Alchemy Garden Journal Entry 23: As Winter Approaches…

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We had such a warm summer last year that I didn’t expect to get so many chilly nights. I live in Zone 7b where winters are typically mild, but we do on some rare occasions experience temperatures under 30°F (0°C). It was a short fall growing season, but I really enjoyed my fall colors while they lasted.

I removed the pepperoncini and banana peppers since they stopped being productive, and I also removed the pineapple sage since―in all honesty, the thing was growing like an invasive weed and the flavor of the herb was nothing special. Other than it smelling strongly of pineapple, when I finally tried cooking with it and brewing tea with it, the flavor was so mild that I decided growing it wasn’t worth the effort. Keep in mind, I tried to cook with it and also tried it as a garnish without the application of heat. Not a very special herb and I won’t be growing it again.

My coleus plant experienced one bad night, so now it’s very dead. The celocia flowers are still brightly colored and hanging on, but I don’t expect them to survive the winter.

As for the lettuce, collards, and pak choi I planted, their growth has been very underwhelming. I barely experienced any growth with a lot of them, although I believe this is because I did not space them out correctly. Not knowing exactly what I was doing, I planted the seedlings on top of each other, and I ended up growing a bunch of straggly greens. Also, the slug invasion was REAL. They pretty much made my garden bed look like a wasteland.

Pak Choi, Mustard, and Lettuce destroyed by slugs.

I will probably pick off whatever leaves remain and turn them into a salad at some point. I did taste one, and it was absolutely delicious! If more greens tasted like that at grocery stores, I would definitely be eating a lot more!

As for what is still alive now? My wonderful herbs! While managing my fall garden, I transplanted a lot of my herbs into the garden bed in the ground. They’re starting to go dormant now, but the rosemary, sage, oregano, dill, and thyme, bay laurel, and chives are very healthy, and I’ve been able to pick them daily even now in December.

I’ve decided to ease up on my fresh herb usage now that it’s starting to get cold. The herbs are going dormant, but I still occasional pick the mint, dill, and bay laurel.

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