Texas gardening and producing vegetable varieties is a challenge, but very rewarding. You want to grow disease resistance, high yield and early to maturity vegetables. What spring vegetables to grow in Texas? The less time in the garden from planting to harvest, the less you have to worry about factors that can damage your crop.
- Disease and insect pests such as moth larva, to field mice and even wild rabbits.
- Watering and extreme summer heat prematurely ending harvest.
Successful garden harvest requires a few steps, but is not very difficult. Here are a few tips as you get ready for this gardening season.
Sunlight and more of it is the rule of thumb, therefore vegetable gardens require lots of sunlight. Some vegetables, like lettuce and cabbage, and root crops such as carrots and turnips, can grown in partial shade. The majority of vegetables like beans, okra, tomatoes, and other fruiting vegetables should have at least 8 to 10 hours of direct sun. This will be enough for healthy plants and maximize your harvest.
Vegetables To Grow During The Spring
- In March Plant: spinach, radishes, lettuce, through mid April.
- Late March Also plant snap beans, cucumbers, sweet corn, lima beans, mustard, tomatoes, and squash when soil temperatures are warm enough for each variety.
- During April: tomatoes, snap beans, radishes, cucumbers, corn, lima beans, mustard, peppers and squash.
- Late April plant: watermelon, southern peas, okra, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, eggplant, and pumpkin.
- Ending in May: Finish planting black-eyed peas, cantaloupe, cucumber, eggplant, green beans (pole or bush type), okra, peppers, pumpkin, sweet corn, sweet potato, squash and watermelon.
- Plant perennial herbs in prepared soil or containers anytime during the spring.
Water all your plants when they’re dry, however with new plantings can quickly dry out in persistent spring winds. Use 3 – 4 inches of mulch on all flower, shrub and vegetable beds to help retain moisture.
The best soils are rich in nutrients and highly organic. Gardening, it is recommended to constantly add compost and other organic matter to your soil. To warm your soil
- Soils in Texas can be low in some nutrients, particularly nitrogen, potassium, and sometimes calcium and magnesium. Soil tests usually indicate adequate, or even high levels of certain elements, which can be detrimental at excessive levels.
- Phosphorus is important for seedling and transplant establishment of plants and can be supplied to individual transplant.
- Soil pH – Most vegetables grow best with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. I. Poor growth and disappointing yields result from acidic soils. Some Texas soils can be strongly acidic, but can be corrected by adding lime to raise the pH to a sustainable level. How much lime is required? Depends on both your soil type and the actual pH of your soil. Soil Test for the correct levels.
As mentioned above have your soil tested by a reputable soil testing lab. There a few ways to get your soil tested.
- Every county AgriLife Extension office has the information needed to submit a soil sample to the Texas AgriLife Extension Soil Testing Lab in College Station. The report from your soil analysis will tell you exactly what and how much, if anything, you need to add.
- Your local nurseries might offer free soil test, as well as you can purchase a soil test from them or your local Home Depot or Lowes.
Be sure to take several random samples from your garden spot, thoroughly mixed together, for the test.
For every type of vegetable there are dozens, even hundreds, of varieties to choose from. Find out what varieties are recommended for your specific area. Contact local nurseries or check with gardeners at a farmers market.
Most crops should mature before the very hot weather arrives. The exceptions are okra, southern peas and sweet potatoes which require warmer weather. Crops need to be planted as early as possible,and usually starts in early to the middle of March. It is also wise to wait until the soil has warmed to the upper 60’s or low 70’s before planting seed of warm‑season vegetables.