Texas is very diverse when it comes to soil and weather conditions. So, if you are interested in growing vegetables here, you first need to consider which region of Texas you live in.
To most people, the soil texture might seem the same throughout Texas. But there are subtle differences that help some plant life to thrive and others to wane.
The soil in southern Texas is relatively warmer and sandier. You will find a cooler climate in the northern region, where the humidity is lower. The western part of Texas is known to be arid and dry. But then you can see dense forests of pine trees in the eastern region.
Top 11 Best Vegetables to Grow in Texas
Even after considering what region you live in, you still need to remember that many of these plants grow seasonally. So, deciding on what vegetable you want to grow here can be a hassle. Here are some of the best vegetables you can grow in Texas:
Asparagus is a fairly common plant that can be easily grown in Northern Texas. These plants flourish in colder climates and lower humidity.
Growing your own asparagus garden is relatively simple, but the downside is that it takes around 2 to 3 years to get really get started. But these plants can produce around half a pound of spears every spring. So, it is worth the wait.
Asparagus is a perennial plant meaning it will grow on the spot every year. So, determining a proper place for the crops is essential in order to get appropriate produce. Asparagus spears are generally harvested during spring and sometimes during early summer.
There are, of course, male and female varieties of asparagus. The female plants produce berries, whereas the males don’t. So, the male asparagus plant can use these excess nutrients to produce more spears.
The nutritional value of asparagus is also worth your notice. They are known for being beneficial to our digestive organs. They provide antioxidants and can help maintain our blood pressure.
Warmer climates are typically more suitable for harvesting Okra plants. The corps needs to get at least 8 hours of sunlight if you want to get the most yield. So if you live in the Southern or Central part of Texas, you should definitely consider growing these.
It generally takes about 50 to 60 days for Okra to mature. After that, you can expect to produce within 10 to 12 weeks.
Okra is planted around April or May during spring. If the right conditions are then a single okra plant can produce up to 30 pods or even more.
The Okra pods should be harvested once they are 2-3 inches in length. They will lose their tenderness and become woody if you let them grow even bigger.
These pods can be eaten raw. As a matter of fact, the entire plant is edible. Raw Okra leaves are often used in making salads.
Okra can be grown with tomatoes, melons, cucumbers, and other plants that need plenty of water. These companion plants can make a huge difference as they help each other thrive. Often, they diversify the elements in soil and even help deter pests.
Being a warm-season plant, cucumbers are generally better suited to the Central region of Texas.
As one might expect, cucumber plants need a lot of water. Because of that, you have to take into account the temperature and humidity. Professional farmers sometimes plant cucumbers in two intervals to get better produce.
Cucumbers need a lot of space to grow and typically need deep watering once a week in order to get a good yield. You need to keep in mind that if the plant is dehydrated, then the quality of the yield might deteriorate significantly.
Many experienced farmers prevent insect pressure by harvesting between pest cycles. They plant the cucumber plants in March and the second batch in late spring.
The cucumber plants need to be trained on a fence or a trellis. Trellised produce is less prone to be affected by diseases, and they are easier to harvest.
Cucumber plants need a steady supply of nutrients. An assortment of fertilizers needs to be used to ensure the best yield possible.
Snap beans require warm, humid weather to flourish. Also known as green beans, they are commonly grown in Southern Texas. It is recommended to plant them 10 weeks before the first frost of winter, which should be around August or September.
The plants need to be spaced at least 8 inches from each other. Green beans are easy to take care of as they do not need many fertilizers or soil preparations.
Two of the most known variety of Snap beans are bush and pole-type snap beans. Pole-type snap beans require a firm trellis to grow. The trellis can be homemade, but they need to be sturdy enough to bear up against strong winds.
The trellises are usually 6 to 8 feet in length. Bush-type beans, on the other hand, don’t need any kind of support.
Depending on the variety, Snap beans can take around 45 to 75 days to mature. Generally speaking, pole-type snap beans tend to be slow in their maturation process, whereas bush-type beans grow a lot faster.
You can harvest two kinds of corn in Texas: sweet corn and field corn.
Sweet corn tends to grow better in colder climates, while field corn requires a warmer temperature. Both of these variants can be produced regardless of where you live in Texas. But you will get a better yield from the sweet corn if you live in Central Texas.
Texan farmers usually plant corn from January to June. Different breeds of corn take different lengths of time to fully mature. But on average, it takes around 120 days to reach maturity.
Sweet corn typically takes around 60 to 100 days to mature. By keeping an eye out for their silk strands, you will know when they are ready to harvest. This is why growing sweet corn in your home garden is relatively easier. Corn is an annual crop meaning it can only be harvested once a year.
Corn requires around 1 inch of water every week. Eventually, their stalks will start to tassel. Drip irrigation or using a soaker hose are standard methods of watering corn.
Squash can be grown all around Texas which is why novice farmers often prefer it. Squash is planted during the spring after the last frost. In Texas, the ideal time frame is around mid-March to the first quarter of May. They can also be replanted from mid-July until early September.
Most varieties of squash are ready to harvest after 60 days or so. Once they are 6 to 8 inches long, you can cut them from the vines. The longer you wait after that, the rougher they become.
