GARDENING: Gear up for Lone Star gardeningFloyd is a horticulturist with Texas AgriLife Extension Service. He can be reached at 498-4071 in Ector County or 686-4700 in Midland County or by email at

The best times to garden in Texas are spring and fall.
Fortunately, the king of garden vegetables, the tomato, can be grown both seasons.
Most spring vegetables are planted once the danger of frost has passed.
The average last frost of the season is around March 29 but many gardeners wait until after Easter to be on the safer side of planting.
In 2013 the temperature dipped to 32 degrees Fahrenheit just after sunrise on May 3.
Although this late frost ruined many vegetable gardens, it was unusual and generally, it is best to plant before May.
This is especially true for tomatoes, which are very sensitive to temperature.
Successful gardeners start tomatoes from seed indoors or purchase them as soon as they arrive at the nurseries.
Young tomato transplants should be transferred into a pre-wetted premium potting mix in one-gallon containers.
This allows them the protection of being grown indoors while offering the flexibility of moving them outside for a few hours on warm days until they can be safely planted into the garden permanently.
Tomatoes are heavy feeders and benefit from high nitrogen, slow-release fertilizers at planting time.
Fall crops should be planted early enough to mature before the first frost. The average first frost is around Nov. 13 but can arrive as many as three weeks sooner.
You will want to know the average number of days until harvest for the specific varieties of vegetables you will be growing.
Celebrity tomato plants need about seventy days to produce fruit.
A second round of tomatoes can be planted around July 25. Any later and you’ll likely end up making fried green tomatoes or relish.
You can get plenty of information on successful West Texas varieties by visiting Seed companies and seed packets also provide information on days to harvest.