Gardening in Texas : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Ok, this question is for any of our readers from Texas, especially the ones from North Central or East Texas. I am planning a garden this year. Have already puchased and read The Square Foot Garden as well as tilled up my garden spot. It's about time to start some of the cold crops in my garden and seeds for others indoors. My question is this. What vegetables do well in our neck of the woods and where can I get the seeds? I hope to grow several types of lettuce, radishes, carrots, peppers, onions, cukes, tomatoes, melons, strawberries, and blueberries. Please send me some advice on types you have had success with and where I might buy the seeds.

Thanks, DV

-- David Valliant (, January 23, 2002


You will love your spring garden. Get started early but remember we usually have at least one cold frost in March, it isn't even unheard of in April, but just a cloche covering is all that is needed. Garden like you are up north with quick varieties, especially of your tomatoes. Because...........once summer comes, with high humidity, bugs, fireants, and the heat, just till everything under and wait for August to start a fall garden. If you water, till for all the grass, poison for fireants, then you might just as well be buying your veggies cheaper at the grocery store. But our spring and fall gardens are spectacular! You might want to also build a few raised beds in the shade, to grow some tomatoes, spinich etc. during the summer, you can poison around the bed and not be contaminating your soil. I took last year off, after cleaning the baby pen this last weekend, and all that beautiful goat poop/pine shavings in a big ole pile, you just can't help but think, compost and "Got to garden this year!" Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, January 23, 2002.

I like using Nichols Garden Nursery and The Cook's Garden for lettuce seeds. Texas A&M has a ton of information on gardens, garden pest diagnosis via the internet, and so much more. Try some of the mesclum mixes and see what out of the mixes work for you. Deer tongue lettuce and rocket arugula will stand up to Texas heat as cut and come again lettuces.

-- BC (, January 23, 2002.

Might want to contact out of Pooleville and out of DeLeon and get their catalogs.

-- paul (, January 24, 2002.

One good book is 'Year Round Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers for Metro Houston' by Bob Randall, Ph.D. You can get the book from Urban Harvest in Houston. Even though Houston is in the title it is good for E. Texas. In the book he gives you seed sources, transplant sources, what varieties are viable, how to plant and when to plant, how to deal with our special bug, weeds and diseases, how to harvest and when to harvest.

Not knowing what kind of soil you getting into, I'd like to recommend that ANYTHING you put into the soil, especial good compost, will pay off in any kind of good harvest. Also you might want to look into AgiOrg. It's a great fertilizer. Won't burn you crops. It's very expensive but one bag can go a long way.


-- Barb Findley (, January 24, 2002.

The last 3 years that I was out in the country the grasshoppers ate everything I put in the ground. Three years in a row we had grasshopper plagues and I was brand new at gardening. This was between Bonham and Greenville Tx. I was so discouraged that I quit! The only thing that survived was Squash and it was tattered. I pray that this year is different though you might think about getting a greenhouse to keep the critters out. Start everything inside really early so it can be harvested before the temp hits 110. July through august are lost to the heat unless you like heat stroke. If you have a green house you can even garden throughout the winter. Have fun and Good luck!

-- buffy (, January 24, 2002.

lettuce - I've always had good results with Salad Bowl. Iceberg types don't usually do well here in Texas carrots - Danvers 1/2 long. We have poor soil around our house and the full size varieties usually get stunted. onions - 1015Y. We have to grow the short day varieties around here, but you may be far enough north to get away with the medium day types. Too late now to start from seeds - you'll have to get transplants. tomatoes - Big beef is the only variety my dad and I have found to be disease resistant enough. melons - Mainstream is the best tasting cantaloupe I've ever eaten, and mildew resistant to boot (a Godsend here in humid Houston).

I highly recommend getting "The Vegetable Book" by Sam Cotner. Unfortunately, 95% of the gardening books out there are written by people from New England and 1/2 of what's in them just doesn't apply to conditions down here. I always wondered what they meant when they said to plant things "as early as the soil can be worked". It finally dawned on me that in most of the country, the ground freezes rock solid over the winter - something that just never happens here where the "freeze line" is probably a negative number. Cotner's book lists recommended Texas varieties and planting times better adapted to our climate. Most of Cotner's fertilizer/pesticide recommendations are chemical, so if you have organic leanings such as myself, you may want to get one of those Yankee organic books to go along with it. I'll second the suggestion for Wilhite seeds.

-- Steve - TX (, January 24, 2002.

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