Gardening where the sidewalk ends

More Winter Survivors May 18, 2009

I know I sound like a broken record here, but I’m continuing to be surprised by all the plants that don’t seem to have minded our recent horrid winter weather. I guess more of my garden was hardy than I’d realized – I’m not great about keeping track of zone/temperature requirements, so I was half expecting nothing to come back.

Happily, my small parking strip veggie/herb patch came through completely unscathed, and the recent spate of sunny weather (now over, alas), brought many things along from winter dormancy.

The red lettuces below overwintered and were a bit on the bitter side but not too bad. I think they are “Merlot” but could also be “Red Sails,” I forget. The green ones are an oakleaf variety I planted from starts a few weeks ago, and the leeks are starting to grow a bit too, finally.

Sunlit lettuces

I only cook with chives every now and again, since my daughter isn’t a huge fan of them in eggs or risotto as I like to use them. But she will nibble on the oniony flowers once they bloom from these cute little purple buds.

Chive flower buds

I am terrible at remembering what kind of onions I’ve planted. I mix up the scallions and other types so never know when to yank them, and then they go to flower. That’s okay, I love how fat the buds get and then this mini fireworks explosion happens.

The bulbing fennel that never bulbed last summer resprouted, and it seems like maybe it’s going to form something edible underground this time. Or am I deluding myself? I like the feathery foliage and pull a few small bits off to toss in salads sometimes. That’s bolting arugula in the background – I hope to replant another round of it this week, it’s my easiest seed crop and I love its peppery taste cooked or raw.

Bulbing fennel came back

Finally, I took this photo a few weeks ago but forgot to post it. It’s some of the Russian kale flowers before they opened, in the late afternoon sunlight. Now that the rain has returned, I hope I stored up enough sun until the next time I can get out there with my hands in the dirt.

Kale flower buds in late afternoon sun


14 Responses to “More Winter Survivors”

  1. Grace Says:

    I know. I’ve also been surprised at what made it through our frigid (for us) winter. All of my dahlia tubers, salvias… Love the colors of your lettuces. My argula is bolting too, darn it.

  2. Racquel Says:

    The cool season veggies like Lettuce probably like your moderate temps at this time of the year. I’m happy with my survival rate this year too Karen. There were a few things I planted last fall that were kind of iffy for me like Black & Blue Salvia & Gentiana. I love Red Sails lettuce, need to remember to plant some of this fall. 🙂

  3. Michelle Says:

    It’s a bit like a treasure hunt in spring – finding all the survivors! Is that a baby chard plant next to the fennel?

  4. Catherine Says:

    It is amazing what did and didn’t make it. Your lettuce looks great! The slugs ate all of ours except for the container of it up on our deck.
    My daughter and her friends like to chew on the chives too, then come in with some nice onion breath 🙂
    It’s supposed to warm up and dry out this week. I guess this rain is good for the plants after the warm days we had.

  5. Wow! That’s wonderful they came back. I’d have to say they are ‘Merlot’ my ‘Red Sails’ are much lighter- I always amazed at my garden and what goes on even after a hard winter. Looks like a yummy salad is in your future! Happy Gardening:)

  6. Yea, happy to read this! I found a couple of my own survivors yesterday after the heat too. Isn’t a wonderful feeling?

  7. Cami Peloza Says:

    I am very new to veggie growing and so am very interested in reading about what you’ve had success with. I love the onion flowers btw. Have you tried growing any veggies in containers besides lettuce? Also, are you supposed to cut off the buds on the Russian Kale or should you just let them bloom? Will they keep putting out buds all summer?

  8. RainGardener Says:

    Karen it all looks wonderful and nice and colorful too. I agree about the little explosion – very interesting looking!

  9. Cynthia Says:

    I have been growing chives for years and years now and even though we all love them I always forget to cook with them. At least them I still get to enjoy their pretty flowers- mine are in bud too right now. I wish more of my plants survived that crazy winter. 😦

  10. Melanthia Says:

    Wow, lots of great stuff out their. What do you do with your leeks? We only have one or two recipes and need to find more. My harden must be hotter or something because my chives have all bloomed already. I also enjoy Arugula, especially tossing it in salads.

  11. Beautiful survivers and I think you saved the most beautiful to the last, the Russian Kale.


  12. Megan Says:

    I’m not surprised you have a lot of survivors. You seem to be good about planting things that are appropriate to your zone. Unlike, ahem, some people (I’m trying to be better though).

  13. Jen Says:

    I’m very much a fan of your pretty (and edible!) foliage. I think I’ll try overwintering my leftover lettuce seed next year. That red lettuce is just gorgeous. I grew two red varieties this year – Red Rosie and Mascara and hope they look as pretty as these. The Russian kale with the purple highlights in the leaves is really special too!

  14. GardenJunkie Says:

    Love the lettuce – both eating it (well, not eating yours, obviously :-)) and looking at it. Makes me think that maybe planting beautiful red lettuce in the “flower garden” would be a good thing to do – maybe instead of heuchera (although they like shade and lettuce doesn’t so maybe not…).

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