Thanks everyone for the input. The wicking idea is a good one, I do have plenty of totes around, may give it a try if need be. But Wayne, you make a good point. I should just be starting them in the ground, probably better for the plant anyways, in terms of root system development. I just know I can't bear having to buy plants again as I did this spring. I had just moved here and really threw the whole thing together, with the not unexpected lopsided effects The soil isn't great and is very alkaline, which I've never dealt with. It was nearly perfect back in North Carolina, maybe a bit acidic for some things, but with lots of leaf mulch it turned into black gold, that nice loose soil you could dig your arm into; hoping for the same effects here, with time.
So yeah, I have a whole host of new issues to deal with which kind of sucks, and is also kind of fun. I mean, I want production, that's an important part of why I do this; but the tinkering in the garden is a joy, no doubt, except that I've been hiding from the heat for the last month and letting everything go. I'd love to hear any central Texas specific or relevant advice if anyone has any or can point me to the right forum.
Interestingly enough, I still have several kale plants that look absolutely amazing. I don't know how they're handling the heat so well. The squash and tomatoes petered out, the latter having been especially disappointing, but there they are, a lacinato and two red russians, looking great.