It’s been a while since I gave a tour of the garden, and it thought it might be interesting to show what’s going on right now. I’ll save the cold frame beds and greenhouse for a later date, but for now I’ll start behind the greenhouse. This summer I had lemongrass and lemon verbena plants growing there, plus a few peppers and two small fruited tomatoes. Before the first freeze came I dug the lemon verbena and one of the clumps of lemongrass to put in containers and bring inside. The freeze killed the tomato plants, but amazingly the peppers and the lemongrass live on.
The lemongrass came from a handful of stalks I bought at a local market and rooted in water. They grew into large clumps that are over three feet tall, and have kept us supplied with lemongrass all summer. The peppers there include a Sweet Happy Yummy and Serrano del Sol. I grew quite a few of the Happy Yummy peppers this year, both hot and sweet. This particular plant didn’t come true to type (too small) but it was sweet and tasty, and some wound up in pepper jam. This particular one looks a bit more in size like it’s parent strain, the orange Yummy Mini Bell, though longer and more slender. I need to do an update on the Happy Yummy project too, which has been interesting to say the least! You can read about the original project with this post from 2011.
In the main garden area, which is downhill a ways from the house, I have a large planting of brassicas still going strong. Back in August I used two adjacent beds/rows to plant broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi and lots of kale. I usually plant these double wide down the length of the row anyway, so this time I wound up going four plants wide. I have cut all the main broccoli heads and all but one of the cabbages. There are a couple of Kossak kohlrabies still left, along with the kale. The bare spot in the below photo is where the cabbage and kohlrabi were pulled.
I planted 16 plants each of the Wild Garden Kale Mix and the Coalition Mix. Both of these are open-pollinated ‘gene pool’ mixes that produce a variety of types of plants. I did a Spotlight in the Wild Garden Kale Mix recently, and I plan on doing one soon for the Coalition Mix. This one has a lot of plants with large, flat leaves that resemble collard greens.
I haven’t harvested any of the lacinato kale yet. The plants are getting tall, and I need to make a cutting soon. I think it will continue to improve in flavor with more frosts and freezes though, so I’m in no hurry just yet. I love this kale in soup and it will be soup weather here soon enough.
Moving down further in the garden, I planted the garlic on the other side of the row where tomatoes were planted. I went ahead and mulched them with a little straw to try and keep the weeds down. I reused some of the straw that had been around the pepper plants. There’s no signs of the garlic coming up yet, but that is not unusual. I’ll add a bit more straw once the garlic starts emerging.
Next to the bed of garlic is where I planted turnips back in early August. It appears I did a decent job of sowing and thinning, and we have been enjoying the turnips and their greens for over a month now. I haven’t covered any of the fall plantings in the main garden, since that usually leads to an aphid outbreak. So far the plants have been mostly free of insects, other than the cabbage worm caterpillars, which seem to have been zapped by the freeze. I am thinking about covering some of the plants in the hopes of getting kale rapini next spring.
I have started cleanup on the rest of the garden. I pulled cages from around the peppers and eggplants, then pulled the plants and put them in the compost bins. I still have the tomatoes and pole beans to deal with. Since I sometimes get questions about cutting back the asparagus, I thought I would close with a photo from the asparagus patch. Most of our foliage is brown, but there are still green ferns showing which tells me the plants aren’t done for the year yet. We generally wait until February or March to cut them back, so we don’t have to brave the cold in December or January to do it. As long as we do it before the spears start poking up sometime in April it will be fine.
I hope you have enjoyed this tour of the garden here in November! Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be back soon with more happenings.
We had a pleasant surprise as I thought our garlic had all been dug up by something but when we last went to the plot I noticed it was all starting to shoot.
If we left our brassicas uncovered the wood pigeons would soon finish them off.
What a wonderful amount of space you have (which means a lot of work!). My asparagus ferns have all gone brown, so I just cut them yesterday.
Fantastic that you can grow lemongrass – nice to look at and great to use in recipes. I might have to try that some time although I suspect my winters are too cold here.
I’m looking forward to the greenhouse tour and the cold frames (another thing I’d like to try some time).
The lemongrass is easy to grow as an annual. It does like the warmth, so it might not grow as quickly in your area, but it should make a nice clump.
You still have a lot going on in the garden compared to mine. And that’s an impressive clump of lemongrass. The botanical garden here had some last year that they grew from seed. Don’t remember where they got the seed.
I grew lemongrass from seed one time, but I believe it is a different species. It also took forever to size up.
I’m not surprised that the lemongrass survived, mine will take a few nights of temps down into the high 20’s. It turns brown but comes back in the spring. Actually, my plants died this summer, I think they got to big and dense snd succumbed to some sort of rot. I’ll have to find more planting stock at the grocery store. You peppers look amazingly good for having been through a freeze. I’m at the point where I’m ready to have my pepper plants zapped. They seemed to be incredibly prolific this year or I’m just incredibly tired of dealing with them, either way I’ve had enough!
Thanks for the tour. It’s always inspiring to see what’s going on in the garden. I like the idea of rooting the lemongrass. I might have to try that.
Thanks for the tour, Dave. It’s always interesting to “have a nose around” someone else’s veg patch! I like the way you have opportunistically propagated the Lemongrass from the market to increase the worth of your purchase. Have you tried growing Ginger from a store-bought piece?
Yes, I have tried ginger. It grew lovely foliage but didn’t make a usable root. I think it needs a longer growing season than I could give it.
I’ll be trying to grow lemongrass again at some point – my last attempt wasn’t overly successful, but I think I’ve learned a lot since then. I love the tip about rooting the stalks that you get from the market – way back when, I got my plant from Ritchter’s and probably paid a hefty price.
I think I still have some green in the asparagus patch as well – I’ve been waiting for my asparagus to turn brown but most of it is a vibrant shade of yellow right now – did yours turn yellow before going brown?
Yes – it goes from green to yellow to brown. So it sounds like yours is on the way!
Lovely kale! Mine is being eaten by ‘cabbage worms’ and the leaves are full of holes. Any suggestions? I’m picking off and squishing as many as I can see.
Thanks Sarah! I spray the kale and other brassicas every couple of weeks with a mix of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) and Neem oil. Either one will take care of the cabbage worms, and are not toxic to humans.