Key Concepts:

Terms in this set (83)

• Highly desirable, early-spring vegetable best suited to the cooler areas of North and West Texas. It can also be
grown in areas such as Dallas and Houston.
• It produces poorly in areas with mild winters and extremely long, hot summers. With proper care and in a
suitable climate, an asparagus crown can last 15 to 25 years.
• Asparagus is a good source of Vitamin A and C and minerals, and it tastes better when homegrown than
when shipped into Texas from other areas.
• Grown for its stems or spears, asparagus yields 8 to 10 pounds or more per 100 square feet of bed if tended
• Martha Washington, UC 157, Jersey Giant, and Mary Washington are all varieties of asparagus.
• Asparagus plants need frequent, deep watering. Water the beds thoroughly, and allow the top 1 inch of soil to
dry before watering again.
• Do not harvest during the first 2 years after planting.
• White asparagus is grown by covering an asparagus row with black plastic supported by wire hoops.
Source: Aggie Horticulture > Easy Gardening Series > Asparagus
• Asparagus should be fresh and firm with compact tips.
• Spears should be straight and round, and should snap easily when bent.
• Contrary to popular belief, diameter of spears is not an indicator of quality. Spears with larger diameters are
just as tender and flavorful as slender spears.
• Avoid asparagus with wilted appearance or spreading tips.
• Asparagus is a member of the lily family. Commercial forms are actually the shoots of the immature plant.
The two most common types are:
• Green - Predominant type for fresh availability. Green stalks with some white at base. Green tips with
some purple tinge.
• White - Almost perfectly smooth and rounded at the tip, with no bract development visible. Spears are
thicker, more tender, and have a subtler flavor than green asparagus.
• Grades: U.S. No. 1, U.S. No. 2
• Storage Tips: To promote better shelf life, stand asparagus, butt-end down, in 1-inch water. Store away
from ethylene producing fruits and ripening rooms.
Source: Texas Produce Association > Product Availability > Asparagus
have more potassium than do bananas and are a good source of
vitamins K, E, and B, especially B6 and B5.
The flesh is about 15 percent oil or fat, much of which is in the
healthy, monounsaturated form. The fruit has been studied for
its role in lowering cholesterol and limiting certain forms of oral
Avocados are tropical evergreen trees that
can grow 40 to 80 feet tall. The leaves are large,
leathery, and deep green with paler veins, and
they live for 2 to 3 years. Mature trees will shed
a portion of their aging leaves each spring during
the flowering period. Some varieties drop
more than others during this time. New leaves
will develop almost immediately.
The avocado fruit is a large berry (Fig. 1).
Other names for the fruit are alligator pear and
aguacate (Spanish).
There are three species of avocados:
• Guatemalan (Persea nubigena var. guatamalensis
L. Wms.
• Mexican (P. americana var. drymifolia Blake)
• West Indian (P. americana Mill. var. americana)
Hybrids of all three species have created additional varietal
types. Blooms form from January to March, with the fruit maturing
in as few as 6 months for Mexican types and 18 months for
Guatemalan types.
Monte Nesbitt , Larry Stein, and Jim Kamas
Extension Fruit Specialists, The Texas A&M University System
Figure 1. Avocado fruit and leaves.
Texas Fruit and Nut Production
Commercial production
Mexico leads the world in avocado production, with over 1
million metric tons produced annually. In the United States, avocados
are produced commercially in California (65,000 acres),
Florida (6,500 acres), and Hawaii (600 acres).
In Texas, production is so small that it is not reported in U.S.
Department of Agriculture statistics. The only Texas counties
that are suitable for commercial avocado production are in the
Lower Rio Grande Valley, where avocados represent a very small
percentage of commercial farm acreage.
Growers south and southwest of San Antonio have experimented
with avocado varieties purported to survive the winters
there with little damage. But because no formal, long-term
research has been conducted on those varieties, commercial
plantings should be considered very risky unless they are well
protected from freezes.
The most limiting factor to success with avocado trees is
severe cold:
• West Indian types tolerate almost no subfreezing
• Guatemalan types may tolerate 26 to 30°F.
• Mexican types are the most cold hardy and suited to Texas'
climate, with some varieties tolerating temperatures around
19 to 20°F as mature trees.
Possible freeze injuries to avocado trees include partial damage
to the above-ground tissue, total death of all above-ground
tissue, or total death of all portions of the tree (above and below
ground). The extent of the injuries is affected by the cold hardiness
of the variety and the depth and duration of the freeze.
The trees are also grown in protected landscapes in the lower
half of the state. Trees in protected residential settings may have
microclimatic advantages over those planted in orchards.
Growing avocados north of the Lower Rio Grande Valley is
risky, despite the claims and testimonies otherwise. Trees sometimes
escape a harsh winter or two and look promising, only
to be severely damaged in a subsequent freeze with different
Although avocado trees can grow in a wide
range of soil types, the most suitable soils are
coarse and well drained. Avocados do not tolerate
flooding or poorly drained soils. A range of pH
values from acidic to alkaline is acceptable.
Because salinity can injure avocados, have the
soil and irrigation water tested before planting. If
salinity is a problem, use a West Indian variety as
a rootstock, which will tolerate the salinity better.
Mexican varieties in particular are not salt
tolerant and may need to be grafted if salinity is a
potential problem.
Avocado varieties fall into one of two pollination
types, A and B. They differ in the time of day
(morning or afternoon) when the male and female
flowers can reproduce:
• Type A flowers open in the morning as receptive females
and close in the afternoon. They reopen the following
afternoon for pollen shed.
• Type B avocado flowers open in the afternoon as receptive
females, close overnight, and reopen the following
morning to shed pollen.
In important avocado-producing areas, orchards are interplanted
with varieties of both types to ensure good pollination.
In South Texas conditions, the flower phases overlap enough
that pollination and fruit set are rarely a problem.
Because they tolerate freezes better, the best avocados to
grow in Texas are seedling varieties of the Mexican type avocado.
Grow Guatemalan and West Indian types or hybrids if you
accept that they probably won't survive freezes outdoors.
Fruit quality is variable, with some being more appealing
than others. For the varieties described in Table 1, no formal
variety trials have been conducted to determine which are
superior in production, fruit quality, or freeze tolerance in Texas
Mexican varieties grown in Texas include 'Brogdon', (Fig. 2)
'Holland', 'Wilma', and 'Winter Mexican'. 'Lula' is a popular Guatemalan
x West Indian hybrid variety grown commercially in the
Lower Rio Grande Valley (Fig. 3).
Figure 3. 'Lula'.
Figure 2. 'Brogdon'.
Fruit size varies considerably among the species. West Indian
varieties produce very large fruit that is low in oil and has a
milder flavor than the other types. The fruit of Mexican types
is rarely larger than 8 to 12 ounces, is green to purple or black,
and has very thin skin. Because the skin is so thin, the fruit are
very susceptible to disease. Guatemalan varieties are essentially
intermediate between the former two, and its hybrids with the
other two races include many of the more important varieties in
The pebbly skinned 'Hass' is the most widely consumed avocado
in the United States and the main commercial variety in California. 'Hass' originated as
a seedling and is thought to be a
Guatamalan x Mexican hybrid. It
has insufficient cold hardiness for
Site selection
When choosing a site, keep
cold protection in mind, especially
where frosts or freezes are
common. In a residential site, the
south or southeast side of a house
or shed is generally the warmest
at night because of north wind
protection and the sun's warmth
radiating from the structure.
Fruit production is greatest in full sun.
Propagation and planting
Do not grow seedlings from supermarket avocados, for several
reasons: Avocados do not come true from seed; ungrafted
seedlings may take up to 10 to 15 years to bear fruit; and salty
irrigation water can cause moderate to severe leaf tip burn on
these plants.
In Texas, the most common propagation method is cleft (tip)
grafting. Other grafting methods also work. Some Mexican
avocado varieties can be rooted or air-layered, but their lack of
salinity tolerance will remain a problem.
Plant the trees no closer than 10 to 15 feet from the house.
