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Texas

Local Gardening Info

 

Vegetable Gardening in Texas

This geographic area includes most of Texas. Residents of the High Plains will find information on the Central Great Plains pages useful and residents of Far West Texas will find information on the Southwest Deserts pages useful.

Planting of cool season crops such as lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, collards, kale, Swiss chard, beets, carrots, and peas begins in January or February, depending on the last frost date for each area, and continues into March. Spring brings great gardening weather and warm season crops such as tomatoes, beans, Southern peas, corn, peppers, eggplant, okra, squash, cucumbers, and melons can be planted. Summer gardening can be more challenging with high temperatures for 8-10 weeks, but warm season plants continue to grow and produce. Fall planting of both cool and warm season crops begins in August or September in much of the state with cool season crop planting as late as December, especially in the South. In warmer areas, some plants grow through the Winter though protection from freezing may be needed, depending on the variety and location.

Texas spans five hardiness zones based on average low Winter temperatures, and so planting dates and recommended varieties vary be region. These two charts show average Spring and Fall planting dates for each of the five hardiness zones. More precise information can be found below for specific areas of the state.

Texas Vegetable Gardening Information

Spring Planting Dates for Texas Regions

Fall Planting Dates for Texas Regions

Recommended Vegetable Varieties for Texas

Heirloom Vegetable Varieties Recommended for Texas

Regional Planting Dates

Planting Dates for North Texas (Provided by North Haven Gardens)

Planting Dates for North Central Texas

Growing Tomatoes on the Texas High Plains

Planting Dates for East Texas (Tyler Area)

Spring Planting Dates for Bexar County/San Antonio

Fall Planting Dates & Varieties for Hill Country, San Antonio, Laredo & South (If you aren't able to open this file in Firefox, right click the link and click "Save Link As". Save it to your computer and then double click the file to view it with Acrobat.)

Regional Texas A&M Vegetable Variety Recommendations

Recommended Vegetable Varieties For North Central Texas

Evaluation of Tomato Varieties for West Texas

Suggested Fruit & Nut Varieties for Bexar County/San Antonio

Upper Rio Grande Vegetable Variety Recommendations

Southeast Texas Vegetable Variety Recommendations

Central Coast Vegetabe Variety Recommendations

Southeast Texas Vegetabe Variety Recommendations

Rio Grande Valley Vegetabe Variety Recommendations

Texas Panhandle & High Plains Vegetabe Variety Recommendations

Northeast & East Texas Vegetabe Variety Recommendations

North & Central Texas Vegetabe Variety Recommendations

Hill Country Vegetabe Variety Recommendations

 

The Central and South Texas area includes the Edwards Plateau and Hill County, Cross Timbers, the South Texas Plains, the Blackland Prairies, the Post Oak Savannah, the Piney Woods, and the Gulf Coast Plains.

The Northwestern half of the Edwards Plateau is a relatively flat, elevated plateau that is largely savannah with scattered trees and mid to short grasslands. The area has a moderate temperature and reasonably long growing season. Rainfall is low with the most occurring in May, June, and September. Winter snow is rare and usually melts within 24 hours. The average last spring frost is usually in late March and the earliest frost in autumn is in mid-November. The Edwards Plateau isn't a major agricultural area because of its shallow soil, but valleys in the Northeast have deeper soils and an area in the Northwest adjacent to the High Plains has deep, black soils. Some farming is done in these areas including cotton, grain sorghum, and oats.

Texas Hill Country is in the Eastern part of the Edwards Plateau. The area is noted for its tall to rolling hills with limestone and granite rocks. Elevations range from under 1000 feet to about 2600 feet. It is in a transition zone between humid and semi-arid climates and has both wet and dry years. Hill Country is known for growing delicious peaches, especially in the Fredericksburg area in Gillespie County and the Stonewall and Johnson City/Round Mountain areas in Blanco County. The Medina, Mason, and South Llano areas are known for their apples.

 

Larger towns include Sonora, Junction, Menard, Mason, Llano, Fredericksburg, Johnson City, Kerrville, Bandera, and western portions of Austin.

