When to plant

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

I know that seeing buds on the mesquite means that it won't frost again, but can you really plant tomato plants and squash seeds then? What if it doesn't get down to 32*, but maybe 37*. Will that damage them?

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Sybram,
Most people have already started their tomato plants indoors, and have just been waiting on the weather to settle down before transplanting them outside.

You can plant your seedlings outside if you protect them under a hoop. I use for 4-6 mil clear plastic sheeting over PVC pipes that are bent over my raised beds. if we get any more temperature dips down below 38 degrees, I will throw light weight blankets over the hoops. you can also put some lights under the hoop for warmth, or, you can put a small space heater underneath. the goal is to keep the soil warm overnight. Once the Sun comes up in the morning, you can pull back the plastic so you don't fry the seedlings from the heat of the Sun

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

Oh my, Gymgirl. I'm afraid I don't have nearly the time nor the inclination to invest in an operation like yours. I'm so glad I didn't try to start things early with my grow light Christmas presents. It would have been an exercise in frustration and futility, since I have nowhere to keep them warm. I do plan to start some things in June/July to set out in the fall, though.

My garden spot is pretty protected, so I don't think I'll have to wait too long to plant this spring.

Thanks for your response.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

sybram,
my tomatoes have been in the ground since February 14th. They survived the 2 weeks of snow, ice, wind and temperatures in the 20sF
Off course under protections. They have started to make little green fruits already.
Still, they will need protection until the end of the month. The wind will start soon and sometimes it could do more damages than the cold.
Squashes are not as hardy as the tomatoes.
I have started mine indoors and they will be transplanted out end of March.
happy gardening !

Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

Texas does have another cold spell predicted at Springs beginning, but 34 won't hurt the plants as long as they are protected from the winds! Just traditional cold front. Luck Sybram

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I remember just about 3 years ago, we had a hard freeze for a string of 3 days after the mesquite trees had started blooming. Almost lost all my tomato plants.

Rancho Santa Rita, TX(Zone 8a)

I have been starting tomato seeds, not all on day.

I start in jiffy pellets in trays, them trot the trays outside on nice days & bring in when the weather is predicted to be nasty.

I I have heard that willows wont sprout leaves till winter is past.

Another folk theory in north Tx is that there is still a chance of freeze until Easter.

Anyone know is direct planting sunflowers will be ok now ?

Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

Not at home, sunflowers should go in abt the same as maters, cover if cold, windy spells due- 2wks before last frost date...

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

BajaBlue
my sunflowers have started to germinate outside since 2-3 weeks ago.
They are re-seeding from last year !

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

Tesas gardeners really have to be tough, huh?

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

One thing to keep in mind also is soil temps. Some plants are more particular then others I don't know if squash seeds would even germinate if the soil temps are under 70*.

Remember TX is a very large state with many micro climates. I have never had a better or larger harvest by planting out before April. I don't have time to cover and uncover my plants either but I grow at least 50 tomato plants. It's not worth the extra work and I have never got tomatoes more then a week earlier even if I planted out a month early.

The humidity is lower here too, then a lot of TX. Nobody in my area is even thinking about planting in their garden....we have had freezes into May. My large lower garden might freeze but the one closer to the house and abt 6' higher won't.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Wow, 1lisac,
I didn't realize our micro climes were so different. You don't plant out before April, and I'm scrambling to get my tomatoes in by the second week of February, since I grow long-season, indeterminate beefsteaks, with an average of 85-100 DTMs. Starting that early under protection lets me start harvesting in mid-May through the end of June or mid-July.

I've decided I can't take that summertime heat and enjoy it (unless I'm in a pool, LOL!). So, trying to keep tomato vines going past July is a total bust for me. The vines are ratty, the stinkbugs have moved in with a vengeance, and the sun is frying everything. Plus, I'm just throwing good water away.

My strategy is to start new tomato seedlings in June, for a fall plant out in August, and a harvest from mid-November to mid-December.

All this is contingent upon cooperation from the weather, of course!

Linda

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

I guess I leave in the "lucky" part of TX.
My tomatoes are already making green fruits and it looks like a good tomato season.
I am harvesting lettuce and green onions.
I am hardening off: cukes, squash, melons, peppers and eggplants to be plant out I hope next week.
I need to get everything in the ground soon.
I will be gone almost for 1 + month after Easter ... coming home for just a few days mid month !!!

happy gardening !

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

drthor, so everything will be on it's own while you're gone, or do you have someone baby-sitting your garden?

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

I'm with you 1lisac. Although I really admire the dedication and consistancy shown by those who can start their plants indoors under controlled temps, etc. and be ever vigilant about covering when needed, that style just doesn't lend itself to my way of life. Too many irons in the fire to be successfully devote myself that. Some day, maybe.

