My First Winter Garden

Reader Contribution by Cheryl In Texas
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I’ve never attempted a winter garden before. Which is a shame, because here in central Texas, we have a very long growing season and pretty mild winters. This year, on a whim, I grabbed some 9-packs of cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. I started working in the garden pulling up the finished-for-the-season tomatoes and tomatillos, and trying to get rid of some of the grass that was trying to reclaim my garden. I got the first few broccoli and Brussels sprouts in the ground. But before I could finish planting those or any of the cabbage, something had sneaked into my fenced garden and not only eaten every one of my cabbage plants, but also most of my Brussels sprouts and all but two of my broccoli. Eaten them to the ground.

I immediately thought of our resident squirrels, because they were the only critters I could think of that wouldn’t be deterred by the fence. Hubby said I was spouting nothing but false accusations with no evidence. He likes squirrels. We both do actually. We have a designated squirrel feeder.

But something was eating my plants. So I caged each plant that was left with tomato cages and chicken wire. Inside the fence. Overkill? Maybe. But I didn’t battle all that darn grass for nothing!

The plants that were left have all been growing well. The rains have been interspersed enough that I haven’t even had to spend much time watering. I went out last week to check on everything. And this is what I found.

Well hello beautiful! My first ever broccoli. May be the only one we get this year. But I’m already excited and encouraged to try again next year.

Just like I’m plotting a much bigger patch of roma green beans this spring. Oh my stars, are those the best canned green beans I’ve ever eaten. Funny story on that canning adventure. You can read about it here.

Do you grow a winter garden? Do you use cold frames or a green house?

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