Cross Timbers is in North-central Texas, central Oklahoma, and Southeastern Kansas. Early travelers through the area coined the name "Cross Timbers" after repeated crossings of these timbered areas that were a barrier to travel on the open prairies to the East and West.  It is a transition area between the prairie, now a winter wheat growing region, to the West, and the forested low mountains of eastern Oklahoma. It includes areas with a high density of trees and irregular plains and prairies with grassland and scattered oak trees. Soils are primarily sandy to loamy. Rainfall can be moderate, but somewhat erratic, therefore moisture is often limited during part of the growing season. There are small areas of cropland with peanuts, grain sorghum, small grains, hay, cotton, and peaches.

Larger towns include Sapulpa, Shawnee, Ada, Duncan, Ardmore, Denton, Fort Worth, and Arlington.

The South Texas Plains are an area of semi-arid grassland with areas of thorny brush. It has hot summers and mild winters. Most rain is in the Spring and Fall. The region has some agriculture with corn, cotton, small grains, and vegetables.

Larger towns and cities include Uvalde, Del Rio, Ciudad Acuña, Eagle Pass, Piedras Negras, Sabinas, Laredo, Nuevo Laredo, Sabinas Hidalgo, Cadereyta, and Monterey.

The Blackland Prairie spans an area in eastern Texas from from near the Oklahoma border to San Antonio. It also includes the separate Fayette Prairie region to the Southeast. The Blackland Prairies region is named for its deep, fertile, black soils. The region was once covered with tall grasses. Because of the fertile soils, much of the original prairie has been plowed to produce food and forage crops. May is the peak rainfall month for the Northern part of the region. However, the South-central section has a fairly uniform rainfall distribution throughout the year. In most years the moderate rainfall is adequate for crops and pastures, but summer droughts that reduce crop yields are common.

About 40 percent of the area is cropland. Cotton and grain sorghum are the major crops. Other principal crops are small grain, corn, soybeans, and hay crops. Wheat and soybeans are important local crops in the North and corn is an important crop in the South. Native pecan orchards are common along the flood plains.

Larger cities include Sherman, Dallas, Waco, Temple, Austin, San Marcos, and San Antonio.

The Post Oak Savannah begins at the convergence of the Piney Woods and Blackland Prairie in the northeast and stretches down past the Brazos River Valley to include the space between Austin and Houston. It is level to gently rolling to hilly and includes oak savannah with patches of oak woodland interspersed with grassland. The region has a mild, humid subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters. The greatest monthly rainfall is usually in May or June. There are a few areas of cropland with hay, grain sorghum, corn, and wheat.

Larger towns and cities include Paris, Clarksville, Sulphur Springs, Mt. Pleasant, Athens, Buffalo, Hearne, Bryan, College Station, Caldwell, Giddings, Bastrop, Luling, Gonzales, and Beeville.

The Piney Woods in East Texas have a rolling terrain covered with pines and oaks, and rich bottomlands with tall hardwoods. Rainfall is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year and humidity and temperatures are typically high. This region's soils and climate are adaptable to the production of a variety of fruit and vegetable crops. Cropland dominates the leveed bottomlands of the Red River, with crops of cotton, corn, soybeans, rice, and pasture and hay land. Farms are relatively small in size compared to the state average.

Major towns and cities include Arkadelphia, Pine Bluff, Hope, Camden, Magnolia, El Dorado, Texarkana, Longview, Tyler, Nacogdoches, Lufkin, Shreveport, Minden, Ruston, Natchitoches, Alexandria, DeRidder, and Oakdale.

The Gulf Coast Plain region is a nearly level, slowly drained plain less than 150 feet in elevation, crossed by streams and rivers flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. It includes barrier islands along the coast, salt grass marshes surrounding bays and estuaries, a few tall grass prairies, and oak parklands along the coast, and tall woodlands in the river bottom lands. The Gulf Coast Plain has a mild, humid subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters. Rainfall is distributed fairly uniformly throughout the year. The growing season is usually more than 300 days, with high humidity and warm temperatures. Much of the region is in cropland with rice, soybeans, sugarcane, cotton, corn, grain sorghum, wheat, and hay. Vegetables, melons, and citrus are grown in the south.

