Vegetables and Fruit forum: ZONE 8A-9B Fall/Winter VEGGIE Gardens 2015

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Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
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Gymgirl
Dec 29, 2015 10:45 AM CST
Hi, All!

Just thought I'd make it a little easier for the veggie growers in similar growing zones to congregate and report on what's going on in their FALL/WINTER Veggie Gardens for 2015. With the wonky weather we've had so far, it's almost a bust of a winter season here in Houston, Tx. Just hasn't been consistently cold enough. But, we still have January and February (usually our coldest months) to bring those cole crops in! Hurray!

Hard to believe we'll soon be sowing seeds for the SPRING/SUMMER garden!!! Drooling

However, we still have some winter gardens that are growing strong in our Zones, so, please, post your updates, pics, and observations on varieties you grew this season.

I'll start a Spring/Summer 2016 thread when the time comes. I tip my hat to you.

Hugs, All!

Linda
Name: katie
Mulege, Mexico (Baja CAliforni (Zone 11a)
katiebear
Dec 29, 2015 3:12 PM CST
I've started picking lemon cukes. Also real lemons and grapefruit. Lots of Black cherry tomatoes but so far they are all green. kb
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Dec 29, 2015 4:37 PM CST
Katiebear,
My 1-year-old Improved Meyer Lemon tree is finally covered with tiny little fruits. I sure hope I can bring them in this year. They were covered with blooms last year, and I lost every one of them...

Any pointers sure would be appreciated. I read somewhere that citrus needs Iron. I looked for some, but didn't find any. So, I bought some fertilizer for Citrus.

How do you fertilize your lemons? I only have the one little tree. It's in a very large planter.

Thanks!
Name: Jim D
East Central Indiana (Zone 5b)
Seed Starter Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Frogs and Toads Garden Procrastinator Cottage Gardener Birds
Annuals Hummingbirder Region: Indiana Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies
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jimard8
Dec 29, 2015 5:47 PM CST
About thirty degrees these past few weeks is as cold as has been . it begins to get cold at tonight , and Coldest time as January set in ,

However a kale plant says , what is any different so far
Thumb of 2015-12-29/jimard8/94ef5d Kale


Thumb of 2015-12-29/jimard8/5b7d57
parsley

Wishing for the winter that I was as cold nature loving
A few weeks old the photo's they still look the same
In the Butterfly garden if a plant is not chewed up I feel like a failure
Name: Gina Young
White Hills, AZ (Zone 9a)
"Man does not live by bread alone..
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GinaY86441
Dec 29, 2015 6:52 PM CST
Howdy!

Here in Northern AZ, we got a freak hard freeze before Thanksgiving that devastated my garden bed that was planted mere weeks earlier. Then some warmer weather came in and I saw some advancement! Unfortunatley, we been stuck in a hard freeze now for almost a week and have yet almost another week before nights will get up above freezing again. Daytime temps are 40's. Heck, we even had a light blanket of snow. But, at 3500 ft elevation, this cold spell is longer and colder than the last few years.

Anyway, I don't anticipate much happening outside until late January - even that seems like too far off for me! Sad But, speaking of Spring plantings, I just ordered my seeds today! Hurray!

Happy New Year!
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Dec 29, 2015 11:17 PM CST
Hi, Gina!

The weather is freaky all over the country this year!

I'm trying to decide whether I'll start tomato seedlings indoors this year. Last year, by mid-January, I had 280 tomato plants growing in my house, LOL! Sad part is, I had no end users in sight, I managed to sell half of them at our local gardeners's meeting, but ended up tossing the other half.

Folks here don't get that you can actually transplant tomato seedlings the 2nd week of February, if you're willing to spend a little effort protecting them from a couple of frosty nights. Most of my varieties are long-season heirlooms that take up to 120 DTMs, so they have to be in by then, to have pollinated before our scorching Texas heat sets in. Most tomato growers here don't set out transplants until the beginning of March or April. I'm harvesting tomatoes by mid-May, and ripping ratty vines by the end of June.

