Fall Garden Vegetables in Texas
The fall garden planting schedule in Texas is different in different parts of the state. However, the same kinds of vegetables can be grown in all Texas fall vegetable gardens. Warm season vegetables such as tomatoes must be started in July for fall harvest, but some vegetables have a shorter time to maturity and thrive in cooler fall weather.
The best characteristic of broccoli is the ability to withstand light freezes and the unpredictable Texas fall weather. The new sprouts can be eaten after the plants are thinned to 8-12 inches apart. Broccoli likes extra nitrogen in the soil so supplemental nitrogen must be added to the soil every few weeks for a good crop. This is important because nitrogen becomes less available in cool soil. Major pests of broccoli are the harlequin bug controlled with pyrethin products or cabbage worms controlled with spinosad or Bt.
Green beans have a short window to maturity so they can be planted 75 days before the first average frost date. They actually taste better after exposure to a few cool nights, but will die if they are unprotected during a freeze. Major problems for green beans are hungry deer and rabbits. Another problem is a disease called rust that lives in the soil and affects the leaves of bean plants. For control, practice crop rotation and good garden sanitation. Don't leave old bean plants in the garden after the season is over.
Summer squash such as zucchini and yellow squash matures in 60 days and cannot take freezing temperatures. However, it makes a good fall crop if planted early enough so it can bloom and produce in the warmer days of October. Winter squash takes 100 days to maturity, so it must be planted in June or July in most parts of the state. However, the fruit of winter squash can be stored for months in a cool (45-60 degrees F) and dry location. Summer squash begins to deteriorate after a few weeks. A major pest is the squash bug controlled with pyrethin products applied in the evening when there is no bee activity.
Cucumbers mature in 60-75 days and are frost sensitive. They are a garden favorite and usually produce in abundance. Cucumbers can be canned or processed and stored in jars for long term storage. Major cucumber pests are the fall armyworm and cabbage looper. They can be controlled with spinosad or Bt.
Carrot seeds take 30-45 days to germinate in cool soil. However, they thrive in very cool temperatures including a light snowfall. They like loose deep garden soil with lots or organic matter. Space carrots three-four inches apart. If carrots are crowded they can become stunted or deformed. The major carrot pest is the wire worm. Control by using crop rotation and good garden sanitation such as removing all old plants after the season is over.