Beat the Heat with Fall Gardening
by Jeana Teeter -
In Timbergrove Manor and across Houston, we are sweltering in the summer heat. As native Houstonians and longtime residents know, we need to hunker down and expect a few more months of scorching temperatures. There have been many Halloweens in our collective memories spent in shorts and flip flops.
So while there may sometimes be a small twinge of jealousy this time of year when we think of our northern counterparts and their soon-to-be-cooling temperatures, remember that our backyard gardens benefit from the extended growing season. We have the unique opportunity to continue growing what would traditionally be considered “summer” vegetables here in the fall. Tomatoes are the most obvious example of this and August is a great time to plant them in Houston (really!). Buchanan’s Native Plants on 11th Street has a huge selection of heirloom tomatoes in stock right now, and are hosting a class on Fall Vegetable Gardening on September 6th at 10am, featuring fall tomato strategies as well as information on other fall veggies such as collards and broccoli. The class is hosted in collaboration with Urban Harvest and is free to the public (though you must register in advance online at buchanansplants.com).
Several other traditionally warm weather vegetables that can be started now include peppers, snap beans, and bush lima beans. August is also a good time to plant succession crops of plants that are dying back after a long summer of productivity. Arugula, dandelion greens, and basil can all be planted very successfully now. Herbs, in general, can be ideal to start in August and September. Cilantro, parsley, and dill, which all hate the extreme heat of late summer, will do well all fall (and maybe even winter) if started now. Happy gardening! And be sure to brag about your freshly picked backyard tomatoes to your friends up north.