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Fall planting season in Texas

 
gardener
Posts: 1870
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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forest garden urban
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This is just a reminder post for those of us in Texas who aren't up to a completely perennial garden yet. I know most of us don't even want to think about our gardens until the temps stop flirting with triple digits. If you are new to this area, it's often much easier to garden in the fall than in the spring here in most of Texas. By the time the plant gets big enough to be producing a crop the weather has begun to cool off, so the plants can devote more energy to production and it's more pleasant for you to be out there harvesting. On top of that, for whatever odd reason, there is supposed to be less insect pressure in the fall.

You'll want to check in your specific region to see if the following information applies to you.

Right now I can be planting summer and winter squashes, melons, peppers and tomato seeds for a second crop. There's  also the whole assortment of plants like Okra, malabar spinach,  and sweet potatoes that only give you one planting a year, but this is in their window of time.  

If you have indeterminate tomatoes you could root cuttings from your spring plants.

By next month you can be starting some of the fall/winter crops like broccoli and cabbage under shade so they can be well established before the short daylight hours of winter. You could get a jump on this by preparing the area where you intend to grow them by setting up the shade structure and starting to hydrate that soil so the soil life can start growing before you throw the seeds into a bare plot of dirt.

This year, I'm going to try chiting the potatoes from my last experiment and replanting them into a garden bed for a fall crop, supposedly this is the time for that. I'm also going to plant some seeds from the sweetest cantaloupe we've picked this summer and see they'll produced late season fruit that is as sweet.

I'd be interested in seeing what garden tasks other people have found fit into this window of difficult conditions. I know I've barely touched on the possibilities here.

 
master pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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We're entering what I call the "dead of summer" which corresponds somewhat to the "dead of winter" in cold climates.  During this time of year it is as challenging to keep plants growing as it might be during the winter in a northern climate.  Things I'm doing now include:  Putting up fencing for a whole new gardening area behind the house; preparing new growing beds in the kitchen garden, in which I might try planting a few very durable hot weather things like sweet potatoes; putting up chicken paddock fencing so they can clear a new planting area in my old garden.  I haven't yet decided if I want to seed improved chicken forage plants in this area, or keep it for future "main crop" staples such as corn and winter squash next year.  In any case I will be seeding some kind of cover crop in the fall.

 
gardener
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Should be sweet potato time. Leaves can go  into salad. Hard to find the slips though
 
wayne fajkus
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Double post
 
Casie Becker
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Posts: 1870
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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wayne fajkus wrote:Should be sweet potato time. Leaves can go  into salad. Hard to find the slips though



Take a sweet potato (one from the grocery store will work) cut the end off and stand it up in some water in a window sill. Watch as vines sprout from the sides. Those are the slips. If you pull them off the potato and leave them in the water they will quickly develop roots and can be stuck directly in the garden at that point.
 
wayne fajkus
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You think there's still time? Last year my brother got slips  for me in austin. Very hard to find slips.
 
Casie Becker
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The first year I grew sweet potatoes, when I saw how lovely the vines looked in the vegetable garden, I started new slips to use as decorative groundcover in the front yard herb garden. When I cleaned up the vines at the end of the season, those late planted slips actually had the best potatoes.

Last year I got impatient and pulled everything much to early. Now, I've a few slips planted in a back vegetable bed and several volunteers in last years bed. I'm hoping to have results more like the first year.

All that said, I think we've got plenty of time left for sweet potatoes around Austin. It wouldn't hurt to try, and is a very inexpensive experiment.

If you know anyone who's already growing sweet potatoes, apparently you can root vine cuttings just as easily. That might cut a little time off your schedule.

I'm still in what I consider the experimental phase of my gardens where I have tiny patches of lots of different things so I don't have a huge number of sweet potato plants. If you're looking at a very small amount (maybe a dozen cuttings at the most) to experiment with, moosage me and I would be open to letting you obtain cuttings from some of mine.
 
wayne fajkus
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Thanks. Let me look for some rooted ones. I was swamped this year from all the rain. I'm swapping over to raised beds cause its been at least 2 years, if not 3 of these 12" rains here. I'm sure you got them to. I wasn't ready, and the redo to raised beds limits my fall gardening area.
 
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