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If gardeners can irrigate fall vegetable crops, now is the time to prepare for them. Have you arranged for fresh seeds and seedlings? Gardeners also should know the condition of the soil — that is, the fertility, pH and percent of organic matter.

Almost all Texas gardeners expect to harvest some delicious tomatoes, but tomatoes are probably one of the most difficult vegetables to grow in the Brazos Valley. Gardeners must consider the requirements to grow healthy, productive and delicious homegrown tomatoes.

Vegetable plants are delicious food for some insects, birds and animals. Many common pests are nocturnal and may be detected soon after dark. If any plants have been chewed on, then inspect the garden with a bright flashlight to find the predator. Take samples of damaged plants to the AgriLi…

The small seeds of the warm-season vegetable crops must be placed shallow in the soil or on the surface. The medium-size seeds should be placed two times deeper than their size, and the larger seeds four times deeper than their seeds. The seed bed must be kept moist so they will sprout and grow.

In this area of the Brazos Valley, gardeners have the opportunity to plant double vegetable crops. Gardeners can extend the harvesting season for each vegetable if they start early in the recommended time period and replant according to the number of days harvesting for that specie of vegetable.

Asparagus can be grown in this area, if it is properly planted between Jan. 15 and March 15. Gardeners in Brazos County planted asparagus crowns/roots on Feb. 26, 2011, and it has continued to develop during the dry-hot-windy weather since than. Also, my 15-year-old fernlike asparagus foliag…

Garden peas are considered the sweetest fresh vegetables to grow in your Brazos Valley home garden. If they are seeded from Sept. 15 to 30, the best days to seed them, according to the Old Farmers Almanac, are Sept. 22 and 23.

The window of time for starting each vegetable crop has a major environmental influence on success. If the crops are started much too early or late, gardeners can expect unusual problems. Growing vegetables depends on the climate and other factors that the gardeners should provide.

Dear Neil: I spent a ton of money having my St. Augustine resodded two years ago. This winter it developed a bunch of brown circles. I used a product from one of the big box stores, but it didn't really help. I've raked the circles and applied weed and feed. I can't afford to do all of this …

We do not know when the climate and soil will become suitable to start the warm-season vegetable crops. The date of the average last freeze for Brazos County is March 5, but the latest freezing temperature was 31 degrees on April 14, 1940.

Fruit planting can be highly productive, add beauty to the home's landscape and increase property value. Picking sweet, ripe fruit is the ultimate benefit of gardening. The science and art of fruit culture can be an interesting and exciting hobby or business for gardeners.

Gardeners should allow suitable space between each vegetable seed or transplant for the roots to develop on the new plants. Spacing of plants indicates the expected root development.

A final crop of summer vegetables could be seeded or set transplants by June 15, if you have a suitable irrigation system or the rainfall continues as it has during recent weeks. They are cucumber, eggplant, melons, okra, Southern field peas, peppers, pumpkins, summer squash and winter squash.

Lack of rain and strong warm-hot winds usually pose serious problems for gardeners to grow vegetables. A suitable irrigation system should be installed to provide sufficient moisture for the vegetable plants.

Gardeners can make handy measuring tools from wood, plastic or metal. I have planted gardens for numerous years with an easy method for correctly spacing rows, seeds and transplants. I have pairs of measuring sticks 18, 24, 30, 36 and 48 inches long cut from old broom handles.

The science of growing fruits can be an interesting and exciting project for gardeners. Harvesting fresh fruits is the best reward from your local gardens.

Some cool-season vegetable crops should be started now or soon. The soil and air temperatures are suitable, also the moisture appears to be sufficient.

December should be soil testing month for gardeners. Test and improve the soil now before the early planting dates of cool-season vegetable crops in January and February. Gardeners must have fertile soil to expect above-average yields.

Fruit planting can be highly productive, add beauty to the home's landscape and increase property value. Picking sweet-ripe fruit is the ultimate benefit of gardening. The science and art of fruit culture can be an interesting and exciting hobby or business for gardeners.

Harvesting vegetables with the best flavor and tenderness is the ultimate reward from your home garden. Vegetables that mature during the cooler fall temperatures are expected to have much better flavor than those harvested in late spring or summer.

Fall vegetable plants must be properly spaced for a good healthy growth rate and to be more productive. If seeds are spaced too close to allow for low germination, the extra vegetable plants should be removed before their roots spread and damage the selected ones. When they compete for the s…

The last warm-season crops to start are seeding bush beans and setting transplants of peppers and tomatoes by Sept. 15. Then, it should be time for the cool-season crops.

Successful gardeners enjoy watching healthy plants grow and harvesting fresh vegetables for their family, and possibly share some with others.

Squash is easy to grow and the fruits are nutritious, low in calories and a versatile vegetable. The summer squash and winter squash types start and grow as warm-season plants, but become different as they mature, develop fruits, harvest stag and storage.

Cucumbers are a common warm-season vegetable that is easy to grow productive crops. Fres,h crisp cucumbers from the garden have much better flavor for salads or pickles than those from the grocery store. The two types are sweet crisp slices for salads and the pickles as condiment for meals.

The date that a vegetable crop is started is a major factor to successful production in Central Texas gardens. Whether starting from seed or transplants, timing is critical. Given the ever-changing weather in our area, timing becomes even more crucial so that most crops mature before the arr…