It's the end of August, and we are all sweltering in the late summer heat that is uniquely Texas. Because of that heat, just getting you to mow the lawn and pull a weed can be like getting you to visit the dentist. So, why am I going to talk to you about vegetable gardens today? The point is, if you want a fall vegetable garden, you should be getting busy despite the heat. That's right, despite the heat! August is a prime time to plant many types of vegetables for a fall garden. Unfortunately, many novice gardeners,and many veterans new to Houston, overlook this opportunity to have a fall garden. If you wait until the time when the temperatures have moderated to plant, many vegetables will not have time to reach maturity before the onset of cold and freezing weather.
Whenever possible, choose early maturing vegetables for the fall garden. They can be planted after early summer vegetables have been harvested and still be ready to pick before freezing weather.
Transplants are best since we are already at the doorstep of September. The following can be seeded or transplanted in August through September:
+ should already be planted
Remove old plants that have stopped producing to eliminate shelters for insects and disease organisms. Peppers and tomatoes planted earlier this year will not set fruit during the heat of summer, even though they may still be flowering. If the plants remain healthy, they will set fruit again once temperatures stay below 90 degrees. Side-dress established, healthy plants with fertilizer to encourage new growth and keep them watered. Tomatoes covered with spider mites are not worth saving.
And if you are SO NEW to Fall Vegetable Gardening on the Gulf Coast, that you don't even know how important it is to build raised beds, then please read this tip sheet all about making the perfect raised beds in the first place.
Until our next issue, here's to great gardening from the GardenLine, heard exclusively weekend mornings 8 a.m.-noon on TALKRADIO 950 KPRC.
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