mother Nature in this bizarre season.

In my case, I was working at my MIL's house (Palo Alto, Sunset Zone 15), in approx. 90-degree heat (I get heat migraines) to plant veggies in the 4'x4' veggie box DH and I established there in 2008 so that MIL, not a well woman, could have fresh veggies, and so could her care-giver. We cleaned out the box a couple of weeks ago and just today got in tomato plants, bush beans, two kinds of squash, one eggplant, and seven fava beans. The favas were seeds; everything else was a plant start. Our own plants? Ha! Still in the 4-inch containers from the nursery....

I got that heat migraine, and my 13-year-old Bernese Mtn. Dog female forgot where the water bowl was. I found her standing on the bricks IN THE SUN--there was plenty of shade, and that's where she usually is, smart girl--but she was standing IN THE SUN looking very confused. She's travelled with us to "Gramma" (and, until 2007, Grampa) since she was a 16-week-old puppy girl, so she knows the house very well. I was very alarmed for her; it looked to me like heat exhaustion.

I'll spare you the details except to say that we left MIL's house at 4:00 and got home, after running one en-route errand, at 6:00. Dogs were offered water twice on the way home, and once got a chance to get out of the car and stretch their legs and lie down on well-kept grass. The car has air conditioning, and we ran it like you wouldn't believe. Once we got home, temps were in the mid-60s, and I worked on Vesta until 8:15, when I encouraged her into the house and kept monitoring her pulse and respiration.

--Resp: 34 at first monitoring; now 20.
--Pulse: 150 at first monitoring; now 72.
--CRT (Capillary Refill Time): > 3 seconds at first monitoring, now < 1 second.
--I don't have a dog-safe thermometer, but clearly I need to acquire one.

I also had to take care of my post-surgical male dog (bloat surgery, 0400 last Saturday morning), who also suffered somewhat from the heat. Then I had to see to myself.

So that's one person's reason for not having had the time to answer your query quickly. My specific reasons for not being able to answer it now are that I don't know which climate zone you live in: Sunset 3A or 10? They're right next to each other around Prescott and Prescott Valley; maybe you can look at the on-line map and make a decision?

The description for Zone 3A mentions melons, gourds, and corn, and deciduous fruits.Depending on how hot it is right now, tomatoes may in fact not do well; they go into estivation (summer stasis) at 95 degrees and above. If you have access to a good amount of water (rainwater cisterns, maybe?), it may be possible to grow melons, which love water. Beans may be a more economical use of water, esp. if you can find plant starts.

Zone 10's description mentions several plants, none of which seem edible to me, but maybe that's because I don't live there: Mexican blue palm, blue palo verde, century plant, oleander (no; that's definitely NOT edible), and fishhook barrel cactus.

These snippets are taken from the on-line description of the Sunset climate zones involved and from the 2012 edition of the Sunset Western Garden Book. The descriptions in my previous copy, the 2001 edition, are slightly longer and they have photos with captions. The combination gives a better idea of which plants may succeed in each zone (and is why I don't jump on the newest and "best" edition of the Sunset Western Garden Book; I buy every other edition, hoping that excesses in one edition will be curtailed in the next).

So...please select your Sunset climate zone and we can have some discourse! :)

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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Location: Prescott Valley, AZ

Re: Obnoxiously late start...need some ideas and guidance...

Wow, cynthia, that's quite an adventurous day! Hope everyone is well and no worse the wear for the experience!
Zone information for here, it's an in between of the descriptions I read on the link you provided between 10 and 3a.
Sub freezing temps come in late October to mid November, and last consistently until March. I've seen snow in May, but it's very rare.
It's the 40 degree temp swings that confuse me here...last night it was 54, today will be in the low 90s.
For myself, I spent yesterday turning the compost piles, laying out beds, and designing irrigation plans for optimal use of the equipment I have as correlated to bed layout.
I suspect I can get away with warm season species, as long as they have a short season and are quick to bear.
Cool season stuff definitely has two months wait before I can do anything with them, as they'll burn up in the heat of the summer.
I did find info on the cooperative extension site that's very informative, and gives great insight into what should work and what won't.
I'm guessing I'm way past out of time for starting anything from seed for this plan to work, but with two months top go before starting winter type plants, I'm good there.
Meh, I'm headed to Lowes at some point today anyway, as I got the wrong fittings to connect the ice maker line to the faucet line(again), so we'll see what's available on their shelves in regard to plants.
And, I'll get the stuff set up for starting the winter crops now, so I just have to start planting seeds when the time is right for those plants...
I'm liking the kale and chard ideas...never tried those, but they sound interesting!

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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M(11/B)

Re: Obnoxiously late start...need some ideas and guidance...

You could try edamame -- soybeans that are eaten as green shelled beans. They are heat and drought tolerant and grow well when hot, but need the drop in temp to 60's when blooming and setting pods. Typically 75-80 days to maturity so they should start blooming when heat subsides in late summer/fall.

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