We are right in the middle of the hottest days of summer, and now is the time to start thinking about your fall garden. Texas is a great place for vegetable gardeners because we can grow crops all year long!
Not many people want to be working in the garden in August, but now is the time to be planting pumpkins, winter squash, peas, sweet corn, and lima beans. Just around the corner in September we can start planting cole crops like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower. The list goes on with something new to plant all through the fall and winter!
Gardening in the fall is a lot of fun, but there are a few tips that can help you be more successful. Fall crops generally do better when you start with transplants, rather than planting by seed. Many of our local nurseries will have vegetable transplants you can purchase.
The trick to fall gardening is making sure your transplants have plenty of water to get established in our late summer heat. The small transplants need at least two weeks to get a root system established in the ground, and you might need to water every day to support the plant until it’s established. Use a moisture meter or just stick your finger in the ground to see if the soil is moist at the root zone.
Vegetables are quick growing plants that need a lot of nutrients so they can produce fruit for us to eat. The soil in Williamson County does not have enough nutrients to support vegetables without some additional help from us. You can provide a good boost to the soil by working in compost when you prepare the garden bed. Vegetables usually need extra nitrogen every three weeks after they are established. Plants need nitrogen more than any other element, and it’s used by the plant for photosynthesis and building proteins. For an abundant harvest, add 1 tablespoon of ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) around each plant every three weeks and water it in well.
Be sure to stop by the Demonstration Garden on 3151 SE Inner Loop in Georgetown to see our fall vegetable garden. We planted fall tomato and pea variety trials in July, and we plan to plant strawberries and winter squash in the coming months. The Master Gardeners work in the Demonstration Garden on Tuesday and Friday mornings, and they are a wealth of garden knowledge if you have questions.
For more information about fall gardening, contact Kate Whitney, Williamson County Horticulture Extension Agent, at 512-943-3300.