December 2019: Starting Anew, Planning Ahead

By weekend, it will be officially winter. My garden, which has nothing much to begin with compared to the year before, is starting to settle down for a rest.

~ Autumn this year brought some wild mushrooms in the garden. ~

The begonias brightening up the entrance during summer have already melted back to the earth held by my two hot-pink hanging pots. The hydrangeas have lost their leaves, but little buds are there promising new growth next year — I need to look into how to prune them properly (meaning, I need to apply what I have learned in class about pruning). My herbs are down to four this year, only the parsleys and mint and French tarragon are present. My beautiful rosemary grown from supermarket herb cuttings two years back was blighted by some disease last summer, and all my Google research could not rescue it. I need to re-grow it — and the others — next spring. On top of “the others” list is the sweet basil, which seems to be my garden slugs’ favourite treat. The first time I grew it, I patiently pricked and potted on every healthy-looking seedling from the seeds sown, and started dreaming of garden-fresh pesto by summer. Alas! Slugs appeared from nowhere, and that was the end of the pesto dream.

~ Only the curly-leaf parsley is still a vigorous green, survived the first frost last week. ~

Last year I was not able to plant out saffron, and this year, too. I admit, it’s the lack of planning on my part, and too much procrastination. Before I know it, the heat of summer has been ushered out by the cool autumn breeze and I find the saffron still stored in the garage. In 2017 when I (first) planted it, I got about a dozen flowers. I was ecstatic: the most expensive spice in the world was just there for the picking in my garden.

The big gardening lesson for me for 2020 is to plan ahead and follow a planting schedule. I read somewhere that while there is a lull in the garden in winter, it is certainly not a time for doing nothing, for a gardener must plan for the growing season ahead.

List of herbs to plant/ re-plant:

  • Chives
  • Coriander
  • Dill
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Saffron
  • Sage
  • Spring Onions
  • Thyme

These need checking:

  • Curly-Leaf Parsley
  • Curry Plant
  • Flat-Leaf Parsley
  • French Tarragon
  • Mint

Other edibles to grow again:

  • Chilli Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes

In addition, I hope to learn how to plant and maintain a steady supply of salad greens, perhaps smaller varieties of lettuces, rocket leaves, spinach. I hope to grow as well some of the Asian leafy greens, like the ones sold in UK supermarkets under the names of pak choi, bok choy, or chye sum. And lastly, the microgreens intrigue me, but I have to read up more about them.

So, as 2019 draws to a close, I want to say: happy growing to all of us! I wish you many, many garden successes. May our harvests be bountiful.

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