North Texas Fall Vegetable Gardening

26 Jul

Its time to begin preparing and planting your fall garden for a bountiful autumn harvest

With just a little attention and effort you may be surprised to find that growing fall vegetables in the backyard garden is even more enjoyable than planting a vegetable garden during the spring and summer seasons. Fall vegetables don’t require any special care, with our favorable autumn growing conditions the plants will grow rapidly at first and gradually slow as the days become shorter and colder.

You’ll be happy to discover that destructive insects won’t be as numerous, nor create as much of a problem as they can during the summer. You will struggle less with weed control because the weeds will germinate less frequently and grow slower than they do during the summer seasons. Compared to the hot and dry summers, fall usually brings an increase in the amount of precipitation, eliminating another time-consuming garden chore of irrigating the garden.

As you get ready for fall remember that every time you prepare the soil to plant a new crop, always mix in as much compost as you can get your hands on. Add well-decomposed animal manure, fertilizer and lime if needed.

Also seeded vegetables can be tricky to get up in the Texas heat. Soil often forms a crust on the surface after tillage and watering. This “crust” can hinder tender seedlings from breaking through. To combat this problem before sowing, take your garden hose and thoroughly soak the bottom of the seed furrow with water. Next sow the seed. The seed should stay moist enough until germination. I have read about people placing a board or wet burlap over the seed row to provide constant dampness to encourage germination and emergence, remove the covering when you see the first seedlings breaking through….that seems a little extreme for me.

Following is a list cold hardy crops that are ideal to plant in your North Texas fall vegetable garden.

North Texas Fall Planting Dates

8/1 – 9/1 8/15 – 9/15 9/1 – 10/15 9/15 – 10/15
Beans Cabbage Beets Lettuce
Broccoli Carrots Garlic Mustard
Brussels sprouts Cauliflower Spinach Radish
Card, Swiss Collard/Kale Turnips
Corn Parsley
Cucumbers Peas
Tomatoes * Potatoes

* Buying a plant that is in a half-gallon or gallon container and is more mature, allows you to cheat and plant it later than in July. Smaller sizes of tomatoes should be planted 7/1 – 7-15.

What vegetables are on the yes list for Kay’s  fall vegetable garden ?

After giving it much thought and consideration here is what I have decided to plant. Interesting to note, I have never planted a fall vegetable garden before, so this will be a first for me. I will let you know if I enjoy it as much as I enjoy my summer gardens.

  • Tomatoes – top on my list are tomatoes, but that has turned out to be a little bit more challenging than normal this year. It seems the fall tomato plants were delivered to the nursery while I was on vacation and their all gone 😦 my last hope is to head down to the Dallas Farmers Market and see if any of the vendors have gallon size tomatoes for sale, cross your fingers.
  • Mustard Greens – Tim and I really enjoy greens so I will be planting more Mustard Greens. My summer greens were plentiful and tasted great.
  • Carrots – since my soil is soft and not hard I will be planting carrots. I have discovered over the years don’t even waste your time planing root crops if your soil is on the hard side.
  • Sugar Peas – I’ve tried growing Sugar Peas in my spring/summer garden and it’s just too hot, so I am hoping that they will like our Texas fall temperatures better.
  • Bush String Beans – this is also one of my favorite vegetables, it just seems to go well with just about any dish.
  • Swish Chard – while Tim and I were in Hawaii this summer I noticed that they grew a lot Swiss Chard, so in honor of our Hawaii vacation I am going to planting some.
  • Radishes – Not everyone likes radishes, but we do. Plus radishes are the EASIEST veggie there is to grow, which makes them idea for a child’s first veggie garden experience.

Dallas Arboretum frog - I wish his was mine

  • Cosmo’s – don’t do well in our summer heat and since my gardens tend to be none traditional in their layout and design – I require them to be pretty. I accomplish this by also planting flowers and herbs along side of all the veggies. In addition I add garden art, such as ornate trellis’, an iron cross, and fun frogs, (I have loved frogs since I was a kid).

Well there you have it – lets hope that the 100-degree temperatures break soon and God sends North Texas some much need rain, which will way to jump-start all of our fall vegetable gardens.

Happy Planting

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2 Responses to “North Texas Fall Vegetable Gardening”

  1. Kristina July 30, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

    Hello, I’m a new subscriber.
    I’m out in the Frisco area and wonder if you have any suggestions on where to purchase fall vegetables in gallon contaniners?
    Thank you and looking for to future posts!

    • drkaytrotter August 1, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

      Hi Kristina,

      I would suggest you start calling garden centers in your area, this will save you a lot of driving time. If no-one has any (which is what I have been finding were I live) you can give the Dallas Farmers Market a shot. I plan on going there myself, i just have not made it yet. I would say you have this week only as a window to get your tomatoes in. After that they will not have enough time to grow before it gets too cold…Good hunting. PS If you find any please let me know.

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