Commonsense Vegetable Gardeningfor the Texas Gulf Coast By Thomas R. LeRoy Montgomery County Extension Agent - Horticulture
Why Garden? • Homegrown vegetables taste better. • You have control over what pesticides are applied. • Good exercise. • Fun!
Planting By The Moons?
How to be a Green Thumb Gardener • Select Recommended Varieties. • Plant at the Right Time. • Proper Soil Preparation and Fertilization. • Control Weeds, Diseases and Insects. • Adequate Soil Moisture. • Harvest at the Right Time .
Ideal Garden Location • Receives 8 + hours of sunlight. • Soil has good internal and external drainage. • Free of competition from other large plants, buildings, etc. • Near a source of water. • Visible!
Garden Design Traditional Garden Box Garden Postage Stamp Garden
What is an Ideal Soil? • pH 6.0 – 6.5 (Slightly Acid). • 5 – 10% Organic Matter. • 50% Pore Space ( Air, Water, Micro-organisms). • Texture - Sandy to Sandy Loam.
Soil Preparation • Have a soil test run. • Incorporate plenty of organic matter. • Add bank sand or sharp sand to improve drainage. • Add nutrients if necessary.
Healthy Soils Resistant Varieties Planting Time Proper Watering Soil Fertility Sanitation Weed Control Diverse Planting Crop Rotation Cultural Practices Reduce Pesticide Use
Floating Row Cover • 2° to 4° F of Frost Protection. • Wind Protection. • Keeps Out Insects. • Allows 85 to 90% Light Penetration.
Mulching Materials • Compost • Leaves • Pine Needles • Hay • Grass Clippings • Paper • Plastic
Starting Your Own Plants from Seeds • Select Proper Varieties. • Sterile Potting Media. • Sterile Containers. • High Light Intensity for 14-16 hours. • Regular Applications of Soluble Fertilizer
Container Gardening • Excellent for small yards or patio homes. • Requires more care: • Water. • Fertilizer. • Use large containers with a loose potting media to reduce compaction.
Harvest at the Proper Time • Quality can vary greatly depending on time harvested. • Take the time to learn when the various vegetables should be harvested.
Nightshade Family • Tomato • Pepper • Eggplant • Potato • Tomatillo
1. Plant large, vigorous plants. Incorporate ¼-½ cup of complete, slow release fertilizer at planting.
3. Apply a weekly foliar spray of a water soluble fertilizer with micro-nutrients.
4. Work in 2-3 Tbs. of high nitrogen fertilizer when 1st cluster of fruit sets.
How to Produce Large Bells • Select Hybrid Varieties. • Plant When Soil Reaches 65-70° F. • Fertilize Frequently With High Nitrogen Fertilizer. • Remove The First Fruit.
Pepper Varieties Worth Trying Red Cheese Pimento Mucho Nacho Jalapeno Senorita Jalapeno
Legume Family • Green (Snap) Beans • Lima Beans • Southern Pea • English Pea • Edible-podded Pea • Soybean • Jicama • Runner Bean
Green (Snap) Bean • Plant March-April and September • Moderately Fertile Soil. • Harvest When Pods are Young and Tender.
Lima (Butter) Beans • Plant March - Early April and September. • Moderately Fertile Soil. • Harvest When Pods are Mature and Seeds Fully Developed.
Southern Peas • Plant April thru August. • Prefers warm soil. • Requires moderately fertile soils. • Harvest when pods are mature and start to yellow.
Edible-podded Peas • Plant Late September thru January. • Moderately Fertile Soil. • Most Varieties Need Support. • Light Production But High Quality.
Grass Family – Sweet Corn • Plant March – April. • Fertilize at Planting, 1 Foot Tall & Tassel Visible in the Whorl with ½-1 Cup 21-0-0 per 10 Ft. of Row. • 90%+ Harvested the same day.
Types of Sweet Corns • Sweet Corn (su)- Traditional sweet corn with sweet flavor and creamy consistency. Sugar degrades rapidly to starch . • Sugary Enhanced (se) – Tender kernels, much sweeter flavor and creamy consistency. Maintains sweet flavor much longer than traditional sweet corn. • Super Sweets (sh2)- Very crisp kernels, even after freezing, and a much higher sugar content. Sugar is very stable within the kernel but it lacks the creamy consistency. • Triple Sweets (su x se x sh2)- A combination of high sugar and creamy consistency, carrying a combination of traits from both sugar enhanced and super sweet varieties.
Cucurbit (Gourd) Family • Cucumber • Squash • Cantaloupe • Honeydew • Watermelon • Pumpkin • Gourd
Cucumbers • Plant late March – April and September. • Moderate Fertility. • Easily trellised. • Harvest for pickles when fruit reaches desired size and slicers when near maturity.
Squash • Plant late March – April and September. • Moderate Fertility. • Harvest • Winter Squash when mature, rind hard. • Summer Squash when tender and immature.
Melons • Plant late April thru July. • Moderate Fertility. • Easily trellised. • Harvest at full slip or tendril at base of fruit turns brown.
Common Diseases and Insectsof the Cucurbit Family Squash Bugs & Eggs Squash Vineborer Powdery Mildew Squash Bugs
Mallow Family • Okra • Plant April thru July when soils are warm. • Moderate fertility. • Harvest when pods are small and tender.
Okra Disease Solarize Nematodes Elbon Cereal Rye
Morning-glory Family • Sweet Potato • Plant after soils have warmed, May thru July. • Moderate fertility. • Harvest when roots are fully cured.