Category Archives: New Edition?

An update on progress toward the next edition.

When is the New Edition? A few months at most! (Last revised Dec 2018)

Thank you all for supporting my effort to rewrite my book. The latest edition of Year Round Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers for Metro-Houston is the 12th edition. It has a yellow cover. It was last revised in 2004 and is clearly in need of a major overhaul.

The next edition will be about 500 pages and only cover food crops, so it is a major overhaul. The draft title is Year-Round Organic Food Gardening for Houston and Southeast Texas. This effort has taken a lot of time and effort, not just because I continue to teach permaculture, fruits, and vegetables through Urban Harvest, but also because I am a Board Officer of OHBA http//:ohbaonline.org and the Permaculture Institute of North America http//:Pina.org

1. Since the last time the book was updated, the internet has mushroomed enormously as has people’s access to it. Gardening books these days need to not only provide a reliable guide to plants and techniques for our area, but also good and bad internet sources of information.

2. The ongoing climate chaos in our area means that increasingly we need to tell people not just what to plant and what week, but under what conditions of temperature, precipitation and wind plants will thrive or even survive. Part of the area south of both I-10 and TX 59 is now in USDA zone 10 some years and above 30 F all winter. Galveston stayed above 40F one winter and all airports are reporting record or near record annual temperatures. What was a fairly easy to predict set of temperatures is now much harder. Should you plant Russian kale or Papayas or even Pineapples?

These sets of questions are much harder to answer than you would expect. We need to know what the weather has been like lately all over Southeast TX and what temperatures each plant and seed needs to thrive/survive/avoid dying. For the most part, this information is surprisingly difficult to find for many food plants. How hot is “too hot” for oats, for example? As well, it results in a dizzying number of tables that many readers might find daunting to understand and use, so there are writing challenges too.

I have nevertheless made a lot of progress on a new edition.

* Two new fruit chapters are finished and much better than anything previous;

* The chapter on ecological pest management has been completely changed; and

• I am finished with the most difficult effort: two vegetable chapters. I have had to break with the traditional way of presenting vegetable planting schedules. Rather I am going back to relying on the temperatures different plants need to do well, giving people that information, and then a suggestive planting schedule that needs to be reconciled with temperature needs of proposed plantings, and the likely temperatures in the months ahead in different parts of Southeast TX.

This has required an enormous amount of data collecting that is both tedious and difficult to do since it doesn’t seem to be centralized anywhere. Broadly, it seems like the world’s agricultural establishment is very slow to understand the implications of climate chaos on traditionalist planting schemes. So people are wasting a lot of effort and seed.

Thanks to cooperation from Texas A&M Climatology, I have been able to create RECENT  tables of temperatures month by month for the last ten years at 28 locations spreading from Galveston Island to Crockett, and Liberty to Columbus. This has allowed the creation of vegetable planting zones based on low temperatures month by month year-round and in summer high temperatures. Roughly, monthly mean average low temperatures get lower from coast to interior by about 10 degrees and urban areas are higher than surrounding rural areas. Summer high temperatures go from 89 in Matagorda to 99 far inland. By contrast, at night in summer, coastal places are near 80˚F low temperature and the northern part of Southeast Texas is near 70˚ especially in rural areas.

The upshot of this is that my new planting schedule will specify planting dates by 7 planting zones. This will make it much easier for people in different places to plant at the correct time for their location and to adjust to the weather.  I have completed the chapter that does this and a companion chapter detailing most possible annual food plants we can grow. I have also updated almost all of the early book chapters and as of mid-December am closing in on the draft of the last substantive chapter: soils.
Once this is done, there will be editing, final work on the cover, and a preface, but publication should be sometime in the first third of 2019. 15 years is long enough! 

 CHECK THESE PAGES AGAIN MONTHLY FOR UPDATES.

Bob Randall
Dec 2018

 

 

Year Round Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers for Metro Houston’s New Edition Coming

I am beginning to work on the 13th edition of Year Round Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers for Metro Houston.  Do you have any suggestions about how to improve it?

The present edition (with the yellow cover) was written mostly in 2004-5 and many parts need updating.  In addition, the chapter on ornamentals needs major changes, so for the first time I am expecting a co-author.

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