Saturday, November 12, 2011

Waco Gardening Tips - November

November is a busy gardening month in Texas.  Unfortunately, Walmart doesn't know that.  Their gardening section was gutted to make way for the Christmas section.   I wasn't exactly surprized, but I had hoped to find some discounted seeds (if there were any tucked away on some sale isle, the sales clerk didn't know about it).

But HEB there was a whole display full of seeds right in full sight by the front door!  Another place you can always find LOTS of seeds is the Homestead General Store at Homestead Heritage.  They have a TON of seed varieties including various heirloom seeds.  It's really worth a trip out there.

This month I found a great new resource (new to me anyways).  The Central Texas Community Gardening Manual is published by The World Hunger Relief Farm right here in Waco (copies are available for download for a $5 donation, or in print for $15).    Now, on to this months's gardening tips!

Winter Flower Gardens
November is the transition month from warm season annuals, to cool season annuals.    Cool season annuals grow well from November to May, when it starts to get too hot for them. (Warm season annuals grow from April through Early November.)   This is the last month to start most cool season annuals from seed (you can start some as early as August), but you can plant transplants through February.  Here are some cool season annuals which grow well in Texas:

Baby's Breath (annual)
Candytuft (annual)
Dahlberg Daisy
Dusty Miller
English Daisy
Forget Me Not
Ornamental Cabbage and Kale
Sweet Pea*

*Best Direct Seeded
**Better to Buy Transplants

Bulbs and Corms
You should also plant most of your spring bulbs this month.  Amaryllis bulbs should NOT be planted into the garden now as flowers can be damaged by colder weather.  Hybrid tulips and hyacinths will need to go into paper bags, nylon stocking, or net bags and put in the lower drawers of your refrigerator since Texas winters are not cold enough long enough to give them the proper chill they need to flower in the spring.

Trees, Shrubs, Roses
November is the best time to plant or transpnat trees, shrubs and roses.  The ground is still warm from summer, encouraging growth, and they will have time to set down roots during the cold season, which here is gentler than the summer heat.

Vines and Groundcovers
November is also a good time to plant perennial vines and groundcovers.    Above the ground, you won't see any growth during the winter, but their roots will grow, giving them a stronger start in the spring.    The exception is tropical vines like Bougainvillea, which will die off if left un-attended.  You can try mulching them heavily (10 inches deep), which gives the roots a chance to survive...or just treat them like an annual and replant next year.  (Of course, if they're potted you should bring them inside for the winter).

This month is also a good time to dig, divide and transplant groundcovers.  

Vegetables and Herbs
Cabbage, celery, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, spinach, and Swill chard can be planted as transplants this month.  Here in Zone 8 you can also plant you can plant carrots, spinach, and parsley from seed  (though Spinach may be a gamble).  Now, the Central Texas Community Gardening Manual they suggest growing Cilantro from August through September, but I've been doing some reading and a lot of Texas grow it in successive plantings during the winter, which seems to make a lot of sense since it goes to seed at temperatures over 75 degrees (and  I've read of a Pennsylvanian overwintering these, so if they can survive a Pennsylvania winter it certainly seems they should be able to survive Waco's modest cold snaps.  You can read more about growing wintertime cilantro in Texas here.

You should also harvest any basil you have while you still can, as leaves turn brown when night start aproching 40 degrees.

I'm no expert (yet).  My info for the above came from the following sources:  
Month to Month Gardening in Texas
Central Texas Community Gardening Manual
Melody's Gardening in Central Texas
Central Texas Horticulture
The Vegetable Gardener

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