Friday, November 8, 2013

The Veggie Patch

The weather buzz today is about an arctic cold front that is coming next week, so it's time for me to start thinking about the final pepper harvest. The last pepper harvest of the season usually occurs sometime in November, so we're right on schedule.  

In the spring I planted a large bell called big Bertha, a yellow pepper called gypsy, a sweet red pepper, a jalapeno, and a black pepper. These plants have produced a steady supply of peppers, but the fall harvest is by far the best.  

Big Bertha produces beautiful, large bell peppers.  The cooler nights of the fall yield thick walled peppers which are far tastier than the peppers harvested in June and July.

This year's performance award goes to gypsy.  She is quite the overachiever.

For me nothing beats the flavor of the sweet red pepper.  Big Bertha's peppers will turn red if allowed to ripen on the plant, and they are fabulous.

No, this isn't an eggplant, it's a black pepper given to me by a fellow gardener.  It's fun to try new varieties and share with your friends. Thanks Teresa.

Jalapenos are a summer garden staple that will keep producing until the first frost. Jalapenos and other peppers can be chopped and frozen for use in recipes all winter long.

With pepper season coming to an end, the real focus of the vegetable garden is the winter produce.

This pretty patch of carrots promises some tasty eats.  Just don't tell the bunnies.  Knock on wood.

The news of my fabulous veggie garden has spread far and wide to worms of all kinds.  This dinosaur kale will bounce back in no time and the chickens don't complain when the produce isn't perfect.

Here's a heart warming sight. The black, desiccated thing hanging from the leaf below is a dead cabbage looper. The organic worm treatment I used did the trick and this worm isn't going to be bothering these Brussels sprouts anymore.

Successes and failures are part of gardening, but if you want to be successful most of the time, grow radishes.  This vegetable is among the easiest and fastest producing.  You can't grow wrong.

Leafy crops like endive, lettuce, chard and kale are also fast growers that I usually have pretty good luck with.

I don't know how she'll hold up to our upcoming freezes, but this chard called Scarlet Charlotte really adds a pretty pop of color.  I think I'll provide her some frost protection just in case.  The more attractive chard seem to be less cold hardy, so better safe than sorry.

Artichokes are harvested in May here in Central Texas, so these little guys have a ways to go.  If we get any hard freezes, I will provide them with some protection.

The broccoli and cauliflower I'm growing are still a ways from producing their edible flowers, but this early Jersey cabbage is already producing a head.  Cabbage and ham soup is a favorite of mine for a cold winters day.

Do you have a favorite cold weather veggie? 


  1. I am so behind with the veggie garden, this fall.
    Your garden is very inspiring. I better get moving, if I want a winter garden.

    1. Luckily, here in Texas, it's always time to plant something.

  2. Your veggie garden looks fabulous! You've inspired me to plant more peppers next year. I planted Radishes for the first time this year. We will see how it goes, everyone tells me that they are easy to grow. Yours look pretty big. When did you plant them? I still have tomatoes growing from Spring. Hope I get a couple of maters before the cold front.

    1. I planted radishes the first part of October. I'm ready to harvest and plant the next batch. They're normally ready in about 30-45 days. When the days get shorter and the temps get colder, it tends to slow them down a bit.

  3. your garden looks beautiful. I'm going to have to try some sweet peppers next year. I've never had much luck with them, but yours looks so good, I'll try again.
    Eggplant was my over achiever this year. I'll pick the last of it Monday and try to push it on people at work.

    Cindy S.

    1. I have peppers, you have eggplant... we just need to find someone with zucchini and we can make ratatouille.

  4. It's always sad to pick what is still growing good, just because of the first frost. I've picked all my peppers today and took most down to the feed store to be given away. Your fall/winter garden is looking great. Did you plant cauliflower? It's my fav.

    1. Yes, lots of cauliflower. It's one of my favs too. This year I'm growing the standard white variety, plus purple cauliflower and romanesco cauliflower. Can't wait!

  5. we use radish in our garden and have a lot of put them on a (black) bread , some butter and a lot of salt...its amazing!
    greetings from germany
    Diana gartenzaun