February 20, 2011

Surviving Veggies

Although by June I'm cursing the heat in Raleigh, I do love our mild winters. So mild, in fact, that we can grow some herbs and veggies year round! Besides gardening, cooking is another one of my passions, and I love where the two intersect.

We inherited this raised bed on the side of our house from the previous owners, an elderly couple who also loved to garden. Since this is a South facing exposure, they used it to grow annuals. We found it was more useful for us as our herb and vegetable garden. 

The trellis is one of Brian's projects, originally designed for Grapes, it now is used for growing Hops. I think it is a great way to make a bare wall interesting!

Besides our veggies, we do have a few perennials in the foreground. Some gorgeous Irises that one of Brian's co-workers brought to work 3 years ago have multiplied and will burst into a deep purple bloom in May. And we have a Yarrow stuck in there somewhere, a great "biocontrol" plant which attracts beneficial insects to the garden.

There is also a patch of 'Quinault' strawberries, which I guess is a fruit not veggie, but its perennial nature makes it a great transition plant to the perennials at this end. We got these strawberry plants late last year and only got a couple berries in the fall, but I'll let you know how they do this spring, as they are supposed to be a great all-season variety.

Brussels Sprouts
Lettuce Mix
This winter we chose some basic veggies that we could start from seed: spinach, lettuce, Brussels sprouts, and cilantro. The lettuce, a Mesclun Mix, was the stand out performer, and lasted through the snow beautifully. However, as you can see, no Brussels Sprouts to harvest yet, maybe with the warmer weather they will continue to grow... I'm not holding my breath. I wish things would have turned out better with them, but we got things in the ground a little too late. That seems to be the problem with Raleigh weather, our tomatoes last until October, making us not want to till the garden until late in the season, but in doing that we miss the best window for winter plantings!

Italian Parsley
 I also have been doing a little experimenting with which herbs will survive the winter in Raleigh. I know Cilantro will tough through, and have grown in for a few years now. This year I decided to let the Parsley go and see how it would handle the cold. I was amazed at its resilience! I could cut some sprigs, which looked wilted in the cold, and as soon as I put them in water in the warm kitchen they perked right back up and were great for cooking! Chives were another experiment, although I knew they were perennial bulbs. The foliage died down in late December, but since having these warm spells has sent up luscious new growth that I should be able to harvest in a few weeks!

Viola 'Marley'

And lastly, I had to show just a little color! I figured I'd include this one in the veggie post since the flowers are edible. This 'Marley' Viola toughed it out all winter in its pot and just put out a new flush of delicate violet flowers. I normally tend to go for Pansies over the smaller Viola's for winter color, but I couldn't pass up this little gem!

1 comment:

  1. I love violas! This year will be my first serious attempt at vegetables. We will see how it goes. Yours look great.


Thanks for taking a walk in our garden.
Your comments are always appreciated.