Gardening in North Texas




Having come from farm country in Illinois to the wilds of Texas was quite an adjustment to my thinking of how to garden. Thinking of vegetable gardens as a huge spring planting event followed by a slow growing season that extends through a big portion of the summer. It was and still is where my mind automatically wants to go in planning. Its been hard to get used to for me so I thought I would pass on some tips to non-native Texans wanting to garden here. I can only give an account for North Texas, so if you live in other parts of the state you will have to contact your local county Extension office for planting dates.



Vegetable Gardening:

  • There are two short gardening seasons. One is spring, the other in fall
  • Cole crop vegetables like broccoli tend to bolt faster if planted in the spring garden because our soil heats up so fast. 
  • Spring planting starts as early as late-January to early-February which includes onions then potatoes, broccoli, lettuces, peas. Warm season plants like tomatoes and peppers are best planted at the end of March.
  • Varieties of vegetables chosen need to be suited for shorter growing seasons. 
  • Tomatoes can be a challenge to grow here. Temperature changes seem to be the culprit to tomato production. If our temperature here doesn't stay mid-range long enough we miss bloom set time. If it gets too hot too fast the plants nearly shut down as far as growth. Tomatoes don't like it too hot. With the late spring freezes we've had over the past few years, special care needs to be taken to protect plants that are prone to freezing.
  • Fall planting starts as early as June and that's only to direct sow tomato seeds. Most of the warm season vegetables aren't planted until late July into August. The rest follows all the way to October for cool season vegetables.
  • Watering gardens is required. The rain nearly shuts off in June and doesn't really pick back up until September. Drip irrigation and soaker hoses are some of the best methods because there is less evaporation and it wastes the least amount of water. Overhead watering will do, but it makes plants more prone to diseases.
  • People here report that fall vegetable gardening is preferred because of insect issues being reduced. 
  • Guide for growing vegetables here Aggie Horticulture Home Vegetable Gardening and a nice printable vegetable guide.

Having a bit of foreknowledge of what to expect helps to better prepare for each season. Each region has its unique challenges and it doesn't hurt to get familiar with some seasoned gardeners or your local master gardening program for more information. 

What are your gardening challenges for your area?





3 comments:

  1. I grow cherry & roma tomatoes instead of any large Beefsteak varieties because of the difficulties with providing steady water supply in NE Texas summers to avoid fruit cracking.

    In C.Florida, the tomatoes really shut down in summer, so you'll see those seedlings in nurseries in early spring. We get a good late spring crop, then try to keep the plants alive through the summer to get an even better fall tomato crop.

    Now that the nighttime lows are in mid70s, the tomatoes will stop setting fruit & stop blooming - sigh,,,

    Have you seen the Farmers Almanac online planting guide? http://www.farmersalmanac.com/calendar/gardening/

    **Katy M
    Recommending YA books beyond the bestsellers at http://BooksYALove.blogspot.com
    Follow me on Twitter @BooksYALove

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  2. Thank you so much for this article. We just moved last year from Ohio and I am still trying to figure out what I can grow here (Forney, tx). My roses have done really well and that is about it. Do you by any chance grow strawberries?

    Thanks again. I will be referring to you article often.

    Melissa
    Redflycreations. Blogspot.com

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  3. I THINK ANY SUMMER AREA LIKE TEXAS OR OKLAHOMA WOULD DO WELL TO MULCH THEIR CROPS....HELPS WITH SUMMER HEAT...I BEEN TOLD SHADE IS 15 OR 20 DEGREES COOLER THAN DIRECT SUN....MAKE SENSE TO KEEP ROOT AREA COOLER...THIS YEAR I AM TRYING FREE WOOD CHIPS FROM POWER COMPANY....DO NOT BURY CHIPS IN GARDEN AS IT MAY TAKE A COUPLE OF YEARS FOR THEM TO BREAK DOWN INTO GOOD SOIL...THEY TIE UP NITROGEN....BUT, MULCH WITH THEM ON TOP OF SOIL, AT LEAST 3 OR 4 INCHES...YOU WILL NOTICE YOU NEED A LOT LESS WATER....WORMS WILL MOVE TO AREA BECAUSE GROUND IS COOLER AND DAMP...HOPE THIS HELPS SOMEONE...THE INDIAN

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