Fall Vegetable Garden in Central Texas
During the fall, gardeners in Central Texas begin to see the temperatures cool down a little. After months of scorching hot weather, October and November offer up cool nights and bearable days. With a few minor preparations, a fall vegetable garden can be planted in late September or October.
Prepare the soil. Use a hoe or hand tiller to break up the soil several inches deep. The top three to six inches should be especially worked, so that seedlings can take root. Mix compost into the soil. If you don't compost, purchase bags of soiless potting mix in with the soil.
Select vegetables for your fall garden in Central Texas. Choose vegetables that are considered cool weather crops: broccoli, greens, peas, beans, and root vegetables. One less obvious choice is the tomato plant. Tomatoes suffer in the Texas summer sun, but tend to flourish if grown during the fall. For best results, plant your tomatoes in containers. If you plant tomatoes in a container, you can drag the pot into the garage or house during bad weather, and avoid losing your crops to a rare early frost.
Mulch all of the plants in the garden. Fall weather in Central Texas is still hot, and plants can suffer. Trap moisture around the roots by mulching with grass cuttings, straw, or another natural mulch. Avoid using pebbles, shredded rubber, or anything else that doesn't "breathe."
Water the plants regularly. If the ground is allowed to dry out between watering, the plants and vegetables will grow irregularly and may become diseased.
Plant all seedlings before November. If you plant after November 1, seedlings do not have ample time to grow and bear fruit before the the possible cold snaps arrive in January.
In the event of a rare freeze in Central Texas, be prepared to care for your seedlings and plants. Cover all plants with breathable coverings (like old bed sheets, cotton table clothes, pillow cases) overnight, and remove once the temperatures are above freezing.