La Feria News

The Valley’s fall gardening season begins now

By ANN JOHNSTON
LFN

We are into our second growing season for our Lower Rio Grande Valley. Since our climate allows us two gardening seasons, let’s see what you can plant now and why.

Why plant in the fall? First off, the soil is warmer and often softer than in the early spring. Also, seed and plant roots can grow well. In addition, many perennials, seeds and vegetables need the cooler temperatures for growth. And, finally, there are often fewer insects.

Last chance for growing cucumbers for your winter pickle stash. Photos: Ann Johnston / LFN

Barbara Storz has compiled a wonderful chart of planting dates and days to maturity for Valley vegetable gardeners. She advises the following:

Big hint: Some vegetables need to be planted before the end of September!

They are: beans, Brussel sprouts, celery, melons, eggplants, leek, peas, peppers, squash and tomatoes. That means plant NOW!

Corn and okra are some of the few vegetables that aren’t recommended for planting and growing in the fall.

Hint: Stagger your planting with a few planted every two weeks to have a harvest that is spread out.

Suggestion: Beets and cauliflower can be planted from now until the end of October.

Suggestion: From now until Christmas, our true winter crops can be planted. Again, stagger the planting to spread out your harvest. These crops are: broccoli, carrots, dill, kale, bok choy, cilantro, endive, lettuces, cabbage, collard greens, fennel, mustard greens, onion, parsley, radishes, Swiss chard, spinach and turnips.

Tomatoes and peppers of all types need to be planted NOW. Finding small plants or “starts” for planting now is a better choice than starting with seeds.

Look for: Watch to see what is growing in the Valley fields. Keep a gardening journal of these dates to help you plan for next year. Also, look online for the Lower Rio Grande Valley vegetable growing chart.

Come through the Garden Gate next week for more gardening hints, suggestions and things to look for in our area.

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