Houston Gardening Tips for September

Hey y’all! We hope you’ve gotten a bit of relief from the heat with this week’s rains. Summer isn’t quite done with us yet but,we’re almost through with it and if we want to have a great fall garden we will have to brave the heat for a while to prep for a bountiful harvest for months to come. Yes. You will have to go out into the blast furnace. So, put on your grown up pants and get outside. It will be totally worth it! We promise.  

The first step in preparing your garden is to refresh your soil with a 2-4” layer of quality organic compost. We use the “Vegan Compost” from The Ground Up  or the Leaf Mold Compost from Nature’s Way Resources. Once you’ve pulled out all of your tired summer veggies just turn the soil a bit with a hand rake or garden hoe and then top it all off with the compost. The added organic matter will replenish beneficial organisms and add degradable materials to the soil to improve air circulation and water retention. Adding compost is a must! If you’ve already planned your fall garden and have seeds and transplants ready to go, GREAT! Plant away! If not, a layer of pine straw (pine needles from your yard are fine) will keep weeds at bay until you’re ready to fill the beds with new plants. Regardless, a 1-2” layer of mulch will help retain moisture and keep your compost fresh.  

What to plant???? With shorter days and cooler weather coming we need to look for veggies and herbs that will thrive in those conditions. Not to worry, if you’re reluctant to let go of your cucumbers and tomatoes, you’re in luck! If you plant early in the month (Before Sept.10th!!) we still have time reap a good harvest of ‘maters and cucumbers! You’re welcome!  

Cool-season vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, mustard, lettuce, and kohlrabi can be planted September through January, look for seeds or transplants to add to your garden. Here’s a list of what we can plant for the next 30 days or so in the Houston area:  

Bush and pole beans (8/1 – 9/15)

Lima beans (8/1 – 9/15)

Broccoli transplants* (9/15 – 10/31)

Brussels sprouts (8/1 – 10/1)

Cabbage transplants* (8/1 – 9/15)

Chinese cabbage (8/15 – 9/15)

Carrots (9/1 – 10/15)

Cauliflower transplants* (8/15 – 9/15)

Swiss chard (8/1 – 10/15)

Cucumber (8/1 – 9/15)

Kohlrabi (8/15 – 9/15)

Spinach (9/1-4/1)

Kale (8/25-1/15)

Parsley (8/15 – 10/1)

Irish potatoes (8/15 – 9/15)

Lettuce (9/1-1/15)

Tomato(50-80 day varieties) (8/15-9/10)

*Recommended to plant transplants only. 

All others can be planted by seed

  Now that you’ve planted all of these, what do you feed them? Use seaweed spray such as Microlife Seaweed to boost the immune system of plants. A healthy plant is more resistant to insect infestations and fungal problems. A spray-down every two weeks that covers the entire surface of all leaves will do the job.  

Continue slow, deep watering to encourage proper root growth and prevent runoff.  Watering longer and less often encourages deep root growth and healthier plants. If you don’t have one of our drip irrigation systems, soaker hoses or a regular hose turned on to a slow drip are good ways to do this.  

Pests. If you plant it they will come. Blast off sucking insects (aphidsmealybugs/scale, etc) with water and/or spray with insecticidal soap(a tsp. of dish soap in a gallon of water will work too). Leaf miners are active on citrus, they will not kill your citrus, leave alone or alternate treatments of spinosad and neem to keep them at bay. BT will get rid of cabbage loopers.  

So, grab your shades and a big ol’ glass of iced tea and head outside to take care of these tasks and your garden will reward you for months to come. Please stay tuned for our next tip sheet to help you through the fall months!