Friday, November 20, 2009

Veggie Garden Update-November 2009

From In the Garden

Tina's Vegetable Garden Update:
It is the 20th of the month so for Skeeter and I here at "In the Garden" we'll be talking about our vegetables. The picture above was taken from my deck and shows a long view of my vegetable garden. Everything is still hanging on and still growing though you can see some changes from previous month's postings. Most notably is the fact that you can't see any vegetables growing in the garden and also the A-frames have been moved in preparation for next year's climbing vegetables. I have cleaned out my pitiful tomatoes, the gourd and pumpkin vines, the beans and all of the summer crops. In their place I have planted some cool weather crops; which we'll see below. The hay bales were purchased in readiness for when the first big hard freeze takes my angel trumpets. Once that happens I'll cut them back then put a hay bale over the root ball. So far they and the bananas (a focal point of the vegetable garden) have been hanging tough. This is most unusual for this late in the year.
The first cool season vegetable up for its moment in the glory is Swiss chard. This is something I have never grown before this year. I believe it was Frances who sent me the seeds and I started these from seeds. I am not sure why all the seeds did not grow and flourish but it is okay because this one plant is probably more than enough for our family to eat fresh. It rocks and I will grow it again next year. The cool thing about this plant (for me at least) is that it does well in this shadiest of all the vegetable beds and still it looks good. That and the fact that chard is chock full of iron and simply good for you makes it a keeper here.

This next picture shows the sunniest bed in the vegetable garden. It is on the diagonal and faces the southwest. This is the bed where I have placed all of my winter 'crops' and my coldframe. I have planted: Broccoli Raab, Chinese cabbage, radishes, turnip greens, kohlrabi, beets, mesclun, spinach, and lettuce. Some seeds have not germinated and I realize it has to do with their shelf life. The lettuce and spinach did not come up. I am guessing they need to be purchased fresh each season and do not keep well for a long period of time because this has happened to me before. Gee, I wish the stores did not sell lettuce in such large bargain packages. I hate having all those leftover lettuce seeds but I have learned my lesson. Use all the seeds each season and toss the rest if you cannot use them. I have purchased new seeds along with some onion sets I hope to get put out this week. Wish me luck this late in the season.

Here is a close up of the turnip greens. I first ate turnip greens in Germany at a friend's house. I must say I like them when cooked well and flavored (okay smothered) in bacon but the greens are also useful in salads. These greens are growing right outside of my coldframe toward the sun. I feel they will do okay without the added protection of the coldframe. Things in the coldframe are: kohlrabi, broccoli raab, and lettuce (once I plant it). I am hopeful that if I can get some lettuce growing then I can enjoy fresh salads all winter. The key will be in getting it going. The other things in the coldframe will take care of themselves over the winter but do have the added benefit of protection if need be. Only time will tell how they all do. This process of growing veggies in the winter here is a learning one for me. I've not been successful in the past because even in Tennessee, we do get a few periods of extended freezes where hardly anything grows (for me this seems to be December/January but the weathermen will tell you the coldest months in Tennessee are January and February).

Not much more going on here in the vegetable garden. The nest egg gourds are still drying and they will be a craft I'll save for later. I am busy planning exactly what I'll grow next year since I've vowed to only grow what I'll eat and enjoy. That is a tough one because I simply want to grow all veggies.

Now let's look and see what Skeeter has going on in her Georgia vegetable garden.


