If you haven’t tilled your garden and added compost or manure yet, it’s time to get it done. And, if you haven’t tested your soil in awhile, it would be a good idea to get a soil test done through the Smith County Extension office (535-0885). Soil in East Texas tends to be acid, so lime is often needed. Other nutrients sometimes in short supply include nitrogen, potassium, calcium and magnesium – but only a soil test will show exactly what’s needed in yours. Once your soil is ready, here’s what to plant when:
February – broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, beets, carrots, Swiss
chard, collards, kale, English peas, potatoes, turnips, spinach and garlic.
March – bush beans, pole beans, lima beans, beets, Swiss chard, corn, cucumber, cantaloupe, radish, squash, tomatoes and watermelon.
April – beans, eggplant, okra, southern peas, peppers, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, squash, and watermelon.
To have the most success with your garden, be sure to select varieties that do well in East Texas, and buy quality seeds. Some varieties recommended for our area
- Asparagus– Jersey Giant
- Snap Beans – Blue Lake 274, Top Crop
- Snap Pole Beans – Blue Lake, Kentucky Wonder
- Pinto Beans – Improved Pinto
- Beets Pacemaker III
- Broccoli – Emperor, Green Comet
- Cabbage – Rapid Ball, Ruby Ball
- Cantaloupe– Magnum 45
- Carrot– Burpee’s Toudo, Park’s Nandor
- Cauliflower– Snow Crown
- Swiss Chard-Fordhook
- Sweet Corn-How Sweet It Is
- Cucumber, Slicing– Sweet Success
- Eggplant– Tycoon, Florida Market
- Garlic– Texas White
- Kale– Blue Knight
- Irish Potato– Northland, Red LaSoda
- English Peas– Little Marvel or Sugar Snap
- Sweet Bell Pepper– Big Bertha, Jupiter
- Tomatoes (determinate-good for canning)-Merced, Celebrity, Carnival, Surefire, President
- Tomatoes (indeterminate- good slicers)– Champion, QuickPick, Simba, First Lady, Superfantastic
- Small Fruited Tomatoes– Small Fry, Porter, Cherry Grande, Sweet 100
- Watermelon– Crimson Sweet, Sugar Baby
A more complete list of varieties is available on the web. Go to http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/ and click “East Texas Gardening.” The East Texas Piney Woods site will direct you to vegetable gardening. For Smith County and Northeast Texas you will find four pages of vegetable varieties listed.
Carol Runnels, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service