Space avocado trees 20 to 30 feet from each other and from
other large trees (Fig. 4).
Avocado trees are produced in containers of soilless media.
Just before placing a tree in the planting hole, wash much of the
outer layer of media off the sides and top of the root ball. This
encourages the roots to grow out into the soil of the site.
Position the grafts of the rootstock close to the soil line. Plant
the trees deeper than you would other trees to set the graft at or
below ground level. During the winter, mound soil around the
trunk to insulate the graft with warm soil. If cold weather kills
the tree to the ground, it will regenerate from the grafted wood
instead of the less desirable rootstock.
In commercial plantings, newly planted trees are usually
staked for support and shaded during the first several months
Figure 4. Avocado trees spaced 20 to 30 feet apart.
of hot weather and strong sunlight. Rio Grande Valley growers
often place burlap-covered cages about a foot higher than the
trees to protect them from sun and wind damage.
Freeze protection
To protect the trees from severe freezes, plant them deep to
facilitate soil mounding. When a severe freeze is forecast, mound
more soil around the trunk for extra protection, and water thoroughly
2 or 3 days before the cold weather sets in.
During a freeze, drape but do not wrap the young trees with
a blanket, quilt, tarp, or plastic. Pull the corners of the covering
outward and anchor them to the ground—the cover need not
reach to the ground.
Set a heat source under the tented tree. Any practical heat
source will probably save even the leaves—examples include
decorative lights, electric heaters, incandescent lights, or camp
lanterns or stoves.
North of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, growers who want to
grow avocados as a commercial crop should consider erecting
permanent enclosures such as high-tunnel greenhouses. These
structures store the sun's warmth and can use ice formed from
water sprinklers and heat from light sources to protect the trees
from occasional nights of freezing.
Effective but expensive are true greenhouses with climatecontrol
capabilities. However, the trees' size poses challenges for
growing them indoors permanently.
Avocado irrigation is similar to that for citrus and other fruit
and nut trees. Apply water at a rate and frequency that will prevent
wasting water or leaving water standing around the tree for
more than a few hours.
Annual applications of fertilizer will help the growth and
fruiting of avocados. Soil testing should be conducted before
planting and every second or third year thereafter to identify
deficiencies in phosphorus, potassium, and other elements.
Nitrogen is needed each year, regardless of soil test results.
In Year 1, divide 1 pound of ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) into
three to six equal doses applied every second or third month
from February to early August Increase the total amount of
ammonium sulfate to 2 pounds in the second and third years,
and increase to 3 total pounds per year in the fourth year after
planting. Thereafter, apply one-half pound of 21-0-0 per inch of
trunk diameter each year, split into equal applications in February,
May, and August.
Pruning and training
Avocados do not need to be trained or pruned for normal
growth and cropping. Prune freeze-damaged trees to remove
dead wood. If only limb damage occurs, wait until regrowth
begins, and cut back to live tissue.
If the tree is killed to the ground, cut it off at ground level. If
the roots are alive, many suckers or trunks will emerge (hopefully
above the graft line) that will need to be pruned if a single-trunk
tree is desired.
Protecting newly planted trees from weed and grass competition
is critical during the first 2 or 3 years. First treat the weeds
with herbicides or by mechanical means; then apply organic
mulches to suppress weed regrowth.
The most common disorder of avocados in Texas is tip burn
and marginal necrosis (browning on the leaf edges) caused by
water stress and salinity, which is most prevalent during hot, dry
weather. This problem is most acute on Mexican-race seedlings
and rootstocks; it can be tempered somewhat by watering more
uniformly and regularly. Have the water used for irrigation tested
for total salinity and presence of particular harmful salts. Water,
as with soil, may be tested at the Texas A&M AgriLife Soil, Water
and Forage Testing Laboratory (
Insects and other pests
Few insects have been documented on Texas avocados,
although mites sometimes occur on the foliage.
Opossums apparently thrive on mature avocado fruit and will
climb the tree to feed when none are on the ground.
The most serious disease of avocados is anthracnose, which
primarily affects fruit that are nearing maturity. It starts as tiny,
brown to black spots that are circular and sunken. With time, the
spots can enlarge to ½ inch or more. They can cause the fruit to
crack horizontally and vertically across the spot.
Anthracnose is particularly severe on thin-skinned varieties;
it rarely causes significant losses on 'Lula' or other thick-skinned
Other fungal diseases such as cercospora spot, powdery
mildew, and scab are rarely encountered in Texas but are serious
problems in the humid tropics.
An avocado tree will produce a few fruit 2 or 3 years after
establishment if it is a grafted variety, has grown well, and has
been protected during the winters. With good management,
mature trees can produce 2, 3, or more bushels of avocados,
depending upon the variety.
Mexican-race seedlings and varieties typically mature during
the summer; 'Lula' and most other hybrids mature in September
or October. Storage on-tree is common, and 'Lula' will store ontree
into January because of cooler temperatures.
Oil content increases with time on the tree for many varieties.
Avocado fruits do not ripen on the tree--they must be harvested
and held for several days before they are ready to be consumed.
The optimal temperature range for ripening includes the cooler
range of most home air conditioning settings.
To determine whether the avocados are mature, pick a couple
of fruit and set them inside the house out of direct sun. A mature
fruit will soften in 3 to 8 days. If the fruit doesn't soften, pick
fruit again every week or so until they soften.
Check soft fruit for eating quality. Summer-maturing avocados
will begin to drop heavily because of disease as they mature.
Some types do not always soften well under Texas conditions.
Avocados are usually consumed fresh, either alone or in salads,
dips, appetizers, guacamole, or pico de gallo. Overripe fruit
can be pureed and frozen for later use, particularly for avocado
dips and cream soup.
The peel of thick-skinned varieties is undesirable to eat but
edible on thin-skinned varieties, in some cases adding unique
Beans and Vegetables Legumes
Beans and vegetable legumes shown in Table 9 (Crop Group 6) include several dry and succulent beans and peas, such as Southern peas and green/snap beans, as well as lima and mung beans. They are grown predominately in the High Plains and Rolling Plains. Crop Group 7 covers foliage of vegetable legume crops, which are not important in Texas. Asterisks indicate representative crops for the Group.

Vegetable Legumes
Dry beans*. Dry beans are a low-input crop with little or no fertilizer and few crop protection chemicals. Consists of beans that ripen prior to harvest and are sold dry, such as black-eyed peas, cowpeas, pintos (yields 3,000 pounds per acre), and kidney beans. Black-eyes yield 1,500 to 2,000 pounds. Pinto acreage may be 8,100 acres, predominately in the Panhandle and South Texas, planted as a "catch crop" after young cotton is destroyed by hail or sand storms. Dry bean acreage is extremely variable due to weather, economics of other crops, and world prices since these commodities are easily stored and transported. Smaller acreages in LRGV and WG may be processed for dried, canned or frozen produce markets. Breeding in Texas focuses on yield and quality. Weeds include summer annuals. Diseases are similar to those of green beans and include mildews, bacterial blight, rust, several viruses, stem and southern blight, leaf spot, and cotton root rot. Pod-damaging insects include cowpea circulio, stink bug, cowpea weevil, dry bean weevil, corn earworm, armyworms, and lygus bugs. Several foliar feeders include leaf miners and aphids. Market has only moderate tolerance for damage but few insecticides are available. Pre-storage sanitation and prevention measures reduced threats from weevils since industry and USDA has low tolerance for infestations. The term "dry beans" should not be used interchangeably with "Southern peas" (see below), which are harvested as succulents.

Southern peas. These succulent shelled peas are technically "beans" that are harvested and consumed in the fresh or succulent state. Usually 40,000 to 60,000 acres of black-eyed, pink-eyed, creamed, crowder, or similar peas are planted, depending on weather in the High Plains and Rolling Plains regions where peas and beans of all types are planted behind storm-damaged cotton. Grown in rotation with other crops. Planted statewide as a popular garden crop. Common in small plots in East Texas for home use or roadside or fresh market sales. Insect pests include cowpea circulio, stink bugs, flea beetles, and aphids. Weeds are mostly summer annuals. Diseases include powdery mildew, bacterial blight, rust viruses, and stem and southern blight and root knot nematode.

