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Try these 5 things to make a beautiful Fall garden in Houston

What to plant now to enjoy veggies and blooms through winter

HOUSTON – Cooler temperatures are a sign it's time to get outside and spruce up your garden.

Local gardening expert Angela Chandler shares her top planting tips on "Houston Life."

1. Grow Your Greens

Fall and Winter are the best time for greens of all kinds on the Upper Gulf Coast.

This includes lettuces, traditional pot "greens" (such as kale, mustard, collards & chard), an entire world of Asian greens (Bok Choi, Mizuna, Napa cabbage, Chinese broccoli, Water spinach). Explore the catalog of the Kitazawa Seed Company, Baker Creek, Heirloom Seeds, and Terroir Seed Company. You can plant greens every two to three weeks to harvest greens from October thru April.

Self-watering lettuce boxes are a great way to grow clean greens.

Angela has a DIY guide on her website.

2. Fall is the peak time to plant herbs of all kinds

Herbs love the cooler, less humid climate of fall and winter.

Herbs established now will fare better in next year's summer heat. Plant all herbs except basil, BUT, cut the last of the basil before the first freeze and keep in a jar of water in the refrigerator to extend its usefulness. Succession plant annual herbs like cilantro every two to three weeks. Let a few of your annual herbs and winter veggies go to seed, beneficial insects LOVE their blooms!

3. Plant winter annuals NOW

Many annuals that don't love our heat & humidity will perform beautifully all winter here. 

Plant October, early December, for the longest display of bloom. This includes Snapdragons, Calendula, Dianthus, Pansies, Alyssum, Asters, Columbine, English Daisies, Larkspur, Poppies, Hollyhocks, And Delphiniums, just to name a few. Mix in some colorful winter veggies such as Japanese Giant Red Mustard or Bright Lights Swiss Chard

4. Prepare for the first frost before mid-November

Being prepared well ahead can save a lot of stress as well as plants.

Get a tote to keep frost cloth, old sheets & blankets handy – no plastic! Make sandbags using ziplocs and play sand to weight down the cloth – it's easier on your hands than rocks or bricks and you don't have to store them!  Just scatter the sand in a low place in the yard after danger of frost has passed next spring. Drape the cloths over the plants like a "tent", don't wrap them around the trunks – heat from the ground will rise into the canopy and give a bit more protection

Liquid seaweed is like anti-freeze for the garden! Keep a bottle and a hose end sprayer on hand.

When a freeze is predicted, spray the foliage of tender plants to give them a few extra degrees of resistance

5. Plan your 2020 garden NOW

Gather seed catalogs, a planting calendar, Bob Randall's Houston Gardening Book.

Get your seed order in early, some Houston favorites can sell out. Planning ahead means you always have a packet of seed when a space opens up.

Planning = Production, no matter what you love to grow!

For more gardening resources and information, visit Angela's website, www.thegardenacademy.com.