Drthor, I'm right on the line between between 8a and 7b, so I'm wondering if our weather is about the same. Seems that even though we have had no really hard freezes down in the teens as we do sometimes, we've had soooo many times into the 20's. Seems unusual, but maybe that's just my poor memory at play here.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I do start my peppers and tomato plants inside. I just don't plant out until April. When there were milder winters i planted out in March but not when the weather is like this. I have lost my entire garden when there was an unpredicted freeze.

I feel like I live in the lucky part of TX. My plants produce all summer long without any extra work. I have found that having some shade really helps too. I grow tomatoes with long and short DTMS. I'm also very rural no fences to hold heat or block the winds. With a family (2 teenagers) and a job I only have so much time for the garden but I've lived here over 20+ years and always have a very productive garden.

I guess my main point is that TX is a huge state so there is no one size fits all.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Yep, what 1lisac just said..

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

sybram
my husband will take care of my plants on my first trip, then a friend ... let's keep finger crossed.
happy gardening

Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

Thats the difference tween Dallas and Fw. Dallas has a more temperate wetter humidity (Irving) protected by board fences and lots of neighbors and trees. FW (Burleson) you are still on the edge of the west Tx desert plains and that is windy cool nights. Like their industries they are polar opposites temperate wise.
Lisa lives in a zone challenged redundency, chuckl. It is SO different how many altitude and geographical areas there are across here. It feels so good to be HOME! Wish I had some of GG' s sold off tomato plants...

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Thank Kitt, that's why I feel we need to be careful when giving garden advise,. What works for one will not work for all. I always considered Dallas and Ft Worth to be one in the same, they are close to each other but even they have drastically different climates.

If in doubt plant it!

Fort Worth, TX

My garden will be burnt up by mid June except for what I put on the aquaponic tray on the pond and a lot of plants don't do well there, so I have to start early to get anything. I have 8 inch heritage tomatoes starting to bloom, will put them on the pond try tomorrow. They hardened off in the shade of my little oak today

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Gypsi
i am in the same situation.
Long beans and Okra do very well in out summer heat !
Happy gardening!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Kitt,
I still have some plants. Stop on by!

Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

Dmail address!

Fort Worth, TX

My long beans became toothpicks that would stab your mouth, but the seeds were fertile so I had Kentucky Wonder's all over the lot, I don't plant those anymore

Happy Gardening

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

I think you planted the wrong ones.
Here the one I like:
http://www.rareseeds.com/chinese-red-noodle-bean/
I plant only this ones, because I can see them ...
I will plant them at the end of June under the trunk of my tomato plants.
By that time the tomatoes will look like "palm tree", because I keep trimming the bottom leaves.
The upper leaves will shade the beans to help them with germination.
Then they will go up the tomato stalks ... by then the tomatoes will have stopped to produce and I just cut off the tomato plants ... genius !

Fort Worth, TX

may have to try those. How invasive do they get? I have a limited amount of space and water.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

They are very easy and they don't need much water. They are not invasive ... they just grow up
They can grow during our scorching summer !

The pictures below were taken on August 29th.
You can see the red beans right? easy.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

These were one week harvest !!
I did harvest the red long beans every other day.
The extra were blanched and frozen. I wish I freeze more because they were delish during the winter.
Good luck !

Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

I think you have been taking veggie art classes drthor! Those look good!

Fort Worth, TX

will try to order some later. deciding whether to mess with bees before or after work. one thing is for sure, I do NOT have to hand pollinate

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Are these harvests from this year already?

Magnolia, TX(Zone 9a)

I havent finished harvesting, some of my slow stuff is good, but cracks in radishes show mother natures watering habits. Purpletop turnips ready enuff, invasion of yellow pine tree seedlings, overgrown and bolting radishes, self sown fernleaf dill and curly leaf parsley, mint returning, forget which one that is...

Fort Worth, TX

Ordered. thank you Drthor

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

stephanietx
those pictures are from August 2014.
Right now I am harvesting lots of lettuce, radishes, green onions.
Cukes melons, squash, peppers and eggplants are going in Monday.
I need to put together tomato cages today. These plants are growing so fast.
I do have already a few green tomatoes.

Let's hope the last cold spell will not come while I am away ...

Fort Worth, TX

fingers crossed.

Conroe, TX

My tomatoes are the first to go in the ground, around end of February. When frost threatens, I just cover with large black nursery pot. We rarely get 2 nights in a row. My oak trees tell me we are safe. Still kept plastic pots nearby just in case.

Fort Worth, TX

Got grandbabied again this weekend so put in wildflower seed and putting down beneficial nematodes now. My heritage tomatoes are still hardening off. Hope to get some in ground and some on pond tray if I get off work early enough tomorrow. a 4 year old is an iffy helper and it drizzled most of the day

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Isn't it a little late to sow Wildflower seeds? What type are you sowing. My papers and tomatoes are hardening off but most still need to be potted up. I know I'm doing it backward but the weather has been so nice I just couldn't resist putting them outside, even if they are still in 1020 trays.

It's going to be a few weeks before I trust the weather enough to put them in the ground.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

We're supposed to have near freezing temps later this week. This is why I never plant out til late March.

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