Texas weather is a cruel mistress. From sheets of ice earlier in the year to extreme drought this summer, Fort Worth crops have been riding her emotional swings all year. Not surprising, I had no summer crop to speak of, although my mint, rosemary and lavender are thriving. I’ve been dreaming of cooler weather for a while, and planning my fall garden is keeping my spirits up.
For fall, I’m going to attempt seeds. After a lot of research, I’ve finally found a few seed companies that I can order from with confidence. The Texas AgriLife Extension actually tests seed varieties to see if they work in the unpredictable Texas weather. I’ve found some amazing resources to help with the planning:
- Free kitchen garden planning tool at Gardener’s Supply Company — This handy tool allows you to adjust your plot size and drag and drop items into place. As you place veggies, the site automatically supplies you with planting instructions and helpful hints. (The main art above is my plot using this tool.)
- Vegetable seed sources for Texas gardeners, care of Texas AgriLife Extension
- A fall seed planting schedule for all regions of Texas, care of Texas AgriLife Extension
- Guide to recommended vegetable varieties for Texas with links to possible sources, also from Texas AgriLife Extension
I also consulted one of the master gardeners affiliated with the Fairmount Community Garden, where my little garden resides, to get some advice on the hot weather. She gave the green light to start planting seeds. For seedlings, however, she recommended using shade cloth to act as a barrier between the sun and the plant or just waiting out the 100-degree temps.
I’m so excited to order seeds this weekend. My picks for fall are fava beans, spinach, cress, lettuce, beets, kohlrabi, winter squash, carrots, bok choy, Swiss chard, kale and leeks. Some of these won’t be ready until spring, but that’s okay. I’m also going to pick up some herb seedlings—probably sage, chives and thyme—when the temperatures come back down to a livable number. I’m hoping I can find some decent plants despite the harsh summer we’ve had.
What are you planting for fall?