PLANT WHAT YOU LIKE
By Michelle Thompson
Some beginning gardeners ask what they should plant in their edible garden. The best answer is, plant what you like to eat. If you’re going to spend time tending a garden it should be for something you relish eating.
Plan for what you want to be eating from your fall time garden or as some call it, warm season two, which is September through November. You have a chance to try something different than your spring garden selections. If your spring garden location was successful, the same should work in the fall. Keep in mind most vegetables need at least six hours of direct sun daily.
Plantings now need to survive today’s heat, yet be ready to harvest before the first anticipated frost, (the first week in December) for the Friendswood area. Seed packets list the days to harvest and counting back the weeks gives you the time to plant.
Fall planting guides make the timing process easy. Growing from seed will need a bit more care outside in the summer heat with attention to watering needs, as moist soil is needed for germination. Consider a temporary shade set up for new seedlings, especially spinach.
Using transplants allows crops to mature earlier, extends production and helps when planting is too hot for some plants. Tomatoes need cooler nights with temperatures below the mid 70’s to set fruit, so fall time transplants can be helpful. There is a better chance to harvest tomatoes, which are frost sensitive, when planting the smaller and quicker to mature roma and cherry tomatoes.
Root crops (radish, turnip, beet and carrot), bush snap beans, and cole crop transplants: broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage can be planted. Leafy greens, including salad varieties, collard, kale, mustards and spinach are best direct seeded and are not frost sensitive so these make great cool season plantings started now through the beginning of November.
Cool season snap peas can go into the garden all month. Fall planted strawberries, if you can find them locally or mail ordered, result in larger, stronger plants compared to spring planted counterparts.
Herbs can be planted now and most can be easily planted from seed. Transplants are nice for getting a head start. If your spring basil is looking sad let the bees enjoy the flowers then collect the seeds.
For information on vegetable varieties recommended for SE Texas and more plant growing tips check out the Horticulture-Easy Gardening Series at Galveston.agrilife.org.
Michelle Thompson is a Galveston County Master Gardener and is a member of Heritage Gardeners of Friendswood. She served as President 2018-2020.