Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Early winter in my Southern garden

With all the summer crops gone and the fall crops just scattered here and there, things are looking pretty bare in the garden, but there are a few spots of color. The tall chrysanthemums, that have flopped over onto the sage and oregano, are still in bloom. It will take temperatures lower than 29 F to stop those flowers!

The broccoli is doing what it's supposed to: keeping on making little side shoots after the main head of florets has been harvested.

The garlic has settled in nicely, sending up the shoots that will remain all winter, continuing to grow on days when the weather warms. Way in the background of the photo is the first patch of onions, planted from little dry bulbs. In another part of the garden I planted some slender green "sets" that a friend gave me. He had ordered 2,000 from a place in south Georgia, and we had a few left over after planting two big beds out at his place.

We've been using the cilantro on "taco night," so there isn't as much here as if I had just left it alone, but we grow it to use it. If last year's success repeats, by spring this patch will be amazingly tall and lush.

The Camellia japonica has been in bloom since about Thanksgiving. When the temperatures drop to more wintry levels, the flowers will turn all brown and mushy, but here in the early winter, we get to enjoy the pink. I have one of these flowers in a little vase in the kitchen window, to enjoy while I work. I like this plant even though it isn't edible. (If I grew the tea Camellia, I could use the leaves in the kitchen, but my Camellia japonica came with the house. It's more than 25 years old.)

Things have slowed way down in the garden, but there is still plenty going on. We've been eating the winter radishes, using the lettuces and spinach for salads, stir-frying the bok choy, adding the collards and kale to soups and watching the chicory as it begins to form heads. A gardener's life is never dull, and when all goes as planned, there are healthful veggies to add to meals every day. As the name of a particular seasonal movie proclaims - It's a wonderful life!


  1. I've been amazed this year. I had lettuce come up from seed that came from a plant that bolted!

  2. Phyllis, The freakishly warm weather is about to end, and it will be interesting to find out how hardy your lettuce babies are. I usually get lettuce-babies in the spring - from the Slo Bolt lettuce that I leave to go to seed. Not sure how they'd fare in temps down into the teens! Let me know how yours work out?


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