What should I plant in my Arkansas fall garden?

FeatherFeetFarm

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Hey everyone! What would you guys plant in a fall garden? Right now we are getting no rain, but I have a sprinkler. I plan to start my seeds around July 20th inside. I'll let you know, my thumb is far from green. I am ordering seeds off of EBay that are fast maturing varieties of plants I want. Let me know if you think these will die before they produce and what you put in a fall garden. The first frost will be October 28th where I live. Here is what I ordered.

A spaghetti squash. I have never grown these but my dad loves them. How deep should I plant them in a starter cup?

Yellow Crookneck squash. I have grown these before. But how do you plant in a starter cup? Ive only ever planted straight into the ground.

Pattypan squash. I grew these once before and LOVED them. Again, how deep?

Early Girl Tomato. I chose this variety because it matures quickly. I have never grown it. How deep?

Tommy Toe tomato. I have grown before. Depth?

Straight 8 cucumbers. Never grown. I know they need a fence to crawl up. Depth?

Clemson Spineless Okra. I have grown Okra, not sure if so have grown this variety. Not sure on depth, but in the spring garden I always just dig about an inch.

Pumpkin. I wanted Gold Fever Pumpkin, but I couldn't find any seeds on EBay. So I got these:
I have 0 clue on how to care for a pumpkin. How many pumpkins will it produce? Depth? General info?

I assume it is too late for melons like cantaloupe. Correct?

Thanks for reading!
 

meadow

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Hi, and welcome to the forum! I think our climates are too different for me to advise on Fall crops but I do have some tips about starting squash indoors.

Planting depth for squash seed is said to be 1 to 1.5 inches. Generally speaking, seeds can be planted at a depth that is two times their width or diameter.

For starting in a cup, I like to place the seeds point down for the fastest/easiest emergence (if you can't determine which end is the pointy one, which sometimes happens with cucumbers, then place the seed on its side for fast/easy emergence). The soil should be moist when planting, but not sopping wet. Using a humidity dome (or plastic bag held on with rubber band) will help ensure the soil stays moist without having to rewater, AND also allows the seed hull to remain pliable and slip off more easily. Try not to water again until after the plants emerge, and only when necessary.

Just don't make the same mistake I made in keeping the soil constantly moist! This can cause the seeds to rot before they have a chance to emerge and it also is not good for the plant as it's growing. Now I stick my finger into the dirt (about an inch) and do not water at all if I can detect any moisture.

You mention that your first frost is October 28th. In our area, we can expect a hard frost in October, but there are often 2-3 nights of light frost in September that will destroy squash leaves without killing the vine. If the forecast [which is based on air temperature at a height typically 6 feet above ground level] is expected to drop below 37F, especially on a clear night, then it could be cold enough (32F) at ground level for a light frost. Season-extending fabric would be ideal, but the important thing is to watch the forecast and cover them with something in time to prevent damage (I've used an old sheet in the past and it worked fine).

Which pattypan are you growing? Benning's Green Tint is THE favorite summer squash in our house but it has diverged so much from what it used to be that we're trying other varieties. New to us this year is Wood's Early Prolific and Early White Scallop. I also purchased seed for Homs Kousa and Yuxi Jiang Bing Gua (as well as a new-to-me strain of Benning's Green Tint in the hopes that it is true to what it should be) but those didn't get planted this year. But, yeah, we're big fans of pattypan squash!! 😁

ETA: Oh! And for pumpkins... most winter squash need a curing time before eating for best flavor. Acorn & spaghetti squash don't need a cure time but should be eaten within a couple of months. Delicata also doesn't need a cure time and has a short shelf life (3 months max). But the rest need at least 1 month of cure time. Butternuts need up to 2 months of curetime.
 
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ducks4you

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:welcome from Central IL. Please put your location with your avatar bc I won't remember where you live next time you post.
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digitS'

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For crops to grow, this is a @Ridgerunner question, with his years of Arkansas gardening.

I was just thinking about Fall crops but, for me, those are cool season plants that can be direct seeded in the garden or protected somewhat from extreme Summer weather by starting here at home, then transplanted during the “better” days.

Cucumbers are probably the most frost sensitive plants in my garden. I’m sometimes surprised by damage to them and nothing else. Winter squash and pumpkins should not be left until frost kills the plants. The risk is that damage to the fruit is too likely.

Curing time is somewhat easy for me if the weather warms a little after the first frost. Our semi-arid climate can help. It’s a matter of placing them on pallets in the carport. My guess is that sunshine might help but moving them morning and night would be a bother. They are not touching each other or the concrete floor and can be covered at night with cardboard and a tarp if necessary.

And yes! Welcome to the forum from these digitS’ :frow
 

FeatherFeetFarm

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Hi, and welcome to the forum! I think our climates are too different for me to advise on Fall crops but I do have some tips about starting squash indoors.

Planting depth for squash seed is said to be 1 to 1.5 inches. Generally speaking, seeds can be planted at a depth that is two times their width or diameter.

For starting in a cup, I like to place the seeds point down for the fastest/easiest emergence (if you can't determine which end is the pointy one, which sometimes happens with cucumbers, then place the seed on its side for fast/easy emergence). The soil should be moist when planting, but not sopping wet. Using a humidity dome (or plastic bag held on with rubber band) will help ensure the soil stays moist without having to rewater, AND also allows the seed hull to remain pliable and slip off more easily. Try not to water again until after the plants emerge, and only when necessary.

