New home owner in East Texas, too late to plant ...

sidpost(7)August 9, 2014

I am a new home owner south of I-30 between Sulphur Springs and Mount Pleasant. My land is heavily grassed and sandy. I have a good well so I can supplement rainfall as required.

I seem to have missed tomato and watermelon season so, what FOOD crops should I consider for the fall? Should I consider a "hoop house" to 'over-winter' leafy greens and similar things?

If I rent a roto-tiller, will that be enough to get rid of the grass? Or, will I need to use chemicals which I would like to avoid? I have a little Kubota tractor so, a small disc or plow is an option. I also have a drag harrow for a prepped seed bed.

TIA,
Sid

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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

Congratulations on your new place. Roto-tilling alone can do a number on some grasses, but not all.... especially Bermuda. Much better to remove or kill it first. Since removing is hard without a sod cutter, we solarize when feasible (enough time & right weather) and will use the minimum required dose of grass killer when not. After it's dead, we cut it as short as possible, roto-till, then rake out the roots and debris once the tilled clay has dried out a bit. Not too bad for a typical suburban lawn, but could be tedious for larger spaces.

Another step we've found helpful, is to water the cleared space and till it again once the weed seeds have germinated. We try to do this a couple times to deplete the banked seeds before mulching (or sodding) the area.

Solarization article mentions using clear plastic, though any color seems to work with our triple-digit heat. We've used whatever has been available (clear, black, orange, blue,...) with good results. Also don't believe we've needed to keep the plastic down for more than three weeks to kill grass in August.

Here is a link that might be useful: Soil Solarization for Gardens & Landscapes

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 2:48AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I use hoops and frost cover to extend the season all through the winter. I think the greens and lettuce grow so much better with the frost cover.

Do you have deer there. A fence might be needed. I need a tall one where I am west of Austin. The deer are murderous here.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 11:51PM
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southofsa

Sid- not in your part of texas so can't speak to what to plant when or what protection you need, but I second the advice from bostedo above. Depending on how large an area it is you might want to do a sod cutter first (great upper body work out) and then solarize. It's frustrating to get a good garden going here and the biggest weed you battle is grass that comes up in the beds. I'm always amazed how bad my lawn looks, but how good it looks in my vegetable garden.

Good luck- Lisa

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 4:10PM
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sidpost(7)

Now that I'm back at the library - Thanks for the advice everyone!

With your assistance and some more consideration of the options, I think I'm going to talk to the local Ag Extension office and see what advice they have for locals like myself.

I didn't really think about Deer fencing but, that made me wonder about the feral hogs. Sure enough, we have them in our area so, high fencing with some electricity is probably in order.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 1:59PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Google"planting schedule Agri-life , your County name" see what their planting schedule is,

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 3:00PM
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