Usually by December I’ve gone on a hiatus from gardening and taken up crafting and seed catalog browsing. This year, I did the crafting (and my hands are ready to take a break from tight toy crocheting) but I’ve turned my attention to succession planting. Here’s a look around our garden in zone 8b on a mild winter day:
I planted Brussel Sprouts because they can handle a bit of acidity from the pine needles AND if we do get a freeze they will endure. I’ve seen pictures of Brussel Sprouts in snow so to say they are hardy is an understatement.
My American Beauty Berry cutting is regrowing! It looked dead but there it goes! Check the link to see how I planted it from a cutting I took while on a nature walk.
I replaced my dying tomatillo plant with an Osaka Kale (isn’t it gorgeous?) and around it I planted violas which grow harmoniously with winter greens!
I have little strawberry shoots coming up in my garden bed and in an effort to annoy the ants away organically, I’ve planted green onions and green garlic. According to the book Carrots Love Tomatoes, these are harmonious companions. Every gardener needs this book; I refer to it continually throughout planting year after year.
Broccoli 🥦 is also a winter hardy vegetable. I’ve had it growing through summer and by the time the cold weather came it put out a little bit.
One Broccoli plant is flowering.
I also still have grape tomatoes 😯 they aren’t ripening as rapidly as they did through summer but Olson’s if the plants are still prolific. We’ve had frigid and warm weather the last few weeks so some plants are dying but I’ll leave this one until it turns black (which can happen any time now).
Location. Some areas of the garden have marigolds that are dying back while others are still in full bloom. My little girl and I have been harvesting loads of seeds and plan to sell some on Etsy in the new year!
Spearmint and a bit of peppermint tucked in there.
I thought my spinach was sick until I realized that I merely failed to document the fact that I planted a Speckled Butterhead Lettuce from Botanical Interests. So this is lettuce and with all the recalls now a days … yay!!!
I gave up on one chili pepper pot but these others, though they don’t look like much, have poblanos! So the task will be to watch the weather forecast for a freeze and either move these pots or harvest the peppers before the freeze.
Carrots 🥕 grow most of the year and a chill in the air can improve their flavor. We picked a few and added more carrot seeds to keep the succession going. I need to get better at that because my daughter picks them often. All of our carrots are babies 😆.
See, she can’t resist picking them!
Cilantro grows best in mildly cool weather. It bolts to seed and quits producing quickly in the heat, I don’t think it likes frost, but chili weather is perfect. I don’t have as much growing as I’d like but it is growing from seed again.
Little Hass avocado shoots-crowding them is probably the “wrong way” but I’m doing an experiment since my other trees grew lanky and could only survive in a container in an area that gets frost. So I’m hoping I’ll get a little avocado bush. I pruned them when they reached 6 inches to encourage the bushy growth.
Sage from seed. It was SLOW but at last we have sage. I don’t cook with sage but I like the plant so recipe ideas would be welcome.
Texas Tarragon is gorgeous and flavors chicken pot pie so well. This plant started to turn brown low and stay green up top. I cut it back all the way down and it’s regrown beautifully. The same happens with mints. Sometime in the new year it will put out yellow flowers.
I replanted a sweet potato shoot after harvesting them a few weeks ago. It looked great for a while. Now it looks awful but sweet potatoes are a summer plant. In this container we scattered onion and salad seeds since they do well in cool weather. I also want to deter pests that may be hanging out in the soil. Not many bugs like onions.
We have a few yellow marigolds neat our tomatoes as we were trying to deter the hornworm moths. Oddly though, it seems the spider mites have liked the yellow marigolds. Notice the speckling on the leaves? Marigolds have a strong smell and deter many bugs, but not all.
We’ve had success growing Pak Choi from a seed packet we got in Japan so we scattered them a couple places. Lastly we planted some potato shoots in a container where we pulled dying chili peppers. The containers holes were insufficient so I needed to turn the container over and fix it. Last winter I planted potatoes and in the spring they had multiplied.
In agriculture, succession planting refers to several planting methods that increase crop availability during a growing season by making efficient use of space and timing. Wikipedia
By continuing to plant and refresh our garden we can increase productivity, improve the soil, and reduce the effects of pests and deceases. That’s our goal. We have less options in the winter but there’s still something that can grow (especially in a milder climate). We certainly have more growing right now than I would’ve expected the week before Christmas!
In the new year I’m planning on blogging much more AND adding a YouTube channel! I’m busy learning and can’t wait to share it with my readers. For now, I wish you a Merry Christmas!