Gardeners in northern Texas can be proud of the fact that they can practice vegetable gardening all year long in the state. While this means a greater variety of vegetables can be grown, it also means these vegetables must be protected from the weather and northern Texas wildlife. Northern Texas is in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 and 7, which means cold nights and hot, dry summer afternoons. Vegetable growers in this area should know the basics of how to protect their crops in order to produce the best yields possible.
Protect From Cold
Select a row cover fabric that is approximately 1.2 oz. per square yard to cover your vegetables with. Place this fabric directly over the top of the garden very loosely, leaving around 6 inches of fabric at the top of the plant.
Secure the fabric at ground level by driving a tent stake through the material. Pound the stake into the ground with a mallet until the head of the stake is sticking up just above the ground. Use one tent stake for every 4 feet in length of fabric.
Remove the row cover during the day provided temperatures are at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Pull the tent stakes up out of the ground and lay the fabric aside. Replace the fabric in the early evening or if temperatures dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place a string of holiday lights around potted containers, taking care not to let the lights touch the plants themselves. String the lights around the base of the containers or in a straight line that is 2 inches above the top of the vegetable plants. Leave these lights burning at all times to raise the temperature of the air and soil.
Protect From Wildlife
Repel deer from your garden by placing a few chunks of bath soap throughout the garden. Concentrate on the perimeter of the garden, placing a dime-sized chunk every foot or so. Grate the bar of soap into small flakes with a hand-held grater and scatter these between rows.
Plant vegetables in raised beds in order to repel rabbits and gophers. Prepare a bed at least 18 inches high with thick landscape beams. Attach a fine-meshed hardware cloth to the bottom of the bed before placing dirt in it; this will keep gophers from tunneling underneath.
Place moth balls around your garden to repel skunks and squirrels. Scatter a few moth balls in an area that is 2 to 3 feet from the perimeter of your garden. Sprinkle moth flakes along the perimeter if you do not have access to moth balls.
Provide afternoon shade to your vegetables during the months of July and August. Plant vegetables in an area that is around 4 feet long and 4 feet wide so that you can easily place a shade canopy such as those used for camping and picnics over the plants in the afternoon.
Remove container vegetables from direct sun in the afternoon. Place them in a partially shaded area or bring them indoors. Bring the plants back outside in late afternoon to early evening.
Add a thick layer of light-colored mulch to your vegetables. Use a material such as pine straw, hay or white plastic mulch to aid with water retention and reflect the sun's rays away from your garden.