Also, trying to decide which sweet bells I'll fail with this season. Still trying to crack that bell pepper mystery. I grew fantastic Chocolate Habaneros and Tabasco peppers this season! First time growing hot peppers, too! I dehydrated, crushed them, and stored them in Ball canning jars. Amazing flavor on everything. Although, before I understood about Chocolate Habs and 40k Scovills, my hands burned for 3 days after I cut one up without gloves. THANK GOD I didn't rub my eyes. I would've ended up in ER, LOL! I did cut a Tic Tac sized piece to try, and burned my mouth for the same three days. I refused to even pick them after that experience. They grew like Tribbles!! I finally broke down, and doubled up on some gloves to pick them.

Hoping to grow cukes for the first time, to make some brined pickes (also for the first time.

Hansel & Gretel eggplants are definitely on my list again, as are Okra -- any okra, LOL.

And definitely growing more green beans. Had great success with Contender and Strike varieties this season. Want to grow cowpeas, too. I think I planted my cream peas too late last season. They really need and want all our Texas heat, and, we can certainly oblige them!

Finally, I grew a bed of Vardaman Sweeties. Thought I dug 'em all out, but, there are volunteer vines growing outside under my hoops, as we speak. Right alongside of my beets!!!

Guess I don't need to buy Sweetie slips, huh, LOL!

Lemme know what you Zone 8a-9b veggie growers are planning to grow this spring/summer.

Hugs!
Name: Gina Young
White Hills, AZ (Zone 9a)
"Man does not live by bread alone..
Image
GinaY86441
Dec 30, 2015 12:03 PM CST
Good morning Linda,

My goodness, you sound like you have your hands full!!

We have some raised beds here on our property. We just raise for personal consumption and sharing with family. I still consider myself a newbie gardener, although I have learned much over the two years that I've been growing. We grow the standards found in veggie gardens: beans, peas, lettuce, spinach, carrot, beets, etc. However, I am going to try my hand at Orka this year! I'll take any tips you might have on growing them!! I'm also trying Kohlrabi this year, too.

I've tried tomatillos and various peppers (sweet and hot) in the past, but neither provided much fruit. The tomatillos were beautiful and bushy but had empty papers while the pepper plants were destroyed by the tomato worms.

I think my timing may have been a bit off, though, as I didn't get those into the ground much before May. This year, I plan on getting the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant into containers in March. If my order comes in earlier, then they'll be going in once received. I'm refuse to put them in my raised beds due to the tomato worms, so with any luck, my front porch will do the trick. It has a western exposure. I heard Epsom salt sprayed on the leaves is a trick for the tomatoes in respects to added magnesium, is this true? I also learned about removing the sucklings last year. As always, I have high hopes!

Oh, and we may get to have a very "taste" harvest of asparagus this year. We put the bed in last year with one year roots. Any chance you have a non-commercial spring fertilizer for asparagus? I believe potash is the key for them... Potash (pot ash)... Could fire pit ashes really be a good substitute??

Because of all the wild cottontail, im going to give strong conderation to trying my luck with vertical gardening at some point.

Just for fun, here's a photo from a year ago...







Thumb of 2015-12-30/GinaY86441/4375af

Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Dec 30, 2015 3:30 PM CST
Gina,
We're discussing peppers over here: The thread "Bell Peppers" in Vegetables and Fruit forum

Okra LOVES, LOVES, LOVES the heat! Really. Soon as it turns cool the plants stall. One other thing I've learned is they need substantial spacing between the plants. Anywhere from 18" minimum to an ideal of around 24"-30" between the plants. They don't need a lot of fertilizer, either. Keep 'em moderately hydrated, and let 'em go, go, go. Oh, and, you absolutely must be diligent about picking them, or they'll not give you as much yield as they could, if you did. When the fruit sits on the plant, it thinks it's done, and winds down. Keep the pods picked at either a 4"-5" length, or an every other day schedule. The plant will really crank them out, if you pick them regularly.

When's your last frost date? I set my long-season toms out by the 2nd week in February. All my raised beds are under covered hoops, and I have one in-the-garden greenhouse that I can protect with different coverings as the season(s) require.

The best way to not have horn worms, is to not let the Luna, Sphinx, and Cabbage moths lay eggs on your foliage during the fall/winter. When you see these moths flitting around your vegetation, they are scoping out plants to lay eggs on. Come springtime, all those eggs hatch into, you guessed it, horn worms, cabbage loopers and cutworms!

