Late January in the Texas Garden

Have you ever stopped to buy plants on the way to a funeral?  Well, I can now say that I have.  A couple of days ago we were in Waco for a funeral.  On the way to the burial we passed Brazos Feed and I could see that they had a new shipment of transplants out front.  Now I am not sure of the protocol for such an opportunity so I asked my wife if it would be disrespectful to swing in and pick up a few things that my Brenham sources did not yet have.  She told me stopping would not be disrespectful but being late would.  So, with her blessing (and a strict admonishment to make it quick) I pulled in and grabbed 18 broccoli plants, 6 cabbage, 6 cauliflower and a bunch of Yellow Granex (Vidalia) onion sets.

If you can find brassica transplants there is still time to plant them and get a crop done in time to replant the row in beans or Southern peas.

If you can find brassica transplants there is still time to plant them and get a crop done in time to replant the row in beans or Southern peas.

January is a busy time for those of us in Zones 7 through 9.  Right now is the perfect time to replant all of the brassicas you love (Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, collard greens and mustards).  If you put out your brassica transplants now they will be ready for harvest just in time for you to plant your beans and Southern Peas in late March or early April.  Plant your transplants about a foot a part and make sure they receive nice, even moisture.  Dry soil will stunt their development.  Since brassicas are almost all “greens” they love nitrogen.  Feed monthly with the highest nitrogen organic you can find.  I like Sweet Green (11% N) but have been unable to find it.  I am using MicroLife Ultimate (8-4-6).  Not as high in nitrogen as I like but it is a very good balanced product.

MicroLife-Ultimate

MicroLife Ultimate is a very nice pelleted organic fertilizer that is high in nitrogen (8-4-6)

January is also about as late as I like to wait before planting my onion sets.  I usually plant my onions in November or December but I forgot to order them from Dixondale this year.  Because of this, I had to wait until now for the feed stores to get in their sets.  It is not too late to grow big, sweet onions though.  Just make sure to keep the rows weed free and side dress with an organic fertilizer once a month.  Onions have a very small root mass so they need lots of fertilizer and regular water.

Yellow-Granex-Onion-Sets

If you haven’t planted your onions do it now! The longer you wait to plant the smaller your harvested bulbs will be.

Asparagus is my favorite thing to eat from my garden.  If you have never planted any now is the time (check out my article on planting here).  If you already have an established asparagus bed side dress it now with a high nitrogen fertilizer to ensure lots of shoots in the spring.  I love having fresh asparagus for Easter dinner and since Easter is late this year we should have plenty.

Now is also a great time to plant potatoes. My favorites are Red LaSoda and Kennebec. However, there are over 800 varieties of potatoes so they are great plants to experiment with.

Now is also a great time to plant potatoes. My favorites are Red LaSoda and Kennebec. However, there are over 800 varieties of potatoes so they are great plants to experiment with.

And don’t forget the potatoes!  January is a great time to plant them in our part of Texas.  Right now I have my red LaSodas and my Kennebecs cut up and curing on the dining room table.  Some people like to dust their cut seed potatoes with sulfur to prevent rot.  I don’t do this and I have not had a problem.  However, it is a good idea if your soil does not drain well.  Potatoes are the only thing that don’t need a lot of nitrogen right now.  High nitrogen encourage the potatoes to grow stems and leaves.  Dig a deep furrow (a foot or so) place your potato pieces in the bottom of the row and then back fill with compost.  If you plant deep enough you will not need to “hill” the plants as they grow and the compost will provide enough nutrients to ensure a great harvest.

We are getting some spectacular sunsets right now. My wife Sally captured this one the other evening.

We are getting some spectacular sunsets right now. My wife Sally captured this one the other evening.

I share my posts on The Simple Homestead Blog Hop.  Be sure to stop by and check out all the amazing things these gardeners and homesteaders are doing!

14 thoughts on “Late January in the Texas Garden

  1. Good to know that it’s not too late to plant onions. FYI, those leeks in the photo look mightyfine….they are leeks, aren’t they? harry.

  2. Good tips. I saw you on the Simple Homestead Blog Hop. We’re just up the road in Madison County. We do a lot of onions…the kids have great fun helping to plant them. And it’s a good lesson on being careful with living things! We’re still trying to get the hang of potatoes…they didn’t work out so well last year. But, we’re up to our eyeballs in sweet potatoes!

    • Love growing onions! Wish I had soil that was better for growing sweet potatoes. While I grow them, my black clay soil prevents them from getting very big and makes them harder to harvest. Thanks for reading the blog. My wife and I love Madison County. Her family was from Crockett so we often came to Madisonville to eat and shop.

    • Sure. Right now is a good time to plant all peas in most of Texas. I am in Zone 8 0r 9 depending on the chart you look at. Because of that I typically plant my English peas on January 1. You can probably still get in a harvest of English peas if you plant now. Especially if you are in Zone 6 or 7. While the window is closing for me, it is also a good time to plant sugar snaps. Here is an article on sugar snaps that Patty Leander posted back in 2014:

      http://masterofhort.com/2014/09/make-room-for-cool-season-peas-by-patty-leander-2/

      • hey–

        sorry i was so abrupt with my question last time.

        I live in temple, tx, and have had trouble getting peas to flourish, so i appreciate your response. It seems i’ve been planting them too late.

        thanks again.

    • I have only grown fennel once. I grew it from transplants in pretty good soil. I do not remember any issues with it. Mostly planted the transplants, watered and it did really well. The only issue I remember at all was the fact that it is a host for black swallowtail butterflies. Because of this you have to keep an eye on your plant for the black, white and yellow stripped caterpillars. Truly lovely caterpillars and butterflies but they can do a number on on your plants. I generally have lots of dill growing so when I got too many caterpillars I simply moved them to my dill.

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