November has us picking the last of the Anaheim Peppers! Yes, Pepper Picking in Nov. in Georgia! That happens when you had a late start putting your veggies into the ground and a mild Fall.This Sweet Pepper is still growing and should be picked soon.I have a couple of surprises this month. First, I found a tomato plant growing in the mailbox planter we have on the street! I can only assume the dirt I added from the compost bin is the answer to this surprise. I also spotted Black-eyed Susan in this planter that I did not plant. Hum, Maybe I should just add compost dirt to planters and see what grows! The two gourd plants were growing like weeds until recently. They had grown over the fence and looked like I had planted more seeds but what you see are two very happy plants.Here are the two I call the Twins! They are a bit different at the tops but have grown side by side at the same rate.This one I named Big Daddy as it is the largest one of the bunch! It measures in at one foot tall and 22 inches around the belly! This one will make a nice birdhouse for next spring.Here is my second surprise! While collecting all the gourds and removing the dying vines, I found this Purple Cherokee Tomato hiding below the tangled mess! The Saint said it was yummy. I am glad to show you this tomato as I had 6 to show you but they were eaten by my dad before I snapped a picture of them. He really did enjoy them while visiting with us last month. I venture to say, this is the first time I have harvested a tomato in November! And here are the gourds drying on the fence. There are 12 hanging on the fence and 2 on the ground which are well on their way to the drying state. I will Scrape the Gourds as I found that much easier then scrubbing them after they dried last year.

It was another trial and error year in the Veggie Garden and we did have a bit of fun even though it started out bad as last year. We enjoyed lots of Tomatoes, Herbs, Peppers and the Gourds will make wonderful Birdhouses for my feathered friends! I guess all in all, it was fun being In The Veggie Garden...


  1. My goodness you guys !!
    I don't have room for a veggie patch but I live ? through everyone else's .. I think it is something in our nature to feel that need to grow "food" that is good for you? haha
    I am really looking forward to see what crafting you do with the gourds .. I know some go to bird houses ? but they fascinate me what ever you will turn them into so don't forget to post pictures about them ?
    Amazing veggies girls !!
    Joy : )

  2. It still sounds like you all are busy, great updates!
    Just Feburary we'll be growing sprouts again!

  3. It's great to see all these vegetables still growing in November. Skeeter, I am so jealous of that Purple Cherokee tomato--my one plant didn't survive the blight here. I'm also admiring all those gourds--next year I'm going to plant mine earlier.

    Tina, I agree on the size of the vegetable seed packets! I didn't even use one whole green bean packet, and I had such a harvest of green beans. I wonder if they'll still be good next year. Seeing your Swiss Chard reminds me that I did have some in my garden and didn't bother to check if it had survived last night's frost. I agree that even if you didn't eat it, it looks very attractive in the garden.

    My parsley is still going strong, but that's about it--looking forward to joining in again with you in the spring.

  4. Morning ladies, isn't it amazing the difference in just a zone or two?
    I had seeds leftover from the spring and they did pretty well. Maybe yours were old to start with in the spring??? I have my lettuce in window boxes on the deck (good thing or the flood waters would have taken it) and the lettuce is just about ready to start harvesting.
    I must say, everything is good with bacon........well maybe not everything, but a lot!
    Tina, enjoy your greens and will respond to your email soon.
    Skeeter, great harvest!

  5. I am envious of Skeeter's garden. To still have peppers coming would be great! Our chard isn't doing fantastic but its there but the lettuce is growing very good with no frost protection. Cilantro is growing great too!

  6. Do hot peppers keep you warm on a cold November day? :) My only veggies are mixed salad greens, who withstand frost for a while, and garlic chives up on my proch under the eaves. Yum!

  7. Good morning all!

    Skeeter, It still looks like summer in your garden! Those peppers and gourds are fabulous. And you just can't blame your dad for enjoying fresh tomatoes:)

    Joy, I am going natural with my gourds this year. Once things slow down I may be able to do some crafts-I hope. I am looking forward to Skeeter's too!

    Dawn, Spring will come so fast! I hope next year is as good as this year has been.

    Rose, Yum on the chard and parsley. You'll have tons of swallowtails on your parsley next summer. Those veggie seed packets are really big for sure. Pinetree Garden Seeds sells smaller packets and actually tells you how many seeds you get so it is a bit thriftier. I think I'll be placing my order soon:)

    Janet, You lucky lady! Lettuce already is what I wish I had. It simply does not keep in the fridge for long enough for me. Yes, a zone or two makes a big difference. Your zone is even a bit warmer than here. But that is what makes gardening fun. Just think of the Australians now starting summer. No hurry on the email. I was just talking and didn't expect a response really:) Bacon with everything-I agree.

    Dave, Lucky you too with lettuce and chard! Cilantro is something I've not had luck with. Too bad too since it such a good herb.