Also, begin a Bt spraying regimen early on, before any worms hatch (organically correct, for those who need to be...). I'm not an organic grower, but, I am mindful of protecting my veggies starting with the least harmful pesticides/insecticides I need to do the job, then, work my way upl. ast year, I only used Bt, Sluggo Plus (Spinocid) and Neem Oil in the whole garden. No bug problems, and I could still munch on my harvests as I did my daily walkabouts! I don't believe in reaching for Seven Dust right off the bat... Angry To me, that's like shooting an ant with an A-Bomb.

That's why my raised beds stay covered, practically year-round. If the moths can't get to the leaves to lay eggs, there'll be none (or very few) there to hatch.

Last spring, I counted around 10 worms in my entire garden. Of course, a couple make their way into the ends of the hoops when I go in for inspection. But, a far cry from an all out assault on unprotected veggie foliage, LOL!

I'm not up on the EP spray, and I don't do Asparagus, LOL!

Hugs! Lovey dubby
Name: Jim Goodman
Northeast Louisiana
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Jim41
Dec 30, 2015 3:42 PM CST
This has indeed been a crazy winter. We had a killing frost that was early for us. Then had warm weather nearly about ever since.

For the fall and winter, I of course had mustard. All red neck gardeners have to plant them. I have a lot of cabbage, a lot of broccoli and Kolrabi. I thought I was setting out kale and it turned out to be the kolrabi. About the most worthless thing I've ever grown. The tender leaves are good but virtually no taste to the globe. I'll say this for them, the globes got up to volleyball size before I pulled them up and threw them away. The broccoli has really made good. The only problem is that they need more cold weather. With this warm weather we've had, I've had to cut the sattilite heads at a smaller size than usual, to keep them from flowering. The cabbage have really done well. I had 20 of the hybrid plants and they made 6 and 7 pound heads. I tried some seed this year of a cabbage that only get to about 2 pounds. I'll probably go with them from now on. The make the best cole slaw that I've ever eaten and are good cooked other ways. Just a little milder tasting than the other cabbage I've raised.

Just noticed that I was writing a book. Happy New Gardening Year to all.
Jim41
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Dec 30, 2015 3:54 PM CST
Bro. Jim,
If your's is a book, then, mine must be "War and Peace!" LOLOL! Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing

Gina,
What Bro. Jim said about Kohlrabi. I concur. Total waste of space and fertilizer, LOL! Not a bad veggie, just not worth all the hype, IMHO. I tip my hat to you.
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Jan 2, 2016 11:22 AM CST
Last Monday, I prepped a raised bed with leaf compost and fertilizer, then transplanted some broccoli plants that had been in a seed tray for the last 3 months. Yes, I know it's total abuse, but, in my experience, broccoli can take a licking, and keep on ticking. At least I'm hoping so.

So nine overgrown broccoli seedlings are in the raised bed, and the rest are waiting for transplanting.

Today, all of the first 9 Acadia Brocc transplants
are still alive, and they look like they're settling in nicely, especially since the temps have dropped to their comfort zone.

Hoping to get the others in later, and drop a few tomato and pepper seeds, too.
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Jan 2, 2016 8:53 PM CST
Got the first 9 broccs fed and watered since they're under the hoop. They look GOOD! Forgot to snap a pic. Was trying to beat the rain.

Cut down all the tomato vines and took down the lines, prepped two more beds, and set 15 more broccs. Watered everything in, since the rain never came.

Put hoops over all the beds. Squirrels...

Tired...I mixed 3 wheel barrows of amendments (garden soil & leaf mold compost) to top off all the planting areas...lots of shoveling... Smiling

Name: Gina Young
White Hills, AZ (Zone 9a)
"Man does not live by bread alone..
Image
GinaY86441
Jan 2, 2016 9:52 PM CST
Good job today, Linda! Hurray!

I got out today for a few hours as well. I trimmed back the asparagus ferns, trimmed back my Russian sage bushes, cleared out the creosote deadwood, and cleaned up some pines. I also cleaned up the rabbit manure and provided my goji berry bush with better wire reinforcements from the ground squirrels... I'm hoping to see a comeback from it this spring.

