Ya, I know...it's 100 degrees outside and I'm talking about fall gardening! But seriously, it is time to start planting your fall garden because what you want it to produce in the fall, must be planted now (or very soon). You will likely need to start your fall vegetable seeds indoors as it is still way too hot outside for the seeds to germinate and grow properly. So dust off your favorite seed starter kit, set it up somewhere indoors under a grow lamp (not in the greenhouse) and plant :) I use small trays with a seed starting soil mix (Ferry ~Morse Organic Seed Starter mix), moisten the soil well, plant the seeds and plug in the lamp. My grow lamp is adjustable so I can raise and lower it as the seedlings begin to grow. Some people use peat pellets, some use manure pots...whatever works best for you.
The number of days between the last spring freeze and the first fall freeze determines the "growing season" for your area. The objective is to get frost sensitive plants into the garden early enough to be productive before the first fall freeze. For example, green beans take 60 days from planting seeds to harvesting beans. To plant a fall crop of beans, you must count back 60 days from the first fall freeze date. I've included a link to a chart which lists the average freeze dates for Texas. Also, I've created a Planting Guideline chart for certain vegetables (typical fall vegetables) relative to first freeze dates.
The following vegetables should be planted 8-10 weeks before the first freeze date:
Beans, green bush
Beets (direct sow)
Radishes (direct sow)
These vegetables, 10-16 weeks before the first freeze date:
Carrots (direct sow)
These are just general guidelines for this area of South Texas.
Since fall is my favorite time of year, I am partial to fall gardening. Besides tomatoes, my favorite vegetables grow in my fall garden: beets, spinach, winter squash, radishes and broccoli to name a few.
We are going on a short vacation to Colorado this week and when we get back, my new garden fence should be complete (Yaaaayyyy!!) Only then will I begin planting my fall seeds. Planting seeds and watching them germinate and grow is one of the greatest joys I get from gardening. To me, it is one of the many wonderful miracles of Life.