    Monica, I'll let Skeeter answer the hot peppers/cold day question but I'm thinking maybe?:) Yeah on the garlic chives!

  8. Tina and Skeeter,
    Great veggie update! I cannot even fathom picking a tomato in November, hey I cannot even fathom picking a tomato that beautiful ever!
    Those gourds were sure plentiful for you.
    Swiss chard is still hanging on under some sheets in my garden. That is a reliable green for me.

  9. Good Morning everyone! I will soon be off to shop a bit more for a Formal dress. I am determined to find one...

    Tina, you are so brave to attempt a Winter Garden! I know it can get freezing cold up there although, not as it did when I was a child and living there. I will be interested to see if you can get fresh salads during the winter months. Good Luck!

    Monica, the peppers do not need to keep me warm in Nov because it is not cold down here just yet! I am wearing shorts and flip flops today! Love those mild Deep South Fall temps....

  10. Rosey, That chard is wonderful isn't it? I am wondering why I've never grown it before. It must be great to be able to pick fresh greens in the snow.

  11. Beofre I even started to read your post I just had to gaze at that first picture. I loved it. It's full of chaos and mess, but it's so organic and real. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  12. Every year I mean to grow gourds and every year I forget until too late.

    I grew the Bright Lights Swiss chard this summer. It was beautiful. It's pretty tough, still hanging in there after many nights in the 20's.

  13. Wow Tina that shot of the Nanner and Angel Trumpet is just stunning at any time but for the middle of November. Wow is all I can think.

    Same thoughts on all your goddies Skeeter.

    This sure has been a great fall. I went out yesterday and took over a dozen pictures of flowers I still have blooming. I made sure the date was showing as people would think I was telling untrue stories or just plain crazy. I also planted garlic yesterday. Better late than never! Good thing it has been such a mild fall or I would not have got it planted.
    Now if I can get my 3 bags of flower bulbs in the ground I will be a happy camper. Raining today so will not be outside today.

  14. ACIL, You crack me up! My garden is indeed a bit chaotic but definitely real and a working functioning garden. I have so much and need to store it somewhere-in both the garden and house. I wouldn't even dare show the inside of my house on here. Thanks for the good laugh this morning while I am busy cleaning-the house!

    Marnie, I'll so my best to remind you on the gourds next year. They are really easy and most rewarding. Just toss out some seeds in a sunny area, make sure they get started and let them run...You have a great weekend.

    Mom, It has been wonderful this year! So glad Maine and your garden still has flowers. You simply cannot beat this for November. Do you think they'll hang around until Thanksgiving? Wouldn't it be a treat to pick some for a bouquet on the table?

  15. Enjoyed my visit - I so regret not planting any cool weather crops this year. I didn't even get seeds! Boy when I see that swiss chard, I really wish I was growing some. Skeeter, isn't it funny when you find rogue plants in the compost ? I always get tons of tomatoes. As usual I am in awe of your gourds. and that banana, too, Tina.

  16. I thought of you while I was out taking pictures today. My vegetable garden looks very sad compared to both of yours, I've pulled everything but one tomato plant that I want to save seeds from.
    Both of your gardens are looking fantastic and productive!

  17. Hi Jen, Don't worry, there is always next year (as in spring) for some Swiss chard.

    Catherine, Thanks! Your veggie garden may look sad but your plants still look most happy.

    Everyone have a great weekend. See ya Monday when we talk of the 'Devil'.

  18. Tina, you have peeked my curiosity about the Devil. Hummmm what could you be up to now? I was out blowing leaves this evening. okay I know I am still not to do such fun things but enough is enough on this recovery thing. I am healed in my opinion so to the yard I will now go. lol…

    I found that perfect dress I have been searching high and low for and am happy with it. Yippeee. Also am now the mother to a Rat Terrier named Zip-Zip for the next 11 days or so. I hope my cats don’t kill me for this one. :)

    Everyone have a wonderful weekend!

  19. Don't know what happened but my comment earlier did not post.
    Maybe it was too long.

  20. I am very impressed! Why don't I have Swiss chard? There is enough shade in my kitchen garden! You both did a great job!