That'll be it between now and February when we should be welcoming the beginnings of early spring. Until then, it'll be interior organization.



Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Jan 5, 2016 11:05 AM CST
I RECLAIMED my yard & patio!!!

Mulch mowed, raked up ALL the leaves, mulched ‘em up again with the blower/vac/mulcher, then put ‘em into every available composter to break down into leaf mould for the spring garden.

Transplanted the rest of the broccoli and put up all the hoops.

Mixing amendments into the remaining garden blend (from the springtime) and topping off all the raised beds before transplanting was the hardest and most strenuous task (aside from raking all those leaves!!!). But, I count it as exercise, so I powered through.

Then, I blew off the patio, stood back. I was BEAT, but, it sure looks good, LOL!
Still need to install a hoop over a new area I planted with broccoli (there’s broccoli everywhere, LOL!). Squirrels… Hurray! Hurray!
Name: katie
Mulege, Mexico (Baja CAliforni (Zone 11a)
katiebear
Jan 6, 2016 8:37 AM CST
Sorry to be MIA. I had a health scare. I'm OK xcept for a lingering stitch in my right side. Gradually getting better.

My lemon tree lost it's ID. I can only think it's in the right spot as It's doing the best of all my citrus. I haven't fertilized it except for occasional contributions from the dogs and It grows and produces abundantly every year.

It's chillly here now. The okra has slowed down. Lots of cilantro which is nice as it doesn't last when I buy it at the store. Cherry tomatoes coming. I have to beat the birds to them as they ripen. A hybiscus of thte kind used for teas has appeared as a volunteer and it's beautiful - burgandy red.

My surprise success this year has been gac plants. I had a failure with them several years ago; tried seeds from and eBay seller this year and have about two dozen plants growing like crazy. I've never had the fruit but it's supposed to be very healthy. Maybe next year.

Sorry I can't be helpful on the lemon. My secret is luck!!

katie
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Jan 6, 2016 1:36 PM CST
I'm glad it wasn't serious ... hope it isn't cystitis.

katiebear said: ...
My surprise success this year has been gac plants. I had a failure with them several years ago; tried seeds from and eBay seller this year and have about two dozen plants growing like crazy. I've never had the fruit but it's supposed to be very healthy. Maybe next year.
...


Gac plants? What are those?

Confused

Name: katie
Mulege, Mexico (Baja CAliforni (Zone 11a)
katiebear
Jan 6, 2016 2:10 PM CST
It's a plant from Southeast Asia. High in beta-carotene. I am trying to increase the number of food plants that are grown in this area and gac is one that I came across and thought would be worth trying. It has a short production season and doesn't travel well. Lots of information if you Google it. I've never had it but that's true of a lot of the things I'm growing. kb
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Jan 6, 2016 4:36 PM CST
At first all I could find was "Global Agenda Council", but Googling "gac south-east Asia" got me the Wikipedia article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gac
Momordica cochinchinensis

I hope you get some mature fruit and save seeds! It sounds like a lot of organizations want to expand gacfruit production so extracts can be made and sold from the fruit.

I added some synonyms to the ATP Plant Database:
Gac
Red Melon
spiny bitter gourd
cochinchin gourd
baby jackfruit
gacfruit

It sounds like it can also be propagated from cuttings and "root tubers". Someone wrote that cuttings can be rooted more reliably than seeds can be germinated.
Name: katie
Mulege, Mexico (Baja CAliforni (Zone 11a)
katiebear
Jan 6, 2016 4:57 PM CST
My first attempt with seeds I failed but when I ordered 20 or so from an eBy seller named Uncle Chan they were almost all already sprouting when they arrived and I have lots of plants and have given a bunch away. I am hopeful that we will get lots of fruit. I would be great to find a market for them if they do well. This is a poor town. katie
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Jan 6, 2016 5:19 PM CST
I read that someone makes "health food capsules" from the fruit. I don't know how they get their raw material for making them - good luck!

Or maybe a local Asian market or restaurant would buy fresh fruit once each year, if you have Asian markets locally or within easy shipping distance. Aren't there traditional Vietnamese New Year's dishes with Gac?

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