The Garden in November

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Houston does not have the temperature drops of other areas, so the vegetable garden continues.

Leaves are falling on a regular basis. Each day I sweep the patio and sidewalks. I do not mind, since this is a relaxing exercise in the cool breeze. I am taking the leaves for compost piles. I used to shred the leaves, but I create layered piles of compost under/behind bushes. What is different this year from previous years is that I am still expanding my network of garden beds. I usually spend my time working with existing beds and garden structures. I am still doing working on trellises and frames. I am still clearing out beds in preparation for the spring. However, I think that I would be planting even more if the vegetables were available.

    I have take a few risks with fruit and vegetable plantings in this season. I found an avocado tree for sale. I have seen these do well in Houston, but I have heard that only a few varieties really do well. One thing that I do remember is avocado trees do not like the cold. I am hoping that the roots will establish themselves before a freeze, and I will need to protect the tree from frost. With the price of avocados being what it is, and the amount of this fruit that my family craves, I wanted to take this chance. I also planted seeds for beets and radishes. Planting seeds so late may be pointless if we have an early frost. We will see. I am also trying to grow horseradish again. I love the plant, so we will see if I can get the root to start producing leaves.
    Of the winter vegetables which I had already planted, the collards have been producing the best. This plant has also been attacked by snails and the caterpillars. When I tell people that I am cooking collards for dinner, they think that my children will not be happy. I do not have problems in that regard. Stir fried or in soups, the children eat this leafy green. The next vegetable to produce well is the mustard. I love mustard greens, but the children find the taste to be overwhelming. I sprinkle the chopped leaves into my dinners like an herb. I also use the mustard leaves instead of lettuce in my sandwiches. The swiss chard is growing, but it has not really produced much. The different cabbages are slow as well. The Nappa cabbage is doing the best this year. The kale is finally coming along. Most other cruciferous vegetables are taking their time.
    The garlic is doing well. This is the time to plant these bulbs, since the garlic needs the cooler weather. All of a sudden the jalepeno plant is filled with peppers. They are not too spicy. The big treat for me has been the fava beans. Opening up the pod to pop a fresh bean into my mouth is wonderful. The dried favas are fine, but the taste of a fresh bean is so much better. I have been adding these beans into many dishes. I have included favas in soups and pasta dishes, while including them in any other vegetable dish.
    I forgot if I mentioned this in the last post, but I did spread bone an blood meal. To that I have spread a bit of compost. I used to be a fan of using fish emulsion, but I have stayed away from that fertilizer recently. The last time I used it, a health inspector came to my door stating a neighbor was complaining that a strange smell came from my yard. The official did not know who called, so we could not ask what they smelled, but the was the only smelling thing that I had done, and spraying on the fish emulsion per the directions is not even that smelly. Who knows. The health inspector left not being able to find anything. The nice thing about winter vegetables in Houston is that I have fresh vegetables to prepare in the meals.

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This site came out of my desire to write about my love of gardening, but also to connect it to my knowledge derived from home inspections. That is why I tied it to the home inspection site.If you have questions, you can email them to me (frank at For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank


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