Four Fall Tips from the Farm

by Oct 30, 2020

Get those Brassicas in the ground! Brassicas deliver flavor in spades—especially spicy.  For fast gratification, try mustards and harvest the baby leaves when they are just 3 or 4 inches long.  Collard greens and kale are more fast-growing leafy Brassicas.  Or if you have some patience, go for the flowery brassicas — cauliflower and broccoli, the buds — cabbage and Brussels sprouts,  roots — turnips and even stems — kohlrabi…all are considered a brassica, and absolutely love our fall and winter here on the Gulf Coast of Texas! Cool fall mornings improve the flavor of these wonderful crops.  Leafy brassicas you can see directly in the garden and within a few weeks have something to munch on. For the rest, its best to buy healthy plant starts in 4’ pots and plant them 12”-18” apart. You will have something to eat by New Years!


Sugar snap peas are a must in Houston’s fall and winter gardens!  If you have never had a just harvested sugar snap pea, you don’t know what you’re missing! Traditional planting day is Halloween, but as long as you get them in by Thanksgiving, you will be popping peas by Valentine’s Day.  Not only are they delicious, they are beautiful with delicate flowers that appear before the seed pods.  These exuberant climbers will race up a fence, or garden support and every bit is edible from the lovely flowers and curly tendrils to the entire pod and the seeds inside.  There is really no com

It’s Citrus Time! You have probably seen fruit trees laden with lemons, limes and oranges all over town, because we are entering the height of citrus season on the gulf Coast.  If you are lucky enough to have these proven performers in your garden, get ready to harvest.  Fall and winter is when we harvest almost all varieties of citrus here on the Texas Gulf Coast, and the harvest is always bountiful! Wait until the fruits have fully colored then make sure to have your shears sharp because fruit should be cut from the tree, not pulled!  After your harvest, mulch well around your tree bases and give them a rest before you feed them again.  If you don’t have any citrus, now is the time to plant.  The most popular varieties are Meyer lemons, Mexican limes and any kind of orange, but it’s just as easy to grow grapefruit, kumquats and nectarines.  Get creative and try something new!

Mulch, Mulch, Mulch. Whether you are planting seasonal crops or not, it’s time to protect your perennials.  Basically, leave no bare ground showing in your vegetable, herb and flower garden beds. Covering all your soil with four to six inches of organic material, like straw or chopped up leaves will protect your perennials and shrubs from frost damage and discourage weeds.  You will thank yourself in the spring.