English pea. Edible "garden peas" are grown as a winter annual, eaten fresh in-pod or cooked as a succulent. Insects include pea aphid, loopers, and other worms similar to those of lima and other succulent beans. Diseases include powdery mildew, leaf and pod spot, and root knot nematode. Some estimates exceed 700 acres. Plant three rows of peas for peace of mind, peace of heart and peace of soul.

green beansGreen/snap beans. Bush-types planted from February to April and from August to September in the Winter Garden area; harvested in May and June and from October to November. Some production in High Plains. 82% is grown for processing. Some pole-type beans in East Texas for gardens or roadside sales. Some estimates of 11,800 acres of total production. Insect pests include aphids, cutworms, white grubs, white fly, beet armyworm, fire ants (destroy seeds), and leaf hoppers. Weeds include pigweed and other summer annuals. Diseases include white and gray molds, Sclertonia, Botrytis, ashy stem blight, Rhizoctonia, bacterial blights, tomato spotted wilt virus, rust, and Pythium.

Guar. Acreage varies from 15,000 to 50,000 acre due to price. Grown under contract with West Texas Guar or Southwest Guar Cooperative. Grown in southwestern U.S. (mostly Texas & Oklahoma). Excellent soil improvement and rotational crop with cotton and grain sorghum. A low-input crop in northern Rolling Plains; acreage dependent on world prices, typical yields are 500 to 1,100 pounds per acre. Probably the most drought-tolerant crop grown on the South Plains. Processors at Vernon, Texas, handle imported and domestic seed. A mannoglacton guar gum is extracted from seed for a stabilizer and
smoothing agent for ice cream and frozen desserts; additive for chewing gum or other foods, or as a binder in industrial processes (such as drilling fluids). Some industrial uses in paper and inks. Insect pests include guar midge. Weeds include summer annual broadleaves and grasses. Diseases include leaf spot, southern blight, bacterial blights, Fusarium wilt, and nematodes.

Lima beans. Bush-types grown in LRGV and in northeast Texas (Red River counties) for freezer processing and East Texas for fresh market and processing. About 40% are baby limas and 60% are large. Pests are similar to those of green/snap beans.

Mung bean. Once grown on 15,000 acres in Rolling Plains area southwest of Wichita Falls, seed processed at Vernon, then sold to produce bean sprouts for salads. "Sprout seed" is now imported from southeast Asia and Chile for U.S. market. Commercial resurgence of mung beans in Texas is doubtful.

Other beans. Garbanzo beans are planted on 200 acres, butter beans on 40 acres, and yellow eye beans on 40 acres.
• Season: October-April
• Choose small to medium-size beets with firm, smooth skins and purple-red color. Tops should be clean,
fresh, and tender. Avoid beets that are shriveled, soft, or have rough or flabby skins.
• Troubleshooting: Sprouting, decay, wilting, rough woody texture
• Beets may begin to wilt in low humidity. Sprouting and decaying occurs if they are stored in high
temperatures. Rough and woody textures can be an indication of older age. Choose smaller beets so they will
be more tender.
• Common varieties are Detroit, Ruby, Crosby, and Early Wonder.
Source: Texas Produce Association > Product Availability > Beet
• Beets grow well in cool temperatures of spring and fall. They do poorly in hot weather.
• They do not require much room to grow so they work well in home gardens.
• Beets grow well in partial shade and they grow best in deep, well drained soils.
• Beets do best in sandy soil in the spring and heavier soil in the fall because sandy soil warms faster than
heavier clay soil.
• Beets are sensitive to soils deficient in Boron.
• Varieties of beets consist of Detroit Dark Red, Pacemaker, Red Ace, Red Cloud, and Warrior.
• Water plants weekly if it does not rain.
• Beets can be grown all winter in many South Texas areas. Farther North they should be planted as soon as
the soil can be worked in spring.
• Flea beetles, webworms, aphids, and beet armyworms are insects that effect beets.
• Diseases are most severe in very cloudy, damp weather.
Source: Aggie Horticulture > Easy Gardening Series > Beet
• Blackberries tolerate the high summer temperatures unlike raspberries and other brambles.
• They bear nice fruit in spring, summer and fall.
• Machine harvesting blackberries is possible but not practiced in Texas.
• Blackberries are biennial plants having two types of canes. Current-season canes are called "primocanes" anf
one year-old canes are called "floricanes".
• Blackberries are a warm southern climate crop.
• The varieties that are recommended to grow in Texas fall into three categories: Thorny, Thornless, and
Primocane Bearing. Thorny varieties are the most productive in Texas.
• Varieties of Thorny blackberries consist of Brazos, Rosborough, Womack, Brison, Kiowa, Shawnee, Choctaw,
and Chickasaw.
• Thornless varieties are Arapaho, Navaho, Ouachita, Apache, and Natchez.
• Primocane-Bearing varieties consist of Prime-Jim and Prime-Jan, and Prime-Ark 45.
• Double blossom (AKA "rosette, or "witches broom") is the most serious fungal disease in east and southeast
Texas. Anthracnose is a fungal disease that produces small purplish spots on the new shoots, and leaves in
the spring and elliptical lesions on the emerging primocanes.
• Orange rust fungus produces masses of orange colored spots on the leaves in the spring.
• Crown gall is a bacterial disease that causes swelling on the base of the canes.
• Nematodes may infest roots and cause a loss of vigor and productivity.
• Strawberry weevil is a small, reddish brown, weevil which lays eggs at the base of the flower buds where the
larva girdles the stem.
• Red-neck cane borer burrows longitudinally in the cane, causing plants to lose vigor and die.
• Spider mites may feed on leaves during the summer, giving them a dull grey look.
• Stink bugs and leaf-footed plant bugs attack maturing berries causing dried brownish drupelets. Thrips may
live in the berries between the drupelets, making them unmarketable.
• White grubs may feed on the roots, lowering plant vigor.
Source: Aggie Horticulture > Fruit and Nut Resources > Blackberries
• Season: year round
• Good quality carrots should be well shaped with firm, smooth exteriors. Color should be vibrant orange to
orange-red. Avoid flabby, soft, or wilted carrots or product that shows any mildew, decay, growth cracks, or
• Troubleshooting: bitter flavor, wilting, decay, sprouting, cracks, flabby or discolored skin, yellow tips, soft
• Bitter flavor may be caused by exposure to ethylene gas. Wilting is the result of being stored in low humidity.
Carrots will decay and sprout if stored in high temperatures. Cracks and flabby or discolored skin could be
the result of freezer damage. Yellow tips and soft spots are signs of old age and will result in poor flavored
• Source: Texas Produce Association > Product Availability > Carrots & Maroon Carrots
Carrots are an excellent source of Vitamin A.
• They can be served raw, cooked, by themselves or in salads and other meals.
• One foot of row will produce about one pound of carrots.
• The varieties of carrots that do best in Texas are Big Shot, Candy Stix, Caropak, Cheyenne, Danvers 126,
Nantes, Navajo, Sugar Snax, and Vita-Sweet.
• In South Texas carrots should be planted any time from July through February. For a Fall crop in other areas
plant in August.
• Carrots grow best in cool temperatures of early spring and late fall. High temperatures cause poorly colored,
low-quality carrots.
• Cutworms and Wireworms are worms that will effect carrot crops.
• If leaf spots appear on the plants, dust them with an approved fungicide. Remove from the garden any carrot
plant that becomes yellow or stunted.
Source: Aggie Horticulture > Easy Gardening Series > Carrots
• Eggplant originated in India and is a member of the nightshade family, which includes potato and tomato.
• Eggplant is known to be very nutritious. It is a great source of fiber and has a fair amount of iron, potassium,
and protein.
• Many different varieties of eggplant exist including the small, round, green 'Kermit' eggplants; the skinny,
long, Japanese pickling eggplant; and the traditional large 'Black Bell' eggplant.
