Experts share benefits of fall gardening in East Texas

Planting produce in the fall is one way to get a head start on your gardening for the year.
Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 6:55 PM CDT
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EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - Planting produce in the fall is one way to get a head start on your gardening for the year.

Cary Sims with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service says when starting early, it’s important to know what plants can last through the winter.

You get to enjoy fresh produce from your garden at a time of year we don’t normally think about getting fresh produce out of it,” said Sims.

Fall gardening gives more opportunities for growing vegetables.

“At this time of year, we need to stay away from our traditional summer vegetables, but we can look at some of our wonderful fall vegetables such as radishes, broccoli, collard greens, mustard greens, all of your greens, lettuces,” said Sims.

The fall season also brings opportunities for natural mulching.

“With all these leaves falling, we can take all kinds of leaves, even pine straw, put them down the middle, pile them on thick in the middle of the rows of your vegetable garden to hold in the moisture. It’ll decompose and increase the organic matter,” said Sims.

While many may steer clear of fall gardening, Allanah Ceaser with the Lufkin Urban Garden and Market embraces it.

“I enjoy gardening in the fall; you can go and grow for an extended period of time if you go ahead and get established and start to grow in the fall. You start to see the good greens and everything kind of pop up out of the ground based on the labor that you put in early in the season,” said Sims.

Sims said fall gardening can even help gardeners deal with pesky enemies.

We’ll have some bugs. If we’re not careful with our watering schedule, we can have some disease, but there’s less pests. It’ll be a different game but less of an issue,” said Sims.

For the pests that do show up, Ceasar said she has it figured out.

“As long as you stay on top of it, come out and observe your plants, observe your leaves, you can dust them off with your finger and knock most of your small bugs off of the plants,” said Ceasar.

When winter arrives, Sims advises gardeners to use a row cover to guard frost-sensitive vegetables, like cucumbers and okra, from the cold.