The drought brought an end to many Houston gardeners, but with freezing and near freezing temperatures arriving, what little gardening activity we had seems to have come to a stop.
Each morning I pass my antique roses on the way to the car. Katya wants some cut flowers to give to her teachers. Sakura wants to stop to enjoy the fragrance. I am reminded that there are many plants which give us a bounty of colors in late fall through winter. I planted geraniums yesterday. Violets were planted the day before yesterday. A few chrysanthemums still are putting on their show. I have bought pansies as well. I have been sitting in the garden, watching the children play. However, I noticed tat a few neighbors who began to improve their gardens with the cooler weather have now stopped, due to the freezes. This is a great time to garden in Houston, and we have a chance for winter vegetables.
My eggplants have been abundant. This vegetable is not a winter vegetable, but this does produces well in our fall. Pepper plants have been producing as well. I have a few pepper platens in a large cold frame to see how they will do. The eggplants are not so protected, and I have found them surviving. They do need to be in the right spot. The plants which went into the ground in fall where the winter squash, and these have begun to produce. I have not previously grown them, so I am wondering how they will fare in January. All in all, this has been a good season, but I am looking forward to more traditional winter vegetables.
The chard, kale, and collards have improved flavor this time of year. A few collard and chard plants came under attack from snails, so I went hunting early in the morning with a flashlight. I am starting to make roulades with the collard greens. The most fascinating news for me has to do with my experiment with leaving certain vegetables in the ground from last year. A few gardening friends remove these plant, and either buy or grow new plants from seed. I had cut off the kohlrabi last year at its base when harvesting. I am now about to harvest my first crop of kohlrabi, which is much sooner than I have in past years. I did the same with cabbage plants. The cabbages are growing; I did pull off the side shoots from these plants to allow one main head grow. I pulled side shoots from the kohlrabi, and I managed to have these root well. I expect to have a second crop of kohlrabi sooner than last year. I left the broccoli in the ground from last year. These plants looked nice during the year, and I have harvested some broccoli. My daughters were happy, since this is their favorite vegetable. I noticed that my asparagus seems to be filling out. Life is good.
This technique of saving the vegetables from last year has been a success for me. I did not see many of these vegetables in many stores as plants, so I am glad that I will have a good crop. My beet plants are coming along, and I want to have them in the ground soon. If you want to garden in Houston, this may be a good time of year to start.