Fall Garden

bigtexwormsJuly 18, 2010

Anyone here plant a fall veggie garden?

I am going to give it a try this year and would appreciate any tips. When do I plant? What grows well in fall?

I am in NORTH Texas. In between Ft.Worth and Denton.


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bobbi_p(z8/9 Cypress, TX)

I'm in a different ball game down here in Houston. Yes, I plant a fall garden. I always love to refer everyone to "Commonsense Vegetable Gardening for the South." It's out of print, but you can often find used copies on Amazon. It gives planting dates/varieties to consider for cool season vs. summer crops and the dates are all given with reference to your average first frost date for the fall.

Your county extension office should also have a horticultural agent on staff to help suggest when/what to plant in your area and help you with the average first and last frost dates for your specific area.

Down here, the one thing I will say, is that I don't even attempt fall tomatoes because the leaf-footed stink bugs get so bad!

I'm sure others from your area will pipe in soon with their suggestions!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 2:41PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I am in Central Tx Zone 8b-8a. I planted siberian kale, swiss chard, Italian dinosaur kale, mizuna, lettuce of many types, spinach,arugula broccoli rabe, brocolli, brussel sprouts carrots beet, kolrahbi, english peas, snow peas, cilantro, onion, bunching onions Egyptian walking onions, chervil.. I also used frost cloth stretched over PVC. I find that the plants will live through our time of cold but their growth will be slow. The cloth adds about 7-10 degrees and that is enough to make a huge difference. My plants sallied through the short spree of 12 degree weather that we had last year.

The cloth comes in 12' wide bolts and it rans about $1 per running foot. If you haven't laid out your garden look into planning for frost cloth. I was able to cover or uncover in about 15 minutes.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 12:56AM
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I'm in Houston too and the fall is probably my favorite gardening time. I've had great luck with tomatoes in the fall but I also plant yard long beans which seem to attract the leaf footed stink bugs away from the tomatoes. I think I had my tomatoes until November last year, but I would probably forgo the fall tomatoes if I was farther north. I also plant peas, onions, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, swiss chard, broccoli and spinach. I second the frost cloth suggestion.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 12:44PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Where do you all buy the frost cloth? Will it double as row cover to keep the squash vine borers off the squash or does it not permit enough light for the squash to grow well?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 2:05PM
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Although the Fall garden can be tough to get going in the late summer heat, it is a pleasure in October and November and relatively easy because of the optimal conditions.
All types of greens do well(collards, kale, mustards, swiss chard,-- spinach is not as easy). I especially like a variety called Florida Broadleaf Mustard because they take off well in the heat and are one of the best "cut and come again" types. The greens usually pop back up in the Spring.

Cherry and early tomatoes do ok, although you need to put in transplants NOW to have a chance of getting many fruit. Carrots, beets, and lettuce do ok. Lettuce doesn't germinate well until temps Fall into the 60's or at least the 70's or low 80's for daytime highs and it needs a good bit of moisture.
finally, bush beans, pole beans, and cucumbers are easy to grow in the Fall.

Here's a good site with tips.


Enjoy the harvest,


    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 11:54AM
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when do you plant in Central Texas? I'm in the Austin/San Marcos area and was hoping to try fall garden also. Is it too late for pumpkins?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 5:07PM
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We're just starting to plant the fall veggies. They usually do better than in the spring. This year we'll do sweet corn, Tomatoes, gold zucchini, broccoli, brussels sprouts (if I can find any sets), cauliflower, beets, radishes, cantaloupe, carrots and winter squash. The yellow and pattypan squash and the cucumbers are still going strong.

