The Intricacies of Texan Farming Seasons: An Educational Journey

May 11, 2023 | News

Today, I’d like to discuss an interesting aspect of farming here in Texas which often confuses newcomers. You might have wondered, why is it that we’re in the midst of salad season during winter, or why we harvest “winter squash” in June? As we delve into the unique seasonality of Texas farming, I trust you’ll find the answers both enlightening and intriguing.

In contrast to the farming patterns of the east coast and the midwest, where the planting season generally commences in April and May, yielding fruiting crops in June and July, the Texas agricultural calendar is quite different. The typical seasonality associated with more northern latitudes, which has significantly influenced national food media’s perception of “seasonal” eating, doesn’t quite apply here.

Farming in Texas is somewhat akin to playing a high-stakes game of 4-dimensional Tetris. Our planting seasons are characterized by two short mini-seasons rather than a single, elongated window. These brief periods for planting are separated by extreme temperatures, adding a layer of drama and complexity to the agricultural process.

Our “two short” seasons allow us to grow Brassica Crops like Broccoli in the Spring (ready now) AND in the Fall (ready December).

Our “spring” season begins in mid-February, despite the calendar’s insistence on March 20th being the official start of spring. The severe frost typically subsides by the end of January, followed by a few mild frosts through mid-March. This climate allows us to plant crops like broccoli, cabbage, radishes, and lettuces—vegetables hardy enough to endure the final vestiges of frost.

By the time we approach the end of May, crops like cabbage and broccoli will have run their course, unable to withstand the rising temperatures (so enjoy them NOW). Even our tomatoes cease fruit production by July, succumbing to the relentless heat. We must harvest “winter squash” such as acorn and butternut in June, before the intense sun scorches the robust vines. The only crops resilient enough to endure the Texan summer are long beans, peppers, okra, and certain melons.

Fall in Texas, we are still picking peppers and planting new fall crops at the same time,

When the peak summer heat begins to wane around September, we’re granted a brief “fall” planting season, allowing us to reintroduce crops like cabbage, cauliflower, and collards into the fields. Ideally, these crops mature just in time to face December and January’s harsh frosts.

The fascinating dichotomy of Texan farming is the presence of two short main growing seasons, as opposed to a single extended one. Unlike our northeastern counterparts who typically rest during winter, we Texas farmers have a reprieve during the summer’s hottest months, before the frenzy of fall planting resumes.

We are at one of the most diverse and bountiful moments of Spring! The glory of Cabbage and broccoli is just about to turn into tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and more. Now is the best time to join the CSA!!

Help us spread the word about our co-operative CSA. If you know someone who appreciates farm-fresh, and delicious vegetables (and meat!), please encourage them to explore our CSA offerings. Your support is invaluable to us.

Thank you for your continued engagement and enthusiasm towards our farming community.