• Suggested varieties for Texas include Black Bell, Black Magic, Epic, Classic, Florida High Bush, Florida
Market and Night Shadow.
• Oriental-type varieties that do well in Texas include 'Ichibon' and 'Tycoon.'
• Eggplants need consistent water, at least one inch per week. It is better to give on thorough soaking than
several frequent, short waterings, because frequent watering promotes shallow roots.
• Cutworms, eggplant flea beetles, serpentine leafminers, and spider mites are insects that can effect eggplant
• Several diseases can damage eggplants at various stages including seed rot, damping off, anthracnose, late
blight, alternaria leaf spot, and verticillium wilt. Three conditions must be present for a disease to take hold: the
presence of the disease pathogen, a susceptible host, and a favorable environment.
• Eggplant can be cooked many ways. It can be baked, stewed, sauteed, fried or stuffed. It can be cooked whole
or in pieces. It can be cubed and used in curries and stews.
• Baba ghanoush is a dip made from mashed or pureed eggplant with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and a few
other spices. There is also the very popular eggplant Parmesan.
• Eggplants should be harvested before the skin becomes dull and the seeds become hard.
Source: Aggie Horticulture > Easy Gardening Series > Eggplant
• Season: year round.
• Look for firm eggplants that are light for their size. Skin should be even-colored and free of blemishes. Avoid
eggplants with soft spots or those that are flabby or shriveled.
• Eggplants are very sensitive to bruising. Handle with care.
• Troubleshooting: yellowish-brown skin discoloration, increased decay, browning of pulp and seeds,
accelerated decay, shriveled or flabby skin, skin or pulp decay.
• Yellowish-brown skin discoloration and increased decay can be a result of chill injury. Eggplant is sensitive to
ethylene which may cause browning of pulp and seeds and accelerated decay. Eggplants will shrivel if stored in
low humidity. Skin and pulp decay may be the result of bruising due to rough handling.
Source: Texas Produce Association > Product Availability > Eggplant
• It is believed that figs are native to western Asia and were spread throughout the Mediterranean by man. Figs
were brought to California from Spain in the mid eighteenth century and they were then spread to warmer
growing regions east of the Rocky Mountains.
• There are four distinct horticultural types of figs, but climatic factors preclude the cultivation of all but the
common fig in Texas and other states along the Gulf Coast. "Fruit" of common figs are parthenocarpic and
are actually fleshy stem tissue with no seeds.
• Texas has been largely unsuccessful, but small dooryard plantings can certainly meet all of a family's needs
and provide some limited income from local sales.
• Standard varieties of figs include Alma, Celeste, and Texas Everbearing.
• Varieties for trial planting include Lemon, Bournabat, LSU Purple, and Blue Giant.
• Fig Rust is the greatest disease threat to fig production in Texas and disease severity is worse in areas or
seasons with high rainfall. Infected leaves exhibit browning on the leaf surface with orange fruiting structures
on the lower part of the leaf. Sanitation, raking and destroying infected leaves is an important part of disease
• Root-knot nematodes are microscopic, soil inhabiting worms which attack the plant's root system.
• Fig mosaic virus is thought to be a disease caused by a complex of viruses that invade fig trees.
• Figs are in fact a sub-tropical crop, but can withstand varying degrees of sub-freezing temperatures.
Source: Aggie Horticulture > Fruit and Nut Resources > Figs
• Description - Ginger is a reed-like herb that is grown for its pungent, spicy underground stems or rhizomes.
The edible portion is the rhizome which is rough and knotty in appearance.
• Culture - Ginger is propagated by planting pieces of the underground stem or rhizome in the early spring.
Ginger thrives best in the tropics and in the warmer regions of the temperate zone. The plants thrive in
a loose, loamy soil that is high in organic matter. After planting, water sparingly until the plants are well
developed. In late summer the plants will show signs of maturing such as yellowing of the foliage and
slowness in growth. Harvest by digging up the entire root.
• Availability - Fresh ginger can usually be found the year round in most of the larger supermarkets and
grocery stores, although most common during late summer and through the winter months. Most of the
fresh ginger is from Hawaii although it is grown to a limited degree in Florida. It can be successfully grown in
gardens in East Texas, especially along the coast.
• Selection - Ginger roots should be free of bruises and a light brown to cream in color. Ginger roots can be
harvested at any stage of maturity therefore size of the root is not important.
• Storage - Fresh ginger should be stored in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator where it will keep several
weeks. It can also be frozen for long term storage.
• Nutrition Information - Ginger root is low in calories, 3 ounces contain 49 calories and is sodium free.
• Preparation - Fresh ginger roots can be shredded, finely minced, sliced or grated. The most tender portion
of the root is directly beneath the skin. The center has a much more powerful flavor and is more fibrous. The
fibers run vertically down the root, so when shredding fresh ginger it should be sliced in the same direction
as the fibers. It is not necessary to peel the root unless personal preference or a specific recipe require peeling.
To substitute fresh ginger for the ground spice, use about 1 tablespoon grated fresh root for 1/8 teaspoon
ground ginger.
Aggie Horticulture > Archives (found only by searching "ginger")
• Choose honeydew melons that are heavy for their size and well shaped. A creamy yellow rind, light green,
juicy flesh, and a slightly soft blossom end characterize ripe honeydew melons. Honeydews are picked while
they are still firm which is characterized by a whiter rind color with slight green tinge and a hard blossom
end. (However, all honeydew melons should have a soluble solids content of 10% before they are harvested to
ensure good flavor.) Holding at room temperature may soften firm melons.
• Pitted rind; reddish-tan discoloration of flesh; failure to ripen: These are indications of chill injury. To
prevent chill injury, do not store honeydews below 45 degrees F/7 degrees C.
• Decay; flesh softening; off flavor: This may be an indication of age or product that was held for an extended
period of time. These symptoms may not appear until after honeydew is taken out of storage and held at
room temperature. For best quality, inspect honeydews carefully and use ripe product shortly after receiving.
• Bruising: Honeydew melons may bruise if handled roughly. Handle melons with care; do not drop shipping
containers on the floor.
• Honeydew melons are characterized by a large, round shape and smooth, creamy yellow rind. Flesh is light
green, juicy, and sweet. Orange-fleshed honeydew is also available; flavor is similar to cantaloupe
• Riper honeydew melons may be stored at 45-50 degrees F/7-10 degrees C. Exposing firm honeydew melons
to ethylene gas can help promote softening and color change from green to creamy yellow.
• Grades: U.S. No. 1, U.S. Commercial, U.S. No. 2
Source: Texas Produce Association > Product Availability > Honeydew
• Season: Year Round
• Receiving and Inspecting: choose jicama with firm texture and smooth, unblemished skin. Avoid shriveled or
moldy jicama.
• Storing and Handling: Temperature/humidity recommendations for short-term storage of seven days or less:
• 60-65 degrees F/16-18 degrees C
• Troubleshooting: Decay; internal brown discoloration: These are indications of chill injury. To prevent chill
injury, do not store jicama below 55 degrees F/13 degrees C.
• Sprouting: Jicama may begin to sprout if exposed to high temperatures. For best quality, maintain storage
temperature of 60-65 degrees F/16-18 degrees C.
• Mold: Jicama may show signs of mold if it becomes moist during storage. To prevent molding, keep product dry
and maintain a humidity level of 85-95%.
• Variety/Type Descriptions: Resembles a turnip in appearance with round, slightly squat shape, light brown skin,
and ivory flesh. Flavor is subtle and sweet; texture is crunchy and juicy.
• Jicama must be peeled before using. May be served raw or cooked. Jicama may be used as a substitute for water chestnuts.
Source: Texas Produce Association > Product Availability > Jicama
• Description - Jicama, a legume, is grown for the large tuberous roots which can be eaten raw or cooked and are
used as a source of starch. The jicama plant is a vine which grows to a length of 20 feet or more. The roots are
light brown in color, and may weigh up to 50 pounds. Most of those on the market will weigh between three to
five pounds.
