Winter Veggie Garden Update

There are more veggies scattered throughout the backyard!

I had to find a home for the leftover brussel sprouts and broccoli starts that I purchased from Burpee in October. The cinderblock planters and grow bag where we relocated the lorapetalum seemed ideal.

It’s been nearly a month since these veggies were planted, and they appear to be faring well in their new homes. Although the broccoli and brussel starts nearest the fence line appear to need more sun.

I also random-sowed some fenugreek seed in a pocket next to the unfinished water feature. This spot gets full sun throughout the day. The fenugreek seedlings seem to handle the cold winter nights pretty well.

I still plan to perform much-needed maintenance on the foundation garden beds, but I’ve tasked DH with repairing the border stones before I can resume work on them. I have a pile of compost that needs to be laid, and weeding needs to be performed on the shade bed.

Windowsill Planter Boxes

My man was in a workshop fury since the weather got cold. He’s been cleaning and organizing the garage workshop while at the same time making a mess building DIY projects.

So I put him to work to upgrade my windowsill planter boxes. I have so many herbs and starter plants to bring indoors…it was about time to take advantage of that south-facing window.

The final product populated with all types of herbs, including cat grass for the kitties to graze on.

With so many herbs and starters in the windowsill planter, it’s a lot of work to keep things watered and maintained. Either we start using more of these herbs or I’m going to have to start tossing some of these in the mulch bag.

Golden Delicious Pineapple Sage blooming in the windowsill planter

Afflicted Lavender

I fear I’ve lost my best, most floriferous lavender this year. Despite that I’ve potted up all of my specimens, my fernleaf lavender which I started from a 4″ starter plant thrived in potted conditions and more than quadrupled in size.

Unfortunately, I’ve been rotating the lavenders in and out of the house as temperatures permit. But lately, they’ve been residing in low light conditions in my kitchen.

I didn’t keep a close eye on the fernleaf lavender. I soon discovered that it was swathed in cobwebs, and the tips began to show browning/greying. After some research, I determined that the plant was likely infested with spider mites. While it was suggested to spray the plant off, the cold temperatures turned me off  the idea.

I took the drastic step of hard pruning the plant down to the surface, then placed it–along with the rest of the potted lavenders–in the garage under grow lights.

Off with your head!

I watered the plant with a light nitrogen solution (i.e. Clonex) and am crossing my fingers that the lavender will spring back from this shock.

Growing Fenugreek

Fenugreek is an annual herb used for its seeds and leaves in Indian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. I came across this herb in my attempts to perfect a butter chicken recipe. Its seeds are a base spice in garam masala, a complex spice blend used in curries and marinades.

Fenugreek has been used throughout antiquity as a spice and in medicine. It is so ubiquitous in Middle Eastern and Indian cooking, that the only thing I haven’t seen it used in is dessert.

In my kitchen I tend to add the dried leaves and toasted ground seeds to rubs and curries. However most kitchens will have difficulty accessing this spice unless they have a local Asian market that sells it. It’s not something you find readily at your local grocery store.

I learned of an easy way to produce my own fenugreek. Turns out fenugreek can be easily sprouted from fresh seeds sold in the spice trade.

I picked up a packet of seeds from Amazon in 2016, broadcasted the seeds in a pot, watered, and waited for the sprouts. The seeds remain viable for a long time as long they are stored in optimal condition.

I plan on using the sprouts as a garnish in salads. As soon as weather turns warmer, I may try to grow it in the garden and see how well it does in Texas summers. Hopefully I’ll be able to produce my own seeds to fill up my spice rack.

More Seeds Please!

I made a few more seed purchases from Baker Creek and Amazon! I can’t wait to get these started. Watercress, baby bok choy, Chinese broccoli are Asian greens that I’ve been wanting to try my hand at. Hopefully, these will do well in my stock tank garden.

On a separate note, I do need to replenish my supply of basil seeds, because it seems my current inventory isn’t passing the towel germination test. Alas, I already retried starting them in another batch of soil blocks but it looks like I’ve struck out.

Wishlist: Pesto Perpetuo and African blue basil, both of which are vegetatively propagated. Unfortunately, I had a Pesto Perpetuo that I acquired this year but neglected to take care of. I will have to wait again next year to get a new starter plant.