A year of gardening in Central Texas is filled with joy and excitment. It is also full of surprises due to its unprdictable weather. The challenges gardeners face change on a monthly basis.
January in the garden:
January is usually the most beautiful month in the vegetable garden. Crops are reaching maturity and harvest is at its peak. It is not the busiest time of the year, though, unless your are starting your seeds indoors.
Harvest beets, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, leafy greens, turnips, and carrots. Fresh herbs such as parsley, cilantro, and celery are also wonderful straight from the garden.
Direct sow broad beans, peas, lettuce more root crops.
Plant another round of brassicas and leafy greens, if you have enough space for early spring planting that is.
Start indoors tomatoes and peppers. They will be the first to go in the ground in early spring. Start them now to have strong transplants for March planting.
February in the garden
Keep Harvesting beets, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, leafy greens, turnips, and carrots. If you haven’t planted the second round in January, these might be the last bits of the garden.
Direct sow potatoes.
Plant more leafy greens, if you have enough space for early spring planting that is.
Start indoors peppers, eggplants, and basil.
March in the garden
This is the time wild flowers start showing up quick growth. Vining peas are filling up the trellis and blooming prolifically.
Plant your tomatoes as soon as there is no threat of frost. But be prepared for any sudden changes in the weather. March is notorious for sudden hail storms, heavy rain, or cold fronts, so be prepared. Use good quality row cover to protect plants in case temperatures drop below 50F (10C).
If you choose to, this is a good time to start summer squash and cucumbers indoors. It is better to direct sow them in the ground, but starting them early gives you a head start.
Harvest peas and what’s left from the winter garden and prepare the beds for warm-season planting.
April in the garden
April is one of the most beautiful months in the garden. It is full life since the bees, butterflies, and all sorts of flying creatures turn it into a party place. Once again, stay aware of the weather since Spring is an unstable season in Central Texas.
Plant peppers, eggplants, squash, and cucumbers. These are all warm-season crops that will produce abundantly before the peak of Summer.
Direct sow green beans, summer squash, cantaloupe and basil.
Harvest garlic, leeks, parsley, cilantro, broad beans, fennel, and celery.
May in the garden
Many perennials and annuals are blooming this time of the year, and Summer is right around the corner. Tomatoes are setting fruits along with peppers and eggplants.
Sometimes peppers and eggplants take time to bloom, but they will eventually.
Watch out for squash vine borer, which the killer of our summer squash.
Keep training green beans and cucumber up on their trellis.
Leave cilantro, parsley, and fennel to bloom. Swallow-tail butterflies will feed on them and lay their eggs.
June in the garden
The heat is here, and the Summer season is about to kick in. The bounty of the garden is still going, and maybe it’s at its peak. Everything is producing at this point; tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, zucchini, and greens beans are all loaded.
Now it is the time to direct sow okra, pumpkins, and melons.
This is also the time when pests thrive. Be on the lookout for aphids, spider mites, and stink bugs.
Don’t forget to monitor your watering and keep it on a schedule. Infrequent deep watering is better than many shallow watering.
Harvest potatoes and onions. Allow to air dry before storing in a dry, cool, and dark place.
July in the garden
The rising heat and lack of rain are bringing the garden to a lull. Peppers and cucumbers are slowing down, while green beans and eggplants are trying to keep up.
Tomatoes are coming to a halt. If you planted determinate tomatoes, cut them back to a third. This will allow them to refresh and have a fresh start in the fall. However, determinate tomatoes are done for the season. Pull them out and replace them with new plants.
Direct sow the second round of cucumbers, zucchini, and greens beans for fall harvest. Maintain pumpkins, eggplants, and okra which may be setting fruits.
Harvest green beans and okra regularly to encourage continuous production. Melons should be ready for harvest too.
Enjoy summer flowers and make some arrangements for your enjoyment. Zinnias, basil, passion flower, blue butterfly pea and sunflowers are at their of bloom.
August in the garden
Some plants might need some sun protection such as tomatoes and peppers. Giving them some shade will help them renew their energy to for the fall production.
Harvest parsley, cilantro, and fennel seeds.
Plant summer potatoes for winter harvest. However this is not the main potato crops, the yield won’t be as good as spring harvest.
Some gardeners like to start cauliflower and broccoli seeds indoors at this time too. In this case, make sure that they are heat-tolerant varieties.
September in the garden
Most of the time, the hot weather is not showing any weakness. Keep watering the garden regularly.
Tomatoes are coming back to life, and a few blooms might be showing. Give them a boost of seaweed fertilizer to make them happy.
If you planted another round of cucumbers and beans, keep them well-watered and give them some shade. Little seedlings have a hard time under the harsh sun.
Start indoors cool-season crops such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, and leafy greens.
October in the garden
October is the time life comes back to the garden. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, green beans, okra, squashes, and melons are the joy of the fall garden.
If the temperatures are blow 90F (32C), it is cool enough to plant fall crops.
Direct sow carrots, lettuce, beets, turnips, parsley, cilantro and fennel.
November in the garden
Every year is different in central Texas. Fall is another unstable season for the garden. Switching between hot and cool days is somewhat challenging at times for the gardener.
Plant cool-season crops and keep harvesting warm-season crops.
December in the garden
Winters are mild in central Texas with occasional freezes. Every now an d then, harsh weather conditions may occur and cause damage but that is not the norm.
This time of year, cool-season crops are making it to the table bringing comfort to the family.
During the winter break, gardeners plan the coming season. It is a great time to go through the garden journal and note what changes to make for the following year.