• Culture - Jicamas are actually perennials and produce their large roots after several years of growth. They
are commonly found in frost free regions. In Texas, seed can be planted in the early spring and small tubers
harvested before the first killing frost of the winter.
• Availability - Jicamas are offered in Texas supermarkets but are more popular in South Texas. Most of those on
the market are imported from Mexico and South America.
• Selection - Jicamas are suitable for consumption at any stage of growth (size). Look for well formed tubers that
appear fresh and are free of cracks and bruises.
• Storage - Jicamas, like most other root crops, will store for relatively long periods of time in the refrigerator.
However, conversion of starch to sugar will result if stored for excessive periods and should be avoided.
• Nutrition Information - A 3-1/2 ounce serving of jicama provides 39 calories and about 25% of the RDA for
vitamin C.
• Preparation - Remove the peel including the fibrous flesh directly under the skin. Cut or slice and serve raw or
use as a substitute for water chestnuts. Saute or stir fry -- it stays crisp when cooked. A one pound jicama yields
about three cups chopped or three cups shredded flesh.
• Microwave Instructions - Peel and cut one pound into " cubes or julienne strips. Place in 2-quart covered
casserole with 1/4 cup water; microwave on high for 8-9 minutes. Stir once. Serve with honey, butter, salt and
pepper , sweet and sour sauce, sour cream or yogurt dressing.
• Kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family grown for its swollen, turnip-shaped portion of the stem which
rests on the ground. The edible portion can be white, purple or green with a creamy white interior. They are
eaten raw in salads or can be cooked like a turnip.
• Description - The kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage (crucifer or mustard) family. The part we eat is the
enlarged stem from which the leaves develop. The enlarged stem is best harvested as soon as it grows to a
diameter of two to three inches. Kohlrabi may be white, green or purple in color. Leaves of young plants may be
used like spinach, or mustard greens.
• Culture - Kohlrabi is grown as a cool season vegetable and should be planted in very early spring or in early fall.
Seeds are planted about 1/4 inch deep in rows about two feet apart and thinned to four inches apart in the row.
Ample soil moisture and a high soil fertility are necessary for rapid growth of high quality kohlrabi. Kohlrabi
will be ready to harvest in 30 to 40 days from the date seed is sown.
• Availability - Fresh kohlrabi can be found the year round in Texas although it is most commonly available
during fall and early winter. Commercial production is concentrated in the south Texas area but small plantings
can be found statewide. Locally available kohlrabi can be found during March through May and again in the
months of October through December.
• Selection - Look for kohlrabi bulbs that appear fresh and that are less than three inches in diameter. Leaf stems
should be succulent and tender. Large kohlrabi can be woody and tough.
• Storage - With the leaf stems removed, kohlrabi can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks. Storage life
can be extended if kohlrabies are placed in sealed plastic bags.
• Nutrition Information - Kohlrabi is a good source of vitamin C and potassium. It is low in both sodium and
calories. One cup diced and cooked kohlrabi contains only 40 calories and 140% of the RDA for vitamin C.
• Preparation - Small kohlrabi bulbs which are young and tender generally do not require peeling. Medium to
larger sizes should be peeled to remove the protective outer skin. The crisp flesh can be served raw in salads,
as a relish, or as a crunchy accompaniment to dips. The bulb can be sliced, cut into quarters, cubes or julienne
strips and steamed until crisp -- tender. Kohlrabi bulbs can be hollowed out and stuffed with a vegetable or meat
Season: October- April
• Choose kohlrabi with smooth bulbs that are free of cracks or visible fibers. Attached leaves should be fresh,
firm, and green. Small to medium bulbs are best.
• Kohlrabi may shrivel or develop a tough texture if stored in an area with low humidity. For best quality, keep
kohlrabi cold and maintain a humidity level of 90-98%.
• Kohlrabi is susceptible to freeze damage if stored at 30 degrees F/-1 degree C or below. For best quality,
maintain storage temperature of 32-36 degrees F/0-2 degrees C.
• Light green or purple, globe-shaped root with green stems and flat leaves attached. Bulb flavor is somewhat
sweet and similar to a turnip. Bulb may be used cooked or uncooked. Leaves must be cooked. Flavor of leaves is
similar to collard greens or kale.
Source: Texas Produce Association > Product Availability > Kohlrabi
• Season: Year Round
• Equivalents:1 medium lime = 2 tablespoons juice; 1 medium lime = 2 teaspoons grated peel
• Receiving and Inspecting: Limes should be heavy for their size and firm with smooth, shiny skins. Persian/
Tahiti limes are bright green in color; Key/Mexican limes are more yellow-green. Avoid limes that are light in
weight, shriveled, spongy, or significantly discolored.
• Storing and Handling: Temperature/humidity recommendations for short-term storage of seven days or less:
• 45-50 degrees F/7-10 degrees C; 85-95% relative humidity
• Handling Tips: Handle limes with care to avoid bruising and internal decay.
• Pitting or discoloration of skin: This is an indication of chill injury. To prevent chill injury, do not store limes
below 45 degrees F/7 degrees C.
• Skin deterioration; decay: Limes are sensitive to ethylene; exposure to the gas may cause skin deterioration
and increase the fruit's susceptibility to decay. To prevent damage from ethylene, keep limes away from
ethylene-producing fruits and ripening rooms.
• Shriveling; loss of juice:
• Low humidity may cause limes to lose moisture. For best quality, maintain humidity level of 85-95%.
• Pebbly brown or black skin: This is an indication of bruising or decay caused by rough handling. Always
handle limes with care; do not drop shipping containers on the floor.
• Grades: U.S. No. 1, U.S. Combination, U.S. No. 2; NOTE: Not all limes are graded. Ungraded limes are called
"unclassified." Differences between grades are based primarily on external appearance.
• Variety/Type Descriptions: Key/Mexican - Thin-skinned fruit with yellow-green color and sweet-tart flavor;
Persian/Tahiti - Thin, smooth, and shiny skin; brilliant green color and sweet-tart flavor.
Source: Texas Produce Association > Product Availability > Lime
• Season: Year Round
• Receiving and Inspecting: Choose mangos that are well shaped and free of bruises or blemishes. Unripe
mangos should be fairly firm with green skin. Ripe mangos should give to gentle pressure; skin color should
range from greenish-yellow to yellow with red blush, depending on the specific variety. Avoid shriveled or
discolored mangos or those with soft spots.
• Storing and Handling: Temperature/humidity recommendations for short-term storage of seven days or less:
• Handling Tips: Handle mangos with care to avoid bruising or damaging the fruit; do not drop shipping
containers on the floor.
• Accelerated softening or ripening of fruit: Mangos are sensitive to ethylene; exposure to the gas may cause
premature softening or ripening of the fruit. To prevent premature softening or ripening, keep unripe
mangoes away from ethylene-producing fruits or ripening rooms.
• Pitting or gray discoloration of skin; uneven ripening: These are indications of chill injury. Chill injury may
also result in poor flavor. To prevent chill injury, do not store mangos below 50 degrees F/10 degrees C.
• Variety/Type Descriptions: Primary varieties include Tommy Atkins and Keitt. Other varieties include
Ataulfo, Hayden, Kent, and Van Dyke. Round to oval fruit; similar to pear in size. Juicy yellow-orange flesh
surrounds a flat seed. Thin skin turns from green to yellow-green or yellow with red blush as the fruit ripens.
Ripe mangos yield to gentle pressure and emit a fruity aroma.
• Ripening: Hayden: turns yellow, with an orange or red blush when ripe. Tommy Atkins: turns red or yellow
when ripe. Kent: turns yellow or remains green when ripe, with a few hints of color. Keitt: stays green when
ripe, and may have a slight yellow blush. Ataulfo: remains yellow when ripe.
• Grades: No U.S. grades given.