We get most of our sets at Dennis's Farm Store in Denton near the Corner of Bell and McKinney Ave.s. He has tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and zucchini right now and should get the rest in about 2 weeks.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 11:24PM
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clairtx(z8 TX)

I'm in the DFW area and just planted my first fall garden using the raised garden kits sold at Sam's Club. We planted green beans, yellow squash, mustard greens, pepper plants and eggplant. Also planted some lima beans and cucumbers. Am planning on using the flat tomato cages for trellises. I found the pepper plants and eggplants at Marshall's so they are already started. You can find good information online here:


    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 5:24PM
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Lynn Marie

I'm just kind of hoping that the tomatoes and peppers in the ground since spring get a second wind when things cool down. Is that wishful thinking? I also planted a couple of bean and peas seeds about a week ago.

Let us know how yours turn out!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 7:05PM
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I'm curious too Lynn. I had 4 bell pepper plants, 3 jalapeno and 3 serrano pepper plants. 2 of the bell pepper plants fell over in a storm, but the remaining two are still producing (if still ugly) fruits.

The Jalapeno have not produced at all. One of the Serrano plants died, but the other two have not produced at all either. As a matter of fact, when the two bell pepper plants fell over, it allowed more sunlight to reach the jalapeno's and serrano's so they did hit a growth spurt. But the temperature is still too hot. Definitely know that the area my jalapenos and serranco are in right now---will be planted with ornamentals next year. 6-7 hours of sunlight probably isn't enough.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 7:29PM
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It's not unusual for us to have the spring planting of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants to not produce until the fall. The only thing that really does good before September are the squashes and cucumbers. Some years no one around here gets any tomatoes until the fall.

BTW, there's a veg gardening club that meets in Denton if anyone's interested.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 10:51PM
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I have been having great luck with strawbale gardening this year, so I am starting a pretty big Fall garden in bales. This spring I grew huge amounts of summer squash, peppers and tomatoes. For Fall, I have set out 2 new bell pepper plants, 3 mexibell, 4 new tomato plants, albino eggplants, black-eyed peas, cucumbers and sweet potato slips so far. I am planning to add spaghetti, butternut, acorn and patty-pan squash, brussels sprouts, califlower, spinach, turnips and sugar pumpkins.
I realy like the ease of the strawbales, especially since I am renting a house N. of Fort Worth, and the soil here sucks.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 2:24AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I am wandering around my garden trying to find something to pull out so I can plant something , but everything is producing like crazy. It is driving me bonkers trying to plant my cucumbers and squash. I have one tomato start looking vainly for a slot. I NEED A BIGGER GARDEN!!!!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 12:23AM
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shebear(z8 NCentralTex)

I'd use this as a guide.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tarrant county planting dates

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 10:00PM
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It's so hard to pull up producing plants in July to start again for fall. I pulled up a few and planted some fall green beans and peas. My peppers are just now starting to ramp up in Abilene and my cantaloupes are starting to ripen. Malabar spinach is a fantastic grower in the heat and the bugs don't like it. I still have yellow cherry tomatoes producing so I can't bring myself to pull them up even though I need to in order to plant broccoli rabe and swiss chard. Dilemma!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 8:32PM
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shebar, Your Tarrant County link is broken.

It's been so darn hot, I've been afraid to start a fall garden, I fear the small plants will just fry. Is it too late to try?

My spring tomatoes are over 7 feet tall, the top 2 feet look great and lush with blooms (much healthier looking than the only transplants I found), but the bottom 5 feet look dead. I'm not sure what to do, leave them alone, cut them back and hope they survive to produce new growth or rip them out and replace them with the sad 18" transplants?

wantonmara, I feel your pain, I am considering just planting my new tomatoes in with my roses so I can leave the spring ones alone! Also, maybe this is common knowledge but I was surprised to learn this year that cukes grow vertically very well. Quite by accident, my lemon cucumbers are now covering a 6' foot fence - and producing like crazy - what a pleasant surprise! I will definitely plan to grow them vertically from now on to free up ground space and take advantage of the quick screen.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 7:51PM
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I'm wanting to grow some salad greens -which varieties have you all had the most success with? I'm not keen on anything bitter-I grew swiss chard this year and do not like it -I find it very bitter. I also grew argula - it was OK still a little odd tasting.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 10:27AM
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