Now it’s time to think about the last chance to plant one more batch of summer veggies – in case the warm weather persists through Thanksgiving so they ripen completely – or to bet that the cooler weather will settle in, and therefore I should plant overwintering veggies. My decision – as for the same but reverse timing situation in March – is to do both, so I’m covered either way and have some sort of produce no matter what the weather does.
I usually both sow seeds and plant seedlings as soon as they’re available at local nurseries. This way, I’ll get a crop from the seedlings, and then when that wanes the seed-sown batch will begin producing. In another month, I’ll sow more seed for the third wave of production. And so on through the winter. There’s always some variability in maturation, so always something harvestable without being swamped with too much that must be eaten immediately.
A note about seed germination and ambient air temperature. The overall range of temperature that encourages seed germination is a low of 50 degrees and a high of 85 degrees. So, sowing now outside in the garden or in flats or six-packs may not result in successful germination since the air temperatures have been considerably above that, at least here inland. The solution is to begin seeds indoors where you can keep the temperature lower but still provide as much bright light and good air circulation as possible. Then, when you achieve germination of at least one-half of the seeds and the air temperature is in the low 80s or below, move the containers outdoors to a filtered-light area to acclimate and complete germination. If that area will be accessible by snails and slugs and other critters, cover the trays with spun-bonded polyester or cheesecloth or other breathable fabric.
As uncomfortably hot as this time of year is, begonias relish the warmth in filtered light. I love their many variations of foliage colors, patterns, and textures – as well as their exquisite blooms – and I teach them to thrive with less water!