Larger cities include Lafayette, Crowley, Lake Charles, Port Arthur, Beaumont, Houston, Galveston, Victoria, Corpus Christi, Kingsville, McAllen, Reynosa, Ciudad Rio Bravo, Brownsville, Matamoros, San Fernando.

Hill Country

 

Hill Country Gardening

Texas Hill Country is a 25 county area in the Southeastern part of the Edwards Plateau in central and South Texas. It reaches into Northern San Antonio and Southwestern Austin. Larger towns include Sonora, Junction, Menard, Mason, Llano, Fredericksburg, Johnson City, Kerrville, Bandera, and western portions of Austin.

Hill Country has hot summers and warm winters and a longer growing season than most of the United States. Average yearly rainfall is 30 inches but, because it is a transition zone between more humid areas to the East and arid areas to the West, rainfall varies greatly with periods of drought followed by torrential downpours.

Travis/County Austin Planting Dates:

View Travis County/Austin Planting Dates

Vegetable varieties that do well in Hill Country:

Vegetable Varieties for Bell County

Hill Country soils are often shallow and it may be necessary to import soil. Raised beds are often used. Adding organic matter such as compost, manure, partially decomposed leaves and hay, etc., is helpful because it allows the soil to hold water and nutrients, improves air circulation, and encourages soil microorganisms. Soils in Hill Country tend to be alkaline because there is less rain and organic matter will help reduce soil alkalinity. Plants growing in shallow soil will need more frequent watering. In deeper soils, watering deeply will encourage deep roots and make them better able to survive dry weather.

Mulching a garden by spreading a layer of organic material such as straw, leaves, or bark over the soil has many benefits. It helps moderate soil temperature changes in hot and cold weather and helps keep the soil from dying out which also reduces water runoff. Mulching reduces weeds and protects leaves and fruits by keeping them off of the soil. Deer are an ongoing problem and fencing is usually needed to protect plants.

Local Information Source

Dr. Tom Harris teaches classes about fruit and vegetable gardening in Hill Country. For more information, see his website, Hill Country Gardener. Click the "Questions?" button at the top to ask him any question about gardening.

Visit Hill Country Gardener Website

Dallas

 

Dallas Gardening Info

Planting Dates for North Texas (Provided by North Haven Gardens)

Dallas Fruit and Vegetable Gardening Blog

Dallas Fruit and Vegetable Grower

North Texas Vegetable Gardeners Blog

Austin

 

Austin Resources

Austin Organic Gardeners Planting Calendar

Fall Planting Dates for Central Texas by Tim Miller of Millberg Farm

Austin Organic Gardeners Blog

Local Austin Organizations

Austin Sustainable Food Center

Coalition of Austin Community Gardens

 

 

Houston

 

Houston Urban Harvest

Urban Harvest conducts education programs in Houston area schools, supports more than 100 local farmers and vendors through farmers markets, offers classes on gardening and sustainability, and has transformed abandoned lots into community gardens.

Urban Harvest Website

Local Gardening Information

Houston Vegetable Gardening Blogs

Houston Gardening Tips by Sparki

Houston Vegetable Garden by Robert Hermes

San Antonio

 

San Antonio Vegetable Planting Dates & Recommended Varieties

Spring Planting Dates for Bexar County/San Antonio

Fall Planting Dates & Varieties for Hill Country, San Antonio, Laredo & South (If you aren't able to open this file in Firefox, right click the link and click "Save Link As". Save it to your computer and then double click the file to view it with Acrobat.)

Suggested Fruit & Nut Varieties for Bexar County/San Antonio

San Antonio Community Gardens

San Antonio Food Bank Community Garden

San Antonio Community Gardens

San Antonio Community Gardens Blog