While much of the rest of the country is still buried under a blanket of snow, Central Texas is emerging from the coldest days of winter. This is the ideal time to plant cool season vegetables, before the hot summer sun makes conditions too unpleasant for these tenderer vegetables. Though some areas may still see frost at night in January, gardeners can plant many vegetables to harvest in April and May.
Plant broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower in January in Central Texas. For best results, set transplants about 1 foot apart. Protect very young tender plants from freezes with cold caps or garden fabric designed to shield plants from frost. Once the plants are established they will stand up to light frost. Warm days will cause the plants to bolt and flower.
Sow seeds for beets, carrots, radish and turnips by the last week in January. Sow seed 3 inches apart and thin to 6 inches apart by removing smaller seedlings. This will encourage development of larger roots. Root vegetables need soil that is free of rocks and other obstructions.
Chard, collards, kale, lettuce, mustard and spinach can all be direct-sown with seed in January in Central Texas. Water the seed well and thin as sprouts emerge. These sprouts are edible. When heat and sun intensify in spring, extend the life of the crop by shielding it with shade cloth, but summer's heat will cause these plants to go to seed.
Leeks and Onions
Transplant leeks and onions into the garden in February. Plant seedlings or "sets" of both bulb and green onions. Harvest green onions at any stage and bulbing onions after the tops yellow and die back.
English, sugar snap and snow peas are all cool-season crops in Central Texas. Sow in January and every two weeks through mid-February to ensure successive crops. The seeds may be slow to germinate, but once out of the ground will grow quickly. Most varieties need a trellis or some support.
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