Fall and Winter Vegetable Gardening in Texas

To show several winter greens growing in the garden.
Several winter greens that grow well in Texas.

After a long hot Texas summer, I look forward to cooler weather and the cold hardy vegetables that can be planted in the winter garden. Our mild Texas winters are especially ideal for growing all types of greens. When the weather is cooler, there are less days when we need to water, and there are no insect pests to worry about after the first frost (usually between Halloween and the first week of November). All the plants in this blog are cold hardy and grow well during our winters. Each plant includes the ideal time to plant, the varieties that are known to grow well in our zone, and the temperature they should be covered for added cold protection.

Covering Plants for Extra Warmth

Since we have mild winters in Texas, most of the winter you will not have to worry about covering your plants with a blanket for extra protection. There will be several days usually in January and early February that will be cold enough for you to cover some of the plants listed here. Keep your eye on the weather forecast and note any days in which the low temperature will be at or near the temperature that one or more of your crops could use some extra warmth.

The lowest temperature for a day will usually take place in the hours before sunrise. So, just cover your plants the night before. Uncover them once the temperatures have warmed to 32 degrees or above (usually by noon). Also cover your plants if an ice storm or snow is in the forecast. The plants that can withstand temperatures down to 10 degrees or lower usually enjoy a light fluffy snow that will melt soon.

Planting and Watering Your Winter Vegetable Garden

When planting your winter garden, it is a good idea to group plants that have a similar frost tolerance together. This will make it easier to cover them with one blanket. If you don’t have an old blanket around the house, one can be purchased for just a few dollars at a re-use store. Floating row cover fabric will also raise the temperature of the air around the plants a few degrees, as will hoop houses and cloches. There are many factors that have an impact on the lowest temperature a plant can withstand before it succumbs to the cold weather. Just to be safe, I have added a couple of degrees to the “when to cover” temperature for some plants that have more variables involved.

Watering

Plants that are watered and have adequate moisture in their cells have a better tolerance for cold compared to plants in dry soil. During the winter, water your vegetables during the warmest part of the day. That is usually between 12 noon – 2 pm. Don’t water when temperatures are freezing (32 degrees or below), or when temperatures will reach freezing very soon.

Harvesting Your Winter Greens

Greens planted in early fall will provide food from late fall to mid-spring. You can literally have endless fresh salads for several months, by just harvesting the outer leaves as you need them. Watch the videos and read the blogs that are linked below for more in-depth planting and harvesting information.

Lettuce

red-and-green-oak-leaf-lettuce
Green and Red Oak Leaf Lettuce.

When to Plant: Mid-September – 2nd week in October.

Varieties: Four Seasons, Salad Bowl, Oak Leaf, Lolla Rossa, Romaine (Paris Island Cos).

When to Cover: 25 degrees or below. Because lettuce is one of the lesser cold hardy vegetables, has delicate leaves and is shorter in stature, I plant mine in a cold frame, or a hoop house added onto a raised bed. This allows me to easily close the lid if temperatures dip down too low or ice or snow are expected. Since our winters are mild, the door of the cold frame is open 95 percent of the winter. You don’t need a cold frame or a hoop house. Covering your plants with a blanket works just as well.

For More info read Growing Salad Greens In Texas During The Fall And Winter

Spinach

When to Plant: Mid-September – 2nd week in October.
Varieties:
Bloomsdale, Melody
When to cover: 15 degrees or below.

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard Leaves
Swiss Chard Bright Lights

When to Plant: Mid-September- 1st week in October
Varieties: Bright Lights, Ruby, Fordhook Giant (more cold-hardy)
Read Blog Swiss Chard: A Beautiful Tasty Green That Grows Well In Texas
When to cover:
Bright Lights 28 degrees, Fordhook Giant 15 degrees or below.

Kale

kale-harvested
Dwarf Blue Curled Kale.

