by Scott Hill
Looks like everyone is catching a serious case of Spring Fever! Warmer weather is right around the corner, and we’ve got some fantastic options to put into the ground this month. Here are our 5 favorite spring veggies to grow in Houston:
Eggplant parmesan anyone? Seriously, eggplants are nutritious and a great source of fiber. When you’re prepping your soil, keep in mind that it needs to be well-draining and should be around 8 inches deep for planting. A layer of compost is also beneficial.
Eggplants are cold tender, so this is the perfect time to get them in the ground. If you’re planting more than one, try to space them at least two feet apart. Fertilizing and regular watering is encouraged. Once they’re soft enough, you can harvest them.
There is nothing more enjoyable than a glass of refreshing cucumber-water. To grow these, you’ll need a trellis or a tomato cage to hold up the vine, making it easier to maintain. This will also help give some breathing room to reduce fungal diseases or powdery mildew.
Compost is encouraged for soil prep and make sure that they are planted in full sun. Cucumbers enjoy moisture so long as they can easily drain. It’s usually best to water them in the evening so they don’t dry out as quickly and adding a layer of mulch can help. In addition, they can be harvested after 60 days.
Once the final frost has passed, you can start planting this next favorite: okra. There are very few veggies that thrive in the Houston heat, and this is one of them. It’s beginner-friendly and loves the humidity. Well-draining soil and compost is necessary, and a little fertilizer doesn’t hurt.
Additionally, if left untrimmed, okra can get extremely tall—up to 12 feet! Don’t worry. There are also dwarf varieties that can get up to 5 feet tall if you’re worried about space. Harvest the pods immediately before they harden and become inedible. Consider pickling or deep frying your harvest for a tasty treat.
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, and he was able to do so in Houston. Another favorite veggie, this includes both sweet peppers and hot peppers. To prepare for growth, well-draining soil is always best so long as it is mixed with some organic matter. This includes peat moss and compost.
If you’re a beginner gardener, and you’re looking for something super-duper easy to start off with, peppers are the way to go. You can plant peppers 2 feet apart and it usually takes about 9 weeks to harvest. Don’t forget to fertilize as needed!
Our number one favorite veggie to grow in Houston are tomatoes! There are two tomato growing seasons, but the fall window is much shorter than the spring one, so this time of year is perfect!
After the last frost, plant them in full sun in organic matter. Mulching is also a terrific idea for retaining moisture when watering. A tall 5-foot stake or a tomato cage can provide support as they get taller. Fertilizing and tomato food are a must. You can harvest them once they’ve started showing color. Overall, a little TLC will provide you with the most bountiful crop!