By: Debbie Pinkerton, Gill Landscape Nursery
Growing food is all the trend as farmers markets, farm to table restaurants, and the phrase “locally grown” gives credit that the food will be the freshest available! But to grow your own? Even better!
Fall is about the best time to grow food and especially true if you are new to South Texas gardening. Days are getting shorter, a little cooler (don’t laugh), less bugs, and less problems. Selections are virtually endless. Beans, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, all kinds of greens, carrots, turnips; and the list goes on! You’ll be amazed at how delicious and easy food gardening can be!
Top to plant now? Tomatoes and peppers. Both of these need the warm days and will appreciate cool nights. There are tons of tomato varieties. Celebrity & Tycoon are favorites for slicing; Sweet 100 & Juliet are delicious cherry tomatoes. The best pepper to plant? You can’t go wrong with a jalapeno or serrano. Good flavor, usually not too hot, & great for salsa. A great way to check how hot a pepper is; cut the top off enough to catch a little of the pepper core. Place the core top on your tongue. You will know how mild or hot it is and how much to use.
Mid-September and it’s time to start planting cool weather veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, lettuce, cabbage, turnips, beets, spinach, kale, and a garden of culinary herbs. Don’t be afraid to try your hand at planting by seed. Botanical Interest is a fantastic seed company, all non-GMO with great organic varieties. For a full list of the best edibles for fall, you can find more on our website. www.gillnursery.com
Do you need a large planting space? Not at all! A 4×8 space with at least half a day sun is plenty for a family of 4. Water troughs and large pots make great planters for food.
Help your soil to help your plants. Adding compost, dried molasses, and organic fertilizer to new and existing garden areas will feed the soil microbes that also feed your plants. Our favorite compost is Natures’ Blend Compost by Back To Nature. If you are planting in containers, use a good potting mix.
Plan to water and fertilize with a good organic fertilizer. We love Medina Hasta Gro, Espoma Plant-Tone, and Bio-Tone fertilizer. Find more details about watering and care of your garden through out the fall season on our website.
The most important part? Have fun gardening. Enjoy your harvest!