  21. Hi Tina and Skeeter,
    I just got my veggie garden update posted. I read yours earlier, but need to go back to remember what I was going to comment on.

    Tina, I used to refrigerate my seeds in the winter, but never remember to anymore. I just keep them at room temperature. I have found that lettuce seeds will last a couple seasons, and sometimes 3.

    I see no chaos or mess in your garden, Tina! It looks like a nicely laid out, happy place to me. Your turnip greens are cute. I know what you mean about growing things you'll eat. I eat most veggies, but try to consider what others in my family will eat, too.

    It's cool you're still picking peppers. Do you chop and freeze some? I am looking forward to using the ones I froze.

    I had to laugh about getting surprised by what grows in the compost. I've had all kinds of things come up after spreading compost. It is fun! I have gotten a little more careful about putting some kinds of spent flowers, such as morning glories on it, though. I had morning glories coming up in my new curb bed this summer. I imagine I'll be pulling more up next spring.

    Your gourds are cool, and that tomato is pretty.

  22. Ms. Tina, I think this is the first time I've ever seen you use the term "It rocks." I might point out that if I were to use that phrase around my teens they'd say "Dad, that's so like ten years ago!"

    Skeeter: I posted a question on your gourd scraping post. I'd like to know a little more about that. And I envy your good tomato season this past year, just about all of my plants were hit with late blight.

  23. Skeeter, Yahoo on the dress! You'll have so much fun!

    Lola, Blogger must've eaten it:)

    Tatyana, Thanks and yes, go plant some Swiss Chard.

    Sue, I added in your link. Your veggie garden looks great! My garden is full to overflowing so it is actually a bit chaotic at times though I hate to admit it. I am a plant collector first and foremost and want the plants to be happy. Design comes later. It is all fun and I so love it and it is so me so that is fine. Enough sos? Yes, I think so.

    TC, I don't know what has gotten into me lately but everything rocks! The Jimster rolls his eyes at his mother and father's antics all the time. I feel ya let me tell ya! I mean it could be worse we could be saying something like "That's so rad"? Right? Isn't rocking better?:)

  24. Tina I had another yellow iris to bloom--'Billionaire'. Also I have a bud on the Royal Thunder [Purple}.
    Amazing, I found 2 baby gourds. Hopefully they will mature before the hard frost get them. If they do it will be a total of 4 this yr.

  25. Hi Tina,

    There is an award for you on my blog. I hope that you will accept it but I won't be offended if you don't. You may have already received it, but you have been so supportive and I wanted you to know that I really appreciate it.

  26. It makes me happy to hear about winter vegetable gardening efforts. I haven't tried growing any edibles yet, but I'm thinking winter vegetables may be more my speed, glad to see what you're able to do this time of year. For now, just watching and learning.

  27. TC, I answered your question on the gourd posting but will put it here as well so you dont have to go back....

    I let the gourds hang until they start getting slimy or fuzzy. I dont know a better term then slimy or fuzzy. Once they soften and look kind of moldy, I take the knife to them. I am careful not to go deep while scraping. I just scrape off the top layer. You may get a bit of mold in a few days but just wipe it off with a paper towel and keep an eye on it for future mold growth. One scraping is all I did and it worked great for me. I let them hang dry until they were light as a feather then tap the gourds against my hand once I thought they were dry. Then the seeds broke loose and that confirms they are completely dry. A time consuming craft with growing, drying then crafting but most rewarding when a bird calls them home. From seed in the ground to home for feather friends. I may try my hand at painting some like Tina has shown...

    Sue, I do chop and freeze peppers! They are great in soups and sauces during the winter months!

  28. Noelle, Thank you so much! I am honored you thought of me and the blog. I do so appreciate the awards but I don't accept them. There is a story behind it of course but I haven't posted it on here. Email me and I'll tell you my idiosyncrasy about not accepting and posting awards. However, I am honored you thought of me!

    Megan, Stick a few seeds in with the ornamentals-the lettuces would look great in your garden and you can munch while browsing with your coffee:)