With above 100-degree temperatures, I know it is very difficult to think about a fall garden. However, if you want to have some cool season garden produce, now is the time to be setting out seeds and even small plants. Timing is important when planting your fall garden. Heat tolerant/cold sensitive plants need to be planted in time to mature before cold weather slows growth, and cool season/heat sensitive crops must be planted late enough to avoid the worst of the heat, but early enough to take the first frost of the winter.

Most fall plantings need to be made anywhere from 8 to 16 weeks before the average first freeze date. According to the experts, the average first freeze date for Comanche County is December 01; I would play it on the safe side and figure sometime between mid-November and December 01. This leaves you with plenty of time to get some seed or transplants in the ground for a fall harvest.

Many vegetables can be transplanted into fall gardens but finding transplants in the middle of the summer is very difficult, starting your own transplants from seed may be your best option. Some common fall vegetables that are easily transplanted include: beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, lettuce, onions and tomatoes. Others that do not transplant well and are better seeded include beans, peas, turnips, carrots and spinach.

Whatever you decide to plant you will need to be sure and provide adequate water and possibly a little shade, to help the young plants get through the remaining dog days of summer. Young vegetable plants will survive the summer heat and full sun if they have adequate moisture.

Consider a drip line, drip tape or even a soaker hose to avoid losses to evaporation. For sure insects will be more difficult to control in a fall garden. You will have to actively scout for insects and damage and be ready to treat if damage starts getting out of hand.

With the excessive heat tending to a garden may not be the most enjoyable outside activity right now, but cooler fall weather will be here before you know it. The rewards of fresh produce this fall can be a great pay off for planting a fall garden. For a copy of the Texas Home Vegetable Gardening Guide, call or come by the office or go to our website at, you will find the fall gardening guide listed under agriculture publications.

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