Can we just tell you? We love the fall. Gardening in Houston in the fall is awesome. The temperatures are dropping, the pests are less problematic and the rain begins to return. Many Houstonians know and love spring gardening, but August often wipes out your garden and leaves you yearning for the days of garden tomatoes and fresh bell peppers. However, the fall can be full of bounty and super rewarding if done correctly.
After 21 years of growing in school gardens, we know what we like and we know what works for us. That is not to say that there are not other crops that you can grow and have great success with. There are so many options. The list we have compiled consists of crops that have high rates of germination, low pest problems and high yields. The truth is, though, the secret to a garden worthy of a magazine cover is not the seeds you choose. If you have nutrient-rich soil, 6-8 hours of full sun, appropriate space for each crop and daily water, your garden is more than half way there.
Once your garden is prepped, the difficult part begins: resisting the temptation to put every seed you purchase in the ground the first week of September. If you live in Houston, we don’t need to tell you…it is still hot in September. The ground is too hot for those sweet little baby seeds to germinate and result in a bountiful harvest. We often find that the last week in September is the earliest we have success. The first week in October has been a sweet spot for us in the past.
Below we have listed some of our favorite crops, when we plant them and if it is from seed or seedling (a small plant in a 4 inch pot). These are just general times that are typically OK, however, an early frost can sometimes affect the success of these crops. If a first freeze comes late, you may be able to plant seeds beyond these time windows. Read seed packet instructions for spacing, germination and harvest info.
Direct Sow (plant seed directly in garden)
- Radish: Late September through December
- Lettuce: October
- Carrots: October through Mid November
- Beets: Mid October through November
- Turnips: October through November
- Peas: Late September through Mid October
- Kale: October through November
- Spinach: Mid October through November
Transplant (purchase a small plant)
- Broccoli: October-Mid November
- Cauliflower: October-Mid November
- Cabbage: October-November
- Brussels Sprouts: October-November
Do you want Bluebonnets in your garden next Spring?
Fall is the time to sow bluebonnet seeds! Right before the first big rain in October, throw out your bluebonnet seeds in a well-draining open area of your garden.
No need to bury them, literally just toss them into your garden!