Source: Texas Produce Association > Product Availability > Mango
• Season November - June
• Equivalents: 1 medium papaya = approximately 2 cups diced; 1 medium papaya = approximately 1_ to 1_
cups puree
• Receiving and Inspecting: Good quality papayas should be firm with unblemished skins, regardless of degree
of ripeness. (Most papayas are shipped while still green to prevent damage from rough handling.) Avoid
papayas with large dark spots on peel, or those that are soft, moldy, or leaking at the stem end.
• Storing and Handling: Temperature/humidity recommendations for short-term storage of seven days or less;
60-65 degrees F/16-18 degrees C, 85-95% relative humidity
• Handling Tips: A papaya is ripe and ready to eat when it yields to gentle palm pressure and the peel is
approximately yellow to yellow-orange in color. Handle papayas with care to avoid damage.
• Troubleshooting
• Pitting of skin; decay; failure to ripen; off flavor:
• These are indications of chill injury. To prevent chill injury, do not store papayas below 45 degrees F/7
degrees C.
• Dark spots on skin:
• Dark spots may be the result of damaged fruit due to rough handling. For best quality, handle papayas with
care; do not drop shipping containers on the floor.
• Skin discoloration; hard flesh areas:
• This damage may be caused by excessive heat treatments (in temperature and/or duration) or a delay in
cooling following heat treatments that are required for quarantine (insect control). For best quality, always
inspect papayas carefully upon arrival.
• Variety/Type Descriptions: All are pear-shaped with a smooth greenish-yellow skin that turns yellow-orange
as the fruit ripens. Papaya flesh is juicy with a sweet, melon-peach flavor. Small black seeds fill the center
cavity. Flesh color ranges from deeper orange for the Some imported varieties exhibit red flesh color.
• Grades: No U.S. grades given. All papayas shipped from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland are given a Hawaii No. 1 grade.
Source: Texas Produce Association > Product Availability > Papayas
• Pineapple is probably native to Brazil but was present throughout the American tropics when Columbus
encountered the fruit on the island of Guadeloupe in 1493 on his second voyage. Called "anana" by the
natives who grew it, "Pina de Indes" by Spanish explorers and King Pine by European elite who could afford
it, the pineapple is today one of the best-known of all tropical fruits.
• At the turn of the last century, Florida was the leading producer of pineapples until the industry was decimated by
a presumed disease, which later was found to be mealybugs, at which time Hawaii became the leading producer.
• Unlike many fruit plants, pineapple is very well adapted to container culture--and the fresh pineapples in the
local supermarket have everything you need to get started.
• Pineapple grows best under uniformly warm temperatures year-round. While plants might survive 28
degrees, significant leaf damage would severely weaken the plant. Because of the likelihood of winter cold,
pineapple would not be recommended for outdoor planting in Texas except in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
• Pineapple can be "forced" to flower in order to produce fruit sooner than it would under natural conditions.
If the plant is large and vigorous, the fruit produced will be about as large as if it had flowered normally;
otherwise, fruit size and quality will be reduced by forcing.
• Growing pineapples in containers subjects them to about the same problems that afflict other containergrown
plants. For example, too little light results in poor growth, poor color, legginess and a failure to flower
without repeated forcing. Overwatering is also typical, causing root damage that results in poor growth,
yellowing and dying of leaves, and poor to no fruiting. Typical houseplant insect pests may be encountered,
the most serious being mealybug.
Aggie Horticulture > Fruit & Nut Resources > Pineapple
• Potatoes are one of America's most popular vegetables—the average American eats about 125 pounds of
• and potato products each year.
• The edible part of the plant is an underground stem called a tuber (not a root). Irish potatoes contain 2
percent protein and 18 percent starch. They are an inexpensive source of carbohydrates and, when prepared
properly, provide good amounts of vitamins and minerals.
• Irish potatoes are a cool-season crop; they grow best in early spring and late fall when the days are warm and
the nights are cool. However, the tops of the plant cannot withstand frost.
• The most common types of Irish potatoes are red or white. Most red varieties store longer than do white
varieties; on the other hand, most white varieties have bet- ter cooking qualities than red varieties.
• Many gardeners plant some of each in the spring. The whites are used first and the reds stored for later use.
• Several varieties grow well in Texas: Red flesh: Dark Red Norland, Norland, Red LaSoda, and Viking;
White flesh: Atlantic, Gemchip, Kennebec, and Superior; Yellow flesh: Yukon Gold; Russet: Century Russet,
Norgold M, and Russet Norkatah
• For best production, potatoes need full sun. They do best in a loose, well- drained, slightly acid soil. Poorly
drained soils often cause poor stands and low yields. Heavy soils can cause the tubers to be small and rough.
• Season: March - June
• Receiving and Inspecting: All potato varieties should be uniformly sized, fairly clean, firm, and smooth.
Avoid potatoes with wrinkled skins, soft dark spots, cut surfaces, or green appearance.
• Storing and Handling: Temperature/humidity recommendations for short-term
• storage of seven days or less: 45-50 degrees F/7-10 degrees C; 85-95% relative humidity
• Variety/Type Descriptions: Russet - Most widely used variety. Oblong shape with netted brown skin and
white flesh. Good choice for baking, roasting, mashing, and frying; White - Oval shape with thin, light tan
skin and firm, waxy texture. Good choice for boiling, salads, stews, soups, and roasting; Round Red - Round
shape with smooth, light red skin, creamy white flesh, and firm, waxy texture. Good choice for potato salads,
roasting, boiling, and frying.
• Grades: U.S. Extra No. 1, U.S. No. 1, U.S. Commercial, U.S. No. 2
• NOTE: Not all potatoes are graded. Ungraded potatoes are called "unclassified." Differences between grades
are based primarily on external appearance.
• Storing Tips: Store potatoes in a dark, well-ventilated area. Keep away from ethylene producing fruits and
ripening rooms.
Source: Texas Produce Association > Product Availability > Potato
• Season: October - December
• Receiving and Inspecting: Choose clean, well-shaped pumpkins with no cracks in the rind. Avoid pumpkins
with soft spots or decay.
• Storing and Handling: Temperature/humidity recommendations for short-term
• storage of seven days or less: 60-65 degrees F/16-18 degrees C; 85-95% relative humidity
• Troubleshooting: Decay: Pumpkins are susceptible to chill injury and will decay if stored at low temperatures.
Often the decay will not be apparent until after pumpkins are removed from storage. To prevent chill injury,
do not store pumpkins below 50 degrees F/10 degrees C. High humidity may also promote decay. For shortterm
storage of 7 days or less, store pumpkins at 60-65 degrees F/16-18 degrees C with a humidity level of
85-95%. For longer storage, reduce humidity level to 65-70%.
• Weight loss; pulp deterioration: Storing pumpkins in an area with very low humidity may cause weight loss
or pulp deterioration. For best quality, keep humidity level at 65-70% for long-term storage and 85-95% for
short-term storage.
• Flesh softening: Pumpkins are sensitive to ethylene; exposure to the gas may cause softening of the flesh. For
best quality, keep pumpkins away from ethylene producing fruits and ripening rooms.
• Variety/Type Descriptions: Depending on variety, pumpkins range in shape and size from tiny and squat to
large and round. Weights range from less than 1 lb. to 25 lbs. each. Although most pumpkins are used for
decorative purposes, the pulp may be cooked like hard-shell squash and used for pies.
• Grades: U.S. No. 1 & U.S. No. 2 - Differences between grades are based primarily on external appearance.
Source: Texas Produce Association > Product Availability > Pumpkin
• Season: November - April
• Receiving and Inspecting: Good quality radishes should be bright in color with firm, well-formed roots and
crisp, white flesh. Attached tops should be green and fresh. Avoid radishes that appear dry, wilted, spongy,
rough-skinned, or with external damage.
• Storing and Handling: Temperature/humidity recommendations for short-term storage of seven days or less:
32-36 degrees F/0-2 degrees C; 90-98% relative humidity
• Troubleshooting: Top or root growth; softening: Storing radishes at high temperatures may promote top or
root growth and softening. For best quality, store radishes at 32-36 degrees F/0-2 degrees C with a humidity
level of 90-98%.
