Before we completely say goodbye to our (southern) winter, I wanted to share a few pics from this winter's garden. This has been one of the most fun gardens I've planted...because it's been so full of surprises.
At first, these surprises were disappointments. I had the biggest germination failure in my experience as a gardener this year. The few seeds that did sprout, mostly died out right away. I couldn't believe it. I lost nearly all my spinach, beets, (ALL the golden beets), lots of cabbage...the chard (which I love) sprouted nicely...only to wash away in the first good rain we'd gotten since last winter. A few intrepid kale seedlings showed their little faces. All the collards died.
The turnips were the only things that sprouted well and took off. This was Murphy helping out -- these were a new type of turnip to us (I bought the seeds off of a farmer I met at an expo last summer....) and we didn't care for them too much., Fortunately, the rabbits think they're AMAZING, so they've been a very good supplement to their feed.
As October rolled in, I figured it was my last chance to have a winter garden (something besides turnips, that is). So we went to the local big box/hardware store, and I simply bought everything they had left. This was: romaine, cabbage, bok choi, collards and kale. My original design that incorporated the varying heights of different vegetables (because, of COURSE I chose a flower bed to plant in, aside from the regular vegetable beds), so I just started planting things wherever there was a space.
October became November, which became December...and things started happening.
The bok choy never got tall. I was so looking forward to it, and I'd watch and silently cheer them on. But nothing. And then...they started getting all...curly.
I must say, the bok choy looks strikingly like savoy cabbage to me (which, happily, we love in soup).
Some of the cabbage...developed broccoli blossoms.
Some of the other cabbage headed up nicely, but others...they got all, well, leggy. At first, I thought maybe they were bolting. I mean, it's been a warm winter, and the romaine had bolted almost immediately upon getting its feet into the soil. Anyway, I was showing a neighbor the cabbage that turned out to be broccoli, and I noticed...
The "leggy" cabbage had babies!
THIS was a nice surprise -- I have never been able to grow Brussel Sprouts (on purpose). So nice to have some by surprise.
A very few stragglers have made it that I originally planted. There are two kohlrabi and one or two red beets. I'm going to let them bolt for the seed.
Most of my herbs look like death, although I expect most to come back. My parsley looks lovely still, though.
The garlic has done all right. I saved cloves from what I grew last winter (center of the bed), and it has come up very sporadically. I actually found some new sprouts this spring. The left and right beds are grown from seed I purchased from a local farmer. Seems like buying from the local guys is a good bet. I'll definitely be saving plenty of those for seed for next year.
My winter onions have done just amazingly this winter. You can see them bordering this bed. In a month or so, I plan to thin them and put some in at least one more bed. The bugs don't like them, so I'm happy to plant them near any other garden plant that does like them.
As you can see, the broccoli is blooming (this is the second set of flowers). I think broccoli in bloom is really pretty and cheerful, so I usually end up letting at least some progress, even though I've not yet attempted to collect broccoli seed.
I find that winter is always such a rewarding gardening season here in Texas. I enjoy the other seasons, but winter always brings us such reward in the garden.
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