When to Plant: Mid-September – 1st week in October
Varieties: Premier, Dwarf Blue Curled (curly leaves can hide aphids)
Read Blog: Growing Kale In Texas
When to cover: 10 degrees or colder

Radishes

When to Plant: October – 3rd week of November
Varieties: Red varieties: Champion, Early Scarlet, Cherry Belle, and Globe.
White varieties. White Icicle, Summer Cross and Chinese White Winter.
When to cover: 20 degrees or below

Mustard Greens

mustard-greens
Mustard Greens

Cabbage

When to Plant: Early September
Varieties:
Market Prize, Bravo, New Jersey Wakefield
When to cover: 20 degrees or below.

Collard Greens (Collards):

collards
Georgia Southern Collard Greens

When to Plant: Third Week of September – first 2 weeks of October
Varieties:
Georgia Southern, Blue Max
Read Blog:
Growing And Cooking Collard Greens In Texas
When to cover: 15 degrees or below

Cauliflower

When to Plant: Early September (seeds), September – October Transplants
Varieties:
Snow Crown
When to cover: 26 degrees or below.

Broccoli

broccoli
Broccoli floret

When to Plant: Early September (seeds), September – October Transplants
Varieties:
Packman, Green Magic, Premium Crop
When to cover: 26 degrees or below
.

Brussels Sprouts

When to Plant: Early September (seeds), September – October Transplants
Varieties: Jade Cross, Diablo, Tasty Nugget, Royal Marvel
When to cover: 20 degrees or below.

Parsley

italian-flat-parsley
Italian Flat Leaf Parsley

When to Plant: Mid-September – 2nd week of October (seeds). Pre-soak parsley seeds overnight before planting. Parsley seeds may take 21 days to sprout.
Varieties:  Italian Flat (stronger taste, used in most dishes calling for parsley and tabouli), Curly (milder flavor – frequently used for garnish).
When to cover: 20 degrees or below

Cilantro

When to Plant: Mid-September – 2nd week of October (seeds)
Only plant cilantro for a fall/winter crop since it bolts or goes to seed when daily temperatures reach 85 degrees or more.
When to cover: 20 degrees or below.

Parsnips

parsnips
Harris Model Parsnips

Turnips

When to Plant: Mid-October- 1st week in November.
Varieties: White Lady, Tokyo Cross.
When to cover: 20 degrees or below.

Leeks

leek
American Flag Leek

When to Plant: September – 2nd week of October for spring transplants. Transplant when leek stalks are the size of a pencil.
Varieties: American Flag
When to cover: 5 degrees or below

Onions

When to Plant: 1st week in November for spring transplants. You can also buy very affordable onion bunches and bulbs to plant in February.  
Varieties: Texas SuperSweet, 1015Y, Texas Early White, Texas Early Grano, Southern Belle, and White Bermuda.
When to cover: 10 degrees or below.

Arugula - Roquette - Rocket

arugula
Arugula/Roquette/Rocket is an easy-to-grow peppery tasting green that grows quickly

When to Plant: Mid-September – 2nd week in October
When to cover:
10 degrees or below

Garlic

When to Plant: October (from cloves)
Varieties: Soft-Neck varieties. California Early, California Late, Silverskin, or Silverwhite.
When to cover: 15 degrees or below.

Carrots

When to Plant: 3rd week of September – 2nd week of November
Varieties: Nantes Half-Long, Danvers Half-Long, Imperator 58, Red Core Chantenay, Royal Chantenay
When to cover: 5 degrees or below.

Beets

When to Plant: 3rd week of September – 2nd week of October
Varieties: Detroit Dark Red, Ruby Queen
When to cover: 20 degrees or below.

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2 Responses

  1. Garden Tower Project
  2. Most beans days to harvest are between 60 and 80 days. The first frost usually comes by the end of october. Different varieties have different days to harvest. If your plant date + days to harvest occurs before the first frost then you can do it. I specifically left beans off because I only wanted to include crops that could survive the first frost.

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