• Pithy or spongy texture: This is an indication of age. Always inspect radishes carefully upon arrival to ensure
good quality product. Do not hold radishes for long periods of time.
• Yellowing tops: Exposure to ethylene may promote yellowing of green tops. To prevent yellowing, keep
bunched radishes away from ethylene-producing fruits and ripening rooms.
• Variety/Type Descriptions: Red Globe - November - April - Most predominant type sold commercially.
Round shape, bright red color with crisp white flesh.
• Black - December - March- These radishes resemble turnips in shape and texture of flesh. The flavor is
pungent, slightly turnip like. Black skin covers crisp white flesh. Also called winter radish.
• Daikon - December - April - See individual commodity.
• White - Round shape, white color with crisp white flesh.
• Grades: U.S. No. 1 & U.S. Commercial
Source: Texas Produce Association > Product Availability > Radish
• Radishes are often the first vegetable harvested from a spring garden. They are a cool-season crop and do not
do well in the hot summer months. Radishes are grown for the root, which usually is eaten raw, alone, or in
salads. The leaves can also be eaten, especially when they are young and tender. Radishes are colorful and
good for you. For this vegetable, a row 10 feet long is adequate for a family of four.
• Radishes can grow in partial shade, require very little room, and mature quickly. They are well suited to small
gardens, flower beds, and containers.
• To prepare the soil, remove rocks, trash, and large sticks from the planting area. Small pieces of plant
material such as grass and leaves can be mixed into the soil to make it richer.
• Radishes can be of the red or the white variety. Some recommended red varieties are Cherry Belle, Crunchy
Red, Fuego, Early Scarlet Globe, Red Baron, and Red Devil. Two recommended white varieties are Icicle and
Round White.
• Because radishes mature so quickly, diseases usually are not a problem. Check the plants daily and treat them
with an approved fungicide if diseases appear.
Source: Aggie Horticulture >Vegetable Resources > Easy Gardening Guides > Radish
• Rosemary is relatively easy to grow, making it a good choice for any home herb garden. Its pungent flavor
and pinelike scent make rosemary a popular ingredient in foods. The upright varieties are best for both fresh
and dried use.
• Rosemary can be grown as an annual (completes its life cycle in 1 year) or a perennial (completes its life cycle
in 3 or more years). In herb gardens, it is often planted along with thyme, oregano, sage, and lavender. When
planting, choose a variety that is suitable to the climate, soil, and desired use.
• Varieties: Arp, Blue Boy, Creeping, Dancing Waters, Golden Rain, Pine Scented, Pink, Spice Islands, Upright,
• Rosemary can be grown in pots or in an herb garden (Fig. 1). Most varieties grow best in well-drained,
loamy, slightly acidic soil. The preferred soil pH is between 6.0 and 7.0.
• Rosemary seldom needs fertilizer. But if growth is slow or the plant appears stunted or pale yellow, apply
fertilizer once in early spring before new growth appears.
• Like most herbs, rosemary is fairly drought resistant and, if healthy enough, can tolerate a light freeze. It
is most successful when grown from cuttings or transplants. Although seed is readily available and usually
inexpensive, its germination rate is usually only about 15 percent.
• Too much water can cause root rot. Sometimes it can be difficult to deter- mine when a rosemary plant needs
water because its needles do not wilt as broad leaves do.
• Rosemary is fairly resistant to pests. If spider mites, mealy bugs, or scales do ap- pear, any organic or
inorganic insecticide may be used.
• Rosemary plants can be harvested several times in a season, but they should be allowed to replace their
growth between harvests. Some varieties are valued for their small flowers, which are harvested for use in
• The clippings can be used fresh or dried for later use. Fresh cuttings will retain their best flavor for 2 to 7 days
in the refrigerator. To store rosemary for longer periods, hang it in bundles to dry.
Source: Aggie Horticulture >Vegetable Resources > Easy Gardening Guides > Rosemary
• Greens (spinach among others) include all leafy green vegetables. They are often called potherbs and are
grown mostly for their tender leaves.
• Green vegetables include spinach, New Zealand spinach, Swiss chard, dandelion, and kale.
• Most greens are cool-season crops and must be grown in the early spring or fall in Texas.
• Some greens, especially kale, will withstand temperatures below freezing and can be grown all winter in
many areas.
• Greens grow best in a well-drained soil with lots of organic matter. They prefer full sunlight but will tolerate
partial shade.
• Spinach has a deep taproot so the soil must be worked at least 8 to 10 inches deep. Dig the soil in the early
spring when it is dry enough not to stick to garden tools. Break up large clods and remove trash and weeds.
Work the soil into planting beds about 4 inches high. This is especially important in heavy soils.
• Add compost or other organic matter before digging the soil.
• Varieties: Bloomsdale, Melody, Space & Tyee
• Spinach often shows some disease damage on the leaves in cool, damp weather. Do not plant spinach in the
same place in your garden more than once every 2 or 3 years.
• Spinach and other greens contain lots of Vitamin A and minerals when cooked properly.
Source: Aggie Horticulture >Vegetable Resources > Easy Gardening Guides > Spinach
• Season: October - March
• Receiving and Inspecting: Good quality spinach should have clean, fresh, and fairly crisp leaves with good
green coloring. Avoid wilted spinach or spinach with long stems.
• Storing and Handling: Temperature/humidity recommendations for short-term
• storage of seven days or less: 32-36 degrees F/0-2 degrees C; 90-98% relative humidity
• Troubleshooting Rapid deterioration: Spinach is very perishable and will quickly deteriorate if exposed to
high temperatures. For best quality, store at 32-36 degrees F/0-2 degrees C.
• Wilting: Spinach may begin to wilt if stored in an area with low humidity. For best quality, keep spinach cold
and maintain a humidity level of 90-98% during storage.
• Yellowing: Exposure to ethylene may accelerate loss of green color of spinach leaves. To prevent yellowing,
keep spinach away from ethylene producing fruits and ripening rooms.
• Variety/Type Descriptions: Savoy (Curly Leaf) - Preferred type for fresh applications. Characterized by dark
green, crinkled leaves. Flat Leaf - Dark green, slightly crinkled leaves. Used primarily for processing.
• Grades: Spinach leaves: U.S. Extra No. 1, U.S. No. 1, U.S. Commercial; Bunches Spinach: U.S. No. 1, U.S. No.
• NOTE: Differences between grades are based primarily on external appearance.
• Storing Tips: Store fresh spinach away from ethylene producing fruits and ripening rooms.
Source: Texas Produce Association > Product Availability > Spinach
• Season: September - December
• Receiving and Inspecting: Look for squash that is heavy for its size, has a hard rind, and intact skin with no
bruises, cuts, or dents. (Spaghetti squash rind is semi-hard.) All rind colors should have a dull appearance
and be consistent with the specific squash type. Avoid winter squash that is light in weight or has a shiny,
tender rind.
• Storing and Handling: Temperature/humidity recommendations for short-term storage of seven days or less:
60-65 degrees F/16-18 degrees C; 85-95% relative humidity
• Variety/Type Descriptions: Winter squash types are generally larger than summer types. They have hard,
inedible rinds. The flesh only is edible and must be cooked. Major types include:
• Acorn - Acorn-shaped with deep furrows. Green to yellow-gold hard rind, and yellow flesh with slightly
sweet flavor and somewhat dry consistency.
• Butternut - Large squash with an elongated, bell shape. Hard, tan-colored rind and yellow-orange flesh.
• Hubbard - Large round squash with tapered ends. Hard rind color may vary from orange to golden to
green to blue gray.
• Spaghetti - Large, oblong-shaped squash with yellow, semi-hard rind. Stringy yellow flesh separates into
spaghetti-like strands after it is cooked.
• Turban - Vivid orange rind striped with cream, green, or white, and a turban shape distinguish these
squashes. Turban squashes are 2-15" in diameter; rind is bumpy, flavor bland. Often used for decoration
or soup tureen.
