I know I'm new to vegetable gardening in the hill country, but I've lived in Texas all my life and I never dreamed that August would be the time to plant the Fall garden. It's crazy. I have no doubt that everything I am about to plant is going to catch on fire right there in the ground. How will those little babies not get scorched by the 100 degree heat and blistering sun? Alas, I will throw caution to the wind, ignore my instincts, and listen to the recommendations of the local people. After all, I am the one who couldn't get a single yellow squash out of my Spring garden! I need all the help I can get.
Last week I trekked over to my favorite feed store in Fredericksburg to purchase seed and bedding plants. This was after looking at a local nursery in Kerrville called the Plant Haus. It is a great nursery and I highly recommend it. I was able to buy some amazing looking tomato plants there, but they didn't have all of the other vegetables I wanted. So, I drove to Woerner Warehouse in Fredericksburg and hit the mother load! They were just unloading a truck full of vegetable transplants when I arrived. I was able to get everything I needed, short of butternut squash. They only had one tiny little squash plant and I need a lot. Anyway, I ordered some butternut squash, got a bit of seed, and loaded up on plants. Transplants are the way to go, especially if you're getting a late start like I am. I'm telling you, this Fall garden in August thing really bushwacked me! Purchasing plants that are already started buys you at least a month of time. Is it cheating? Absolutely not. You have to keep them alive just the same.
My Fall garden planting list (with respective planting dates):
Beets (September 1), Broccoli (August 1), Brussels Sprouts (August 1), Cabbage (August 1), Carrots (August 15), Cauliflower (July 1), Swiss Chard (August 15), Collard Greens (August 15), Eggplant (June 15), Garlic (August), Kohlrabi (September 1), Radish (October 1), Spinach (Spinach), Butternut Squash (July 1), Mustard Greens (October 1), and Tomaotes (June 15)
You can see how using transplants instead of seed enables me to plant a Fall garden. If I only had seed, I would be too late for all but a few!
As a gardener, you have to decide if you are going to follow the planting date recommendations of the nurseries or the recommendations based on the moon. The idea is to get everything planted so that you can harvest before the first frost, which in the hill country of Texas usually happens around the first of November. On the left hand side of the chalk board above are the dates based on the moon. I just happen to be planting my little plants according to the moon this time!
I had too much to fit in my car and had to send for help to get it all back to the garden!
The good, the bad, and the ugly- At any garden store it helps to be there right after the truck delivers the goods. It's just too difficult to keep all of the little peat pots watered this time of year and those babies can start to look rough pretty quick. The plants on the top shelf are not from the latest delivery and you can see that they have seen better days.
Sallie is watching guard over the new transplants. I made sure to give them some shade and water as soon as I got them home.
These are the raised beds where I usually plant herbs and greens. We cleaned out and composted all of the old stuff and trimmed up what is still good in order to make room for the new transplants for the Fall. Before we plant, we will add some shade cloth over these areas. This should especially help the basil and arugula.
Next gardening post will show the new transplants in the ground. Stay tuned!