The squash plant will need around 6 hours of sunlight. You should try to plant it in drained and rich soil. Farmers often mix aged compost to make the soil more nutritious. They need constant moisture, but you should generally avoid pouring too much water on the leaves.
One great way to get a better yield is to plant squash with corn, lettuce, peas, etc. Companion planting is an effective way of ensuring the good health of plants. Co-dependency often leads to better quality yield.
Beets have many edible parts and are used in making a variety of dishes. Northern Texas is generally more favorable for growing beets. But you can still grow beets in Central Texas if you want. They are more resilient towards frost than other plants, but they can’t withstand the Texas heat very well.
They are planted from August to October for fall harvest. In the spring, they can be planted from February to April.
Beets grow well in loose soil filled with nutrients. They typically prefer soil with a pH of 6.5 or so. Even though a single plant will only get you one beet, a single seed can sprout multiple plants.
Like most plants, beets also need nutrients like potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Organic matter has to be worked into the soil beds and evenly distributed in order to get the ideal yield.
Growing beets is very convenient as they don’t require any sort of trellis or staking. Though beets have many companion plants, you try to avoid growing them near field mustards or pole beans.
Pinto beans have very versatile plants and can be grown in any region of Texas. They can thrive without much maintenance.
For fall harvest, pinto beans are planted in early summer or late spring. They need to be planted in an area where they can get plenty of sunlight. The plants should be spaced 4 to 6 inches from each other. The ideal soil temperature for pinto beans is around 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
It takes around 80 to 100 days after planting for the pintos to be ready for harvest. One sure way of finding out there ready is by checking their appearance. The seed pods should become yellow-tan in color. They dry up and start to crack open. You should be able to hear a rattling sound if you shake them. That’s when you know that they are ready for harvest.
You can also grow pinto beans as houseplants. In most cases, one pinto bean plant can produce 1 to 2 pounds of beans every harvest. So you need 4 to 6 plants per person. Pinto bean plants are annual crops that complete their growth cycle in one season.
Onion plants thrive in rich sandy soil. The southern regions of Texas are more favorable for onion harvesting. The best kinds of onions for this region are the short-day variants.
Patience is key when it comes to growing onions because it takes two whole years to get a bulb from a single seed. Since onions are biennial, most people lean towards transplants.
Onions are planted in spring as soon as the ground can be worked. In Texas, that’s generally between March and April. The temperature should not drop below 28 degrees Fahrenheit. Before transplanting to the ground, the seeds need to spend around 6 weeks indoors.
An abundance of nitrogen is essential when growing onions. Fertilizers like ammonium nitrate or ammonium sulfate are used heavily in the soil. If you want to grow bigger onions, then you should consistently use nitrogen-based fertilizers.
They also make for great companion plants. Onions can help prevent Japanese beetles, aphids, and other pests as well. However, plants like asparagus and bush beans should not be planted near onions as they are not compatible with each other.
Peppers are an essential ingredient in most dishes. They are easy to grow and maintain, especially if you live in Texas.
Pepper plants necessitate warm and rich soil. In fact, the ideal temperature for the soil is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. They need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight every day, so they have to be placed in a sunny spot. Farmers often place them 18 to 24 inches apart from each other.
The seeds have to be sowed between March and early April. They need about 1 or 2 inches of water every week, even more so during a Texan heat wave.
The amount of yield you get from the plants depends on the breed. For example, you can expect around 5-10 bell papers per plant, while hot peppers are produced 20-50 per plant.
Pepper plants are usually very timid and are severely damaged from a strong gush of wind. This is why a simple stake or trellis is often used. It is also possible to grow peppers in containers. Peppers have a fantastic prospect of being an indoor plant.
Cantaloupes and watermelons are loved by almost everyone. These plants thrive in nutritious sandy soil, which is abundant in Texas. There’s a wide variety of melons that can be harvested in Central Texas.
Melons are planted in mid-spring when the soil is warm enough. This could be around April to March, depending on the region you live in.
Before planting, farmers often work the soil with one or two cups of compost fertilizer. The warm weather of Texas is very favorable for melons as they require a soil temperature of around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They become ready for harvest from June to November.
Proper nourishment, warmth, and water are essential when growing melons. If the right conditions are met, each plant can produce up to four melons.
When should I start my garden in Texas?
The best time to start your garden is in spring, right after the last frost. Depending on which part of Texas you live in, this could be between mid-January and late April.
Can you grow vegetables year-round in Texas?
It is possible to produce nutritious vegetables all year. You need to know the basics of gardening. Consecutively making practical decisions can certainly ensure an ample yield.
Are greenhouses a good idea in Texas?
Greenhouses can certainly be a fun way to garden. But you must take into account the summer in Texas. If you are not careful, then the high temperature may become unbearable to the plant life. This is why greenhouses have to be positioned with great care and have their doors adjusted toward the summer breeze.
Texas may seem like a barren land, but the soil here is rich in nutrients. The temperature can indeed be extreme sometimes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t grow your favorite veggies here. All one needs is an experienced set of hands.
For some people growing vegetables is a hobby; for others, it is their livelihood. No matter what it is to you, one thing is sure. With the right tools and mindset, you can grow just about anything here in Texas.