• Common Packaging: 35- to 50-lb. bushel containers, cartons, and crates 20-lb. and 25-lb. bulk boxes
• Grades: U.S. No. 1 & U.S. No. 2
• Differences between grades are based primarily on external appearance.
Source: Texas Produce Association > Product Availability > Squash (winter)
• Season: May - July
• Equivalents: 5 medium Pixie mandarins = approximately 2 cups or 16 oz.
• Receiving and Inspecting: Look for fruit with peel color and texture that is characteristic of the particular
variety. A good quality mandarin should also be heavy for its size. Avoid fruit with soft spots, water-soaked
spots, or mold.
• Storing and Handling: Temperature/humidity recommendations for short-term
• storage of seven days or less: 45-50 degrees F/7-10 degrees C 85-95% relative humidity; Pixie mandarin: 45-
48 degrees F/7-8 degrees C
• Handling Tips: handle fruit with care to prevent bruising. Do not drop containers on floor or dump fruit.
• Troubleshooting: Soft, spongy texture; increased decay: These are indications of chill injury and old fruit. To
prevent chill injury, do not store fruit below 38 degrees F/3 degrees C.
• Decay; loss of flavor: This is an indication of age. For best quality, inspect fruit carefully upon arrival; do not
hold for extended periods of time.
• Bruising: Tangerines are susceptible to bruising if handled roughly. To prevent bruising, keep handling to a
minimum; do not drop containers on floor or dump fruit.
• Deterioration of flesh: Deterioration may occur if fruit is stored at high temperature. For best quality, store at
45-50 degrees F/7-10 degrees C.
• Accelerated deterioration of peel; increased incidence of decay: These are indications of damage caused by
exposure to ethylene. For best quality, keep fruit away from ethylene producing fruits and ripening rooms.
• Grades: Fancy & Choice; Differences between grades are based primarily on external appearance.
Source: Texas Produce Association > Product Availability >Tangerine
• The tomatillo or husk tomato looks much like a tomato.
• The fruit is generally green but can be orange, yellow, red, or even purple. It is enclosed in a papery wrapping
called a calyx. The condition of the calyx is commonly used as an indicator of freshness in fresh markets.
• Tomatillos are not grown extensively in Texas. Seed companies carry a wide selection of varieties, including
'Cape Gooseberry', 'Golden Nugget', 'Mayan Husk Tomato', 'Mexican Husk', and 'Rendidora', which is an
improved cultivar.
• Tomatillos prefer well-drained, sandy loam soils with a pH between 5.5 and 7.3.
• They do not do well in wet conditions.
• The plants begin bearing fruit 65 to 85 days after seeding or transplanting and continue for 1 to 2 months or
until the first frost.
• After the 2-week drying period, the cartons can be stacked and stored at 55 to 60°F and 85 to 90 percent
humidity for up to 3 weeks.
• Tomatillos are used primarily for fresh consumption. They are often used in soups and sauces, most notably
in green sauces for Mexican and Guatemalan dishes. Some tomatillos are preserved as jam or canned whole
for later use (Fig. 2).
Source: Aggie Horticulture >Vegetable Resources > Easy Gardening Guides > Tomatillos
• Season: Year Round
• Receiving and Inspecting: Good quality tomatillos should be firm and dry with clean, close-fitting husks.
• Avoid soft tomatillos or those that exhibit black discoloration or mold.
• Storing and Handling: Temperature/humidity recommendations for short-term
• storage of seven days or less: 45-50 degrees F/7-10 degrees C; 85-95% relative humidity
• Handling Tips: Handle tomatillos with care to minimize bruising.
• Troubleshooting: Pitting; discoloration; increased decay:
• These are all indications of chill injury. To prevent chill injury, do not store tomatillos below 45 degrees F/7
degrees C.
• Variety/Type Descriptions: Small round fruit covered with a parchment-like green husk. Fruit resembles a
green Cherry tomato. Green flesh contains tiny seeds; solid texture. Tomatillo flavor is lemony and slightly
acidic. Husks must be removed before using. Tomatillos may be used cooked (stews, casseroles) or uncooked
(chopped into salads, guacamole, cold soups, and sandwiches).
• Grades: No U.S. grades given.
Source: Texas Produce Association > Product Availability >Tomatillo
• Season: Year Round
• Receiving and Inspecting: Good quality tomatoes should have bright, shiny skins (regardless of degree of
ripeness) and firm flesh. Avoid tomatoes that are soft or mushy, lacking in color, or have blemishes or growth
cracks. Inspect tomatoes immediately upon arrival to ensure that the degree of ripeness, size, and quantity is
consistent with order specifications.
• Storing and Handling: Temperature/humidity recommendations for short-term
• storage of seven days or less:
• Ripe and mature green: 60-65 degrees: F/16-18 degrees C; 85-95% relative humidity
• Handling Tips: Tomatoes are delicate and can bruise easily which may promote spoiling. Handle tomatoes
with care; do not drop containers on the floor or dump tomatoes. Store and display tomatoes stem-end up to
help preserve quality.
• Troubleshooting: Decay; softening; loss of flavor; failure of mature greens to ripen properly:
• These are indications of chill injury. To prevent chill injury, do not store tomatoes below 50 degrees F/10
degrees C. Moisture accumulation on or in containers during storage may also promote product decay. Store
containers off the floor to keep them from getting damp. Maintain moderate air circulation and inspect
tomatoes daily during storage.
• Bruising: Tomatoes bruise easily and may eventually spoil. To prevent bruising and possible spoilage, handle
tomatoes with care; do not drop shipping containers on the floor.
• Uneven color development: Exposing tomatoes to temperatures above 86 degrees F/30 degrees C for longer
than a few hours will result in uneven color development of mature green or breaker tomatoes.
Source: Texas Produce Association > Product Availability > Tomatoes
• Tomatoes are the most popular gar- den vegetable crop in Texas. They are a good source of vitamin A and
fair source of vitamin C. Fresh tomatoes are popular in salads, on sandwiches and sliced. They can be cooked
and used in many ways.
• Tomatoes grow well in most Texas areas if planted in soil that drains well. They need at least 6 hours of
sunlight each day.
• For best quality, pick tomatoes at full color. If you pick them when they are pink, let them ripen at room
temperature. They may be stored in the refrigerator after they reach full color.
• Varieties: Small fruit- Presto, Saladette, Red Cherry, Small Fry; Large fruit- Big Set, Bonus, Homestead,
Terrific, Bingo, Carnival, Spring Giant, Walter
Source: Aggie Horticulture >Vegetable Resources > Easy Gardening Guides > Tomatoes
• Season: October - April
• Receiving and Inspecting: Choose turnips that are clean, well shaped, heavy for their size, and fairly smooth.
Avoid product that shows signs of shriveling, flabbiness, or growth cracks. Bunched turnips should exhibit
fresh tops with no signs of decay, discoloration, or wilting.
• Storing and Handling: Temperature/humidity recommendations for short-term storage of seven days or less:
32-36 degrees F/0-2 degrees C; 90-98% relative humidity
• Troubleshooting: Shriveling; loss of color:
• Turnips may shrivel and lose color if stored in an area with low humidity. For best quality, maintain storage
conditions of 32-36 degrees F/0-2 degrees C and a humidity level of 90-98%.
• Decay: Turnips may show signs of decay if they are stored in a warm area. Rough handling may also bruise
the vegetable, which may promote decay. For best quality, keep product cold and handle with care. Do not
drop shipping containers on the floor.
• Water-soaked spots; light brown discoloration of flesh:
• These are signs of severe freeze damage. For best quality, do not store turnips below 30 degrees F/-1 degree C.
• Variety/Type Descriptions: Round to top-shaped root vegetable with creamy white to pinkish-red skin and
white flesh. Turnips are available as bunched, short-trimmed, or topped. Turnips may be used cooked in
stews or uncooked (sliced or cubed and added to salads).
• Grades: U.S. No. 1 & U.S. No. 2
• Storing Tips: Keep turnips away from ethylene producing fruits and ripening rooms. Maintain adequate air
circulation during storage.
Source: Texas Produce Association > Product Availability > Turnips