Stop gardening for summer in Texas…I’m over it!

Oct 11, 2011

Skip Summer. This is my new mantra, lol. What about the OTHER nine months of growing season we have here in Texas? I'm all for skipping summer from now on, because there's plenty of happy successful gardening to be had the rest of the year. The thing we have to remember though is we're lucky enough, in the DFW area, to have a 12-month gardening season. We are blessed with nine whole months that are relatively easy on maintenance. So why do we base all of our gardening decisions, and purchases, around 2 1/2 to 3 months of summer?


Most homeowners and gardeners, however, spend most of their mental energy, and gardening budget on planting for summer. Most people do the bulk of their planting here in April and May....only to have to struggle to keep these new plantings alive through August, often losing that battle with more moisture sensitive varieties. Why do we do this to ourselves?...when the BEST time to plant is fall and winter for perennials shrubs, ground covers and trees.  By planting your most expensive and extensive landscape plantings now, you'll have a much easier time getting them established before the next hot summer. Plant now, and your landscape will endure a hot dry summer much better, with less maintenance, than if you wait until Spring to plant. Sure, some varieties are more available in spring, so of course, plant those varieties when they are available.

Plus, when it comes to vegetable gardening, you get 9-months of production, with much less maintenance, on cool season veggies and herbs. Most people kill themselves trying to grow an amazing 2-month summer vegetable garden here (only to be plagued by the long list of challenges to deal with here on crops like tomatoes, squash and the like), but forget about the 9-months of salad days they could be having...easy greens all the way around. Not to mention the enjoyment of 9-months of cool-season color annuals. Do we have to deal with a few freezes here and there? Sure, but I usually only have to cover plantings 3 or 4 times per winter. Most cool-season plants are very cold hardy here.

None of us actually want to hang out in our gardens in the deep summer anyway, at least not in the kind of summer we just had. For at least two months, most of us are cooped up inside in the air-conditioning and never see hide nor tail of our landscapes unless we're leaving for or returning from work. Even I spent little time in my garden this past brutal summer, and I LIKE it hot. Even when it's 100 degrees, I'm still puttering out in my garden. But 110 though...and that about does it even for me.

So, I guess all I'm say is that I give you permission to skip summer...and enjoy the rest of the year in your garden! wink

There are 4 comments for this entry

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Oct 11, 2011
5:46 pm

My first round of fall crops didn’t germinate well so I have some empty spaces.  What should I plant this weekend?

Oct 14, 2011
10:49 am

Though my fall greens (fennel and sorrel especially) didn’t germinate well either.  So much for cooler weather helping.

Leslie Finical Halleck
Oct 14, 2011
12:31 pm

Stu42J - yes, the night temps still being pretty high off this summer put a bit of a damper on those firs round of seeds. There is TONS you can plant this weekend. It’s really the perfect time. Any of the cool season herbs (dill, fennel, cilantro, etc) can go in the ground now, as well as garlic cloves. Tons of lettuce/greens transplants should be available as well as broccoli, cauliflower and the like. Pansies and violas are ready to go in the ground as well as snaps and Iceland poppies. It’s also the PERFECT time to plant any hardy perennials, shrubs, trees and daffodil bulbs. Plant away!

Leslie Finical Halleck
Oct 14, 2011
12:33 pm

Emily, I did have some decent germination on herbs, but with the heat it really came down to perfect moisture management, which can be tough. North Haven Gardens does have sorrel in stock now in transplant form, as well as all the other cool season herbs and veggies. At this point, I’d go ahead and get some transplants in the ground.

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