Need help with Texas growing conditions

scotty66(8 Hutto TX)November 14, 2013

It seems like a lot of the gurus on this site live up north. I am curious if their are certain strategies I should be using for growing in Texas? Here, our first freeze is usually in November and last freeze is mid march. Summers can be brutal with 60+ days with temps over 100 degree. I live in Austin, TX (zone 8) and have been trying to grow superhots for 2 years (ghost, scorps and chocolate habs). I have had a small vegetable garden and I grow lot's of tomatoes, jalapenos, corn etc (my garden gets full sun all day).

My first year of growing superhots, I started my plants in February and as soon as the low temps got above 40 I put the containers out by my vegetable garden... In the spring I had lots of flowers but they kept falling off. In central Texas it is normal to have 100+ degree days in late June, July and early August. In July the heat had decimated my superhots and I moved the plants up to my patio (heavy shade). they started recovering and by Sept./Oct. I had started getting a few pods and was able to harvest a handful of peppers before it got too cold.

Last year, I started my seeds in December, I had about 12 decent sized plants by spring but a late freeze hurt me and I only had 6 survive. This year I put the plants on the southwest corner of the house where they got full morning sun but protection from the late afternoon sun. Those 6 plants put on lots of flowers in spring, but again the flowers kept dropping. The summer heat still took a toll on them but not nearly as bad. I have a few pods now, but far fewer than last year and we just got our first freeze.

It is time to start planning next springs garden and I don't want to give up on my superhots...

any advice appreciated.

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DMForcier(8 DFW)

1) Try a shade cloth 24/7 for hot months.

2) With containers the roots may be getting too hot. Try shading the containers. Set some in-ground (with or without pot) as a check.

3) Consider your soil and fertilizing practices. Heat may not be the only concern.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 5:27PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I second : Shade Clothe:
60+ days temps around 100F: Full sun all day ...That is a lot of heat.
Check the regional gardeners (Texas Gardening) forums and find out how they are doing.

Here is a link that might be useful: here

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 12:26AM
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I found lots of water, lots of compost tea and adequate calcium, and only morning sun or shade cloth worked best in my containers. I have/had lots of peppers, but they did do better in the greenhouse when the nights get down to 40's. We had over 3 months of 100 degree weather or real close this season. I started peppers in November and had them good size before, after a greenhouse heater failure today, will be starting peppers late this year.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 9:59PM
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sjetski(6b NJ)

Also, keep an eye on springtime temperature forecasts. If the overnight forecast is for below, say ~39f, then move your plants to safety. A lot of us move our container plants around in the spring and fall, for temperature reasons.

Otherwise everything else previously mentioned makes sense imho. I've read a lot about hot climate gardening. It seems that everyone is either using shadecloth, or planting in areas that are shaded during a hot portion of the day. You could frame it up using flexible pvc conduit, like a hoophouse for instance. You would fasten shadecloth over the top, and leave the sides open. You can always remove the shadecloth if there's extreme weather in the forecast. The PVC conduit frame can also double as a greenhouse to extend your growing season. That's just one idea, but you may discover better alternates upon researching the topic.

Good luck.


Here is a link that might be useful: Inexpensive Hoophouse's on YouTube

This post was edited by sjetski on Wed, Dec 11, 13 at 10:20

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 9:57AM
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