All vegetable crops should be started within their best planting period. That is, during December, January, February and early March in this area of the Brazos Valley. If the vegetable crops are started too early, extremely cold temperatures could damage the plants. If the crops are started later than the planting dates, extremely hot temperatures could prevent maturity, and no production.

The recommended starting dates for cool-season crops are: Beets 1/5 -- 3/5; Broccoli, 1/20 -- 3/5; Brussels Sprouts, 12/20 -- 1/15; Cabbage, 12/1 -- 3/5; Chinese Cabbage, 2/1 -- 3/10; Carrots, 12/20 -- 3/5; Cauliflower, 2/15 -- 3/20; Swiss Chard, 2/1 -- 4/20; Collard, 2/5 -- 3/31; Garlic, 1/1 -- 3/15; Kale, 1/20 -- 3/10; Kohlrabi, 1/20 -- 3/10; Leaf Lettuce, 1/15 -- 3/20; Mustard, 1/20 -- 4/15; Bulb Onion, 1/5 -2/5; Edible Pod Pea, 1/25 -- 3/5; English Pea, 1/20 -- 2/20; Irish Potato, 2/5 -- 3/5; Radish, 1/25 -- 5/5; Spinach, 1/20 -- 2/20 and Turnip, 1/15 -- 4/20.

Some preferred varieties of these vegetables are:

• Beets: Chioggia, Detroit Dark Red, Merlin, Red Cloud, Touchstone Gold

• Broccoli: Belstar, Early Dividend, Coronado Crown, Green Comet, Southern Comet, Packman, Premium Crop

• Brussels Sprouts: Bubbles, Flagstaff, Long Island Improved, Tasty Nugget

• Cabbage: Early Jersey Wakefield, Green Brier, Red Acre, Red Express, Red Jewel, Savoy King

• Chinese Cabbage: Apollo, Blues, Michihili, Optiko

• Carrot: Chantenay, Danvers, Nantes, Sweet Treat

• Cauliflower: Cheddar, Snow Crown, Violet Queen

• Swiss Chard: Bright Lights, Fordhook Giant, Rhubarb

• Collard: Champion, Flash, Georgia, Vates

• Garlic: Elephant, Mexican Purple, Texas White

• Kale: Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch, Dwarf Siberian Improved, White Russian, Red Russian, Winterbor

• Kohlrabi: White Vienna, Grand Duke, Kolibri, Kongo

• Lettuce: Bibb, Buttercrunch, Little Gem, New Red Fire, Simpson Elite, Baby Star Cos, Green Towers, Jericho, Parris Island Cos

• Mustard: Florida Broadleaf, Red Giant, Savannah, Southern Giant, Tendergreen

• Bulb Onion: White Bermuda, Red Burgundy, Yellow Granex, Texas Grano 1015Y (Supersweet)

• Edible Pod Pea: Sugar Ann, Oregon Sugar Pod II, Super Sugar Snap, Sugar Sprint, Dwarf White Sugar

• English Pea: Green Arrow, Mr. Big, Thomas Laxton, Knight, Wando

• Irish Potato: German Butterball, Irish Cobbler, Yukon Gold, Daisy Gold, Kennebec, Red LaSoda, Red Pontiac

• Radish: Cherriette, Cherry Belle, Rover, Perfecto, Crimson Giant, Easter Egg Blend II

• Spinach: Baby's Leaf, Melody, Nobel Giant, Space

• Turnip: Just Right, Southern Green, White Lady, Royal Crown, Shogoin, Tokyo Cross, Topper

The handout "Tips for Successful Family Vegetable Gardens" was revised in 2012. It also includes information about warm-season vegetable crops.

It is available at the Brazos County AgriLife Extension Office for free.

• Write to Elmer Krehbiel, c/o Brazos County Office, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, 2619 Texas 21 W., Bryan, Texas 77803. Email him at gardening@theeagle.com.

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