Just don't make the same mistake I made in keeping the soil constantly moist! This can cause the seeds to rot before they have a chance to emerge and it also is not good for the plant as it's growing. Now I stick my finger into the dirt (about an inch) and do not water at all if I can detect any moisture.

You mention that your first frost is October 28th. In our area, we can expect a hard frost in October, but there are often 2-3 nights of light frost in September that will destroy squash leaves without killing the vine. If the forecast [which is based on air temperature at a height typically 6 feet above ground level] is expected to drop below 37F, especially on a clear night, then it could be cold enough (32F) at ground level for a light frost. Season-extending fabric would be ideal, but the important thing is to watch the forecast and cover them with something in time to prevent damage (I've used an old sheet in the past and it worked fine).

Which pattypan are you growing? Benning's Green Tint is THE favorite summer squash in our house but it has diverged so much from what it used to be that we're trying other varieties. New to us this year is Wood's Early Prolific and Early White Scallop. I also purchased seed for Homs Kousa and Yuxi Jiang Bing Gua (as well as a new-to-me strain of Benning's Green Tint in the hopes that it is true to what it should be) but those didn't get planted this year. But, yeah, we're big fans of pattypan squash!! 😁

ETA: Oh! And for pumpkins... most winter squash need a curing time before eating for best flavor. Acorn & spaghetti squash don't need a cure time but should be eaten within a couple of months. Delicata also doesn't need a cure time and has a short shelf life (3 months max). But the rest need at least 1 month of cure time. Butternuts need up to 2 months of curetime.
Thanks! The emergence stuff was really helpful. I would have just dug a hole and tossed em in! The starting tray that I have has a plastic lid and I assume it is to hold moisture. So I should cover them outside if a light frost is expected. I think I got White Bush Pattypan. I plan on carving any pumpkins that are big enough. Do they need curing time?
 

FeatherFeetFarm

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FeatherFeetFarm

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For crops to grow, this is a @Ridgerunner question, with his years of Arkansas gardening.

I was just thinking about Fall crops but, for me, those are cool season plants that can be direct seeded in the garden or protected somewhat from extreme Summer weather by starting here at home, then transplanted during the “better” days.

Cucumbers are probably the most frost sensitive plants in my garden. I’m sometimes surprised by damage to them and nothing else. Winter squash and pumpkins should not be left until frost kills the plants. The risk is that damage to the fruit is too likely.

Curing time is somewhat easy for me if the weather warms a little after the first frost. Our semi-arid climate can help. It’s a matter of placing them on pallets in the carport. My guess is that sunshine might help but moving them morning and night would be a bother. They are not touching each other or the concrete floor and can be covered at night with cardboard and a tarp if necessary.

And yes! Welcome to the forum from these digitS’ :frow
Thanks for tagging them.

Right now daily temps are about 100 degrees.

Can I cover them when it frosts and protect them so they can produce as late as possible?
 

digitS'

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FeatherFeetFarm, I will cover plants with buckets when serious, Spring frost threatens. Early riser so turning the sprinklers on at 4AM has been a way to fend off the slight risk of Spring frost.

I must admit that by Fall, my remedial efforts to extend the season hits a fatigue barrier ;).

I've only used row cover fabric once. Wind made a mess of it. Interest in continuing to try to make use of the fabric collapsed.

Ridgerunner moved recently - evidently only a short distance from his new home in Louisiana. He is still caring for maintenance on the previous home. I'll tell you what, I know that he would suggest the Cooperative Extension check as Ducks' suggests.

Arkansas is a state with a diverse environment. My grandfather was born there and, though I have never visited, looking at a map and trying to understand where the family was made me realize that.

Steve
 

meadow

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Thanks! The emergence stuff was really helpful. I would have just dug a hole and tossed em in! The starting tray that I have has a plastic lid and I assume it is to hold moisture. So I should cover them outside if a light frost is expected. I think I got White Bush Pattypan. I plan on carving any pumpkins that are big enough. Do they need curing time?
There are really two types of curing time for pumpkins. The first type (5-7 days) lengthens their shelf life, the second type (1-2 months) is needed for eating quality. I don't think either one is really 'needed' for pumpkins that will be carved, but I would think the first type might help the pumpkins stay in good shape longer (just guessing though). This link has info:

Pumpkin Curing and Storage Info from Johnny's Seeds

Do you know to avoid handling the pumpkins by their stem? The joint can weaken (or break off) and become a place of entry for decay.

Last year I brought my small crop of pumpkins inside of the house for the first curing time and didn't switch them over to lower storage temperatures for several weeks. By that time, one variety (Winter Luxury) was already in decline. It has a rough skin though and maybe I messed up in some other way. All of that to say, if it were me carving pumpkins (and wanting for them to be on display as long as possible), I'd do the first 5-7 day cure, and then use the lower storage temperatures from that link* until time to carve.

*not that there is anything magic about those temperatures; I should have said to store them in a cool place until time to carve. For me that would have been the garage instead of the house since we don't have air conditioning.
 

meadow

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Arkansas is a state with a diverse environment. My grandfather was born there and, though I have never visited, looking at a map and trying to understand where the family was made me realize that.
genealogy fistbump

My grandfather was born there too, although he died when I was a baby so I've no memory of him. One entire branch of my family is from Arkansas via Tennessee around 1820-ish. I've never been there either.
 

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