Project Green Thumbs Winter Edition: Baby, it’s cold outside

Confession: I find these nasturtiums just charming and they haven’t even
bloomed yet! Bonus, they’re good for bug control in the spring.

This weekend I got my very first winter garden in the ground. With three seasons of summer gardening under my belt, I’d like to say that my foray into winter wonderland planting was a natural evolution. But really, it probably has more to do with my wonderful mother-in-law, M-5, and her greenhouse. Pre-started sprouts and a partner in crime to commiserate with… What’s not to love? Well, coldness for one thing. And the selection of available plants for another. And mud. And oak leaves. And wind. And slugs. And frost. And, and, and. A fair weather tomato gardener am I apparently!

I mention these “ands” not merely to complain but to outline the factors that are stacked up against my little garden’s success this frigid season. The cold and mud make it easier to forget that I have little sproutlings out back, and although I do find the baby plants cute, few of them do I actually want to eat. It’s true, most of those wonderfully healthy winter veggies–kale, spinach, lettuce, squash–are lost on me. But maybe like beets, if I grow them myself, they will grow on me? We shall see. I’m still hopeful that the garden will thrive somewhat, but it may have more to do with chance than my expertise.

In the mean time, I’m cheering on my little garden-that-could and taking lots of snaps per usual.

Any “hot” tips for winter gardening success??


First round of sprouts, planted a few weeks ago.


I was slow to pull out the summer stores, as you might recall from reading No Tomato Left Behind


Tomatoes and peppers and dead stalks out, nasturtiums, turnips, kale, arugula, snow peas and sweet peas in!


Of course the day after I planted a big wind storm kicked up. Thankfully the damage was minimal.


Kale for Mr. T. (Okay, I promise to at least try it.)


In the spring I want to transplant some of these into baskets… Like the hanging baskets of my dreams from New Orleans!


Girlie girl gardening tip: Wear latex gloves under garden gloves to avoid getting dirty under your nails.


I’m voting nasturtiums most likely to get a singing role in an animated film. They look so damn happy, don’t they?


Still have never tried turnips despite having had one in the fridge for the last month.


Super excited about the snow peas!


Bonus picture that has nothing to do with my garden… this lovely tree was fairly well glowing in my mom’s neighborhood last week.


Grow, grow, grow!


While I went to New Orleans, a big storm came through. No damage, just a lot of leaves for me to sweep away.


Lavender perked up with the big rain.


Sacramento slugs have been out in full effect. The only bonus of frosty temps is that the slimy creatures go dormant for awhile.


I’m quite excited about arugula actually. It’s a spicy lettuce that goes well in salad and on sandwiches.


Turnips seem happy.


I got a second round of sprouts after Thanksgiving. Check out that beautiful bok choy!


Beets, cabbage, miner’s lettuce, loverage, poppies, broccoli…


But first, some box clean-up.


New twine makes the box orderly and the planting much easier.


I’m not holding out hope of this broccoli making it. 🙁


I’m praying that this broccoli perks up.


Transplanting is tricky business.


So far the sweet peas, snow peas, bok choy and cabbage seem the happiest.


I shouldn’t really be complaining about the weather yet. It’s been fairly sunny and in the 40s-50s. People with actual winter get mad when I whine about it being “cold” in Sacramento.


A fellow at Home Depot recommended covering the box in clear plastic to protect it from wind/frost. Thoughts?


Bok choy goes great in pho… any other ideas for it?


Snow peas to the sky! (Okay, to the top of the trellis…)



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