Fall Garden in December

Hello friends! It’s been a while since we last looked at my garden. In mid-October I shared a seedling update and we are now in the first week of December with some mighty plants! As a reference, I’m in USDA plant hardiness zone 8a, which means our extreme minimum temperature reaches 10-15 degrees (F). Currently in December, our days are in the 70s with nights in the 50s. Some days are warmer and others cooler. Lows in the 30s are in the forecast for next week and they look to finally be sticking around…we’ll see.

Remember those tiny mesclun mix seedlings that were the first to sprout? Well here they are now, over taking their little square foot plot. Noted, these will get a 1 x 2 ft plot next time! I desperately need to harvest some of these and make a salad or two, to allow some breathing room for the others in the mix.


As you can see, it’s definitely Fall season and the Silver Maple’s are losing their leaves quickly. I’ve already tried clearing the bed of these leaves, but what’s the point!? The tree’s are still going through the seasonal change.

The Black Seeded Simpson lettuce was slow to grow, but they are finally filling in. They still share their plot with some self sown basil seedlings.


Speaking of Basil, as you can see, the warm weather has allowed them to stick around. I harvested a huge portion for pesto last time around and they have since doubled back in size. Leggy, but still deliciously fragrant. In the background you can see the purple blooming stalks of the Thai Basil.

I’m so proud of the spinach growth! I tried spinach transplants once and they did not last. Because of this, I was weary of how the seeds would do. But check them out! That’s some grocery store sized leaves right there! Almost 🙂


The carrot tops are putting on a beautiful show. I can even see some orange carrot parts peeking through the soil. They are still relatively small and I feel my oregano plant blocked sun from some of the seedlings. As the Maple trees lose their leaves though, more sun is reaching this bed.


Behind the carrots, you can see the cilantro is doing well. I have harvested a few sprigs already and they smelled incredible! They were very floppy for a long time and I wondered when they would grow a thicker stem for support. This happened pretty recently, which is when I decided to start harvesting.


I have two Kale seedlings that are doing well. Still a bit small though. The one in the front is larger but has some wilting leaves. The one in the back (out of view) is smaller, but slowly catching up. I did abandon my watering routine for a couple of weeks with the time change, so I’m hoping they pull through. I just fertilized today so maybe that will help. The scallions are doing ok, I’m not quite sure what to expect with them. I will do some research and find out more about their growth.


The Swiss Chard and Romaine seeds never sprouted. I even tried a second round of seed sowing, but nothing at all. Either it’s just too warm or the seeds are too old. I also lost some of my transplants. The Cauliflower transplant that was in this bed kept losing leaves and never regained it’s strength. By the time it was down to a nub, I decided to just remove it. Same goes for the red Brussel Sprout plant, it lost leaves until there was nothing left. My Broccoli Raab died due to lack of watering, shame on me as I was really looking forward to seeing this broccoli produce. It had such interesting foliage, I was sad to see it go. It is definitely less hardy than the other varieties.

My Green Magic Broccoli transplant on the other hand is very hardy. It has been growing fast and is looking well. I love the large leaves of the broccoli plant and I can’t wait until I see the broccoli head growing out of the center.


Now something interesting happened with my other Brussel Sprout transplant. Since planting in early October, I’ve noticed it growing quite strangely. At first I thought I planted it wrong, maybe too deep or not level with the soil. Something was off!

Here’s the transplant to remind you of what it looked like two months ago:

Long Island Green brussel sprouts

…and here it is now! Do you see what I see!?


Something tells me this isn’t Long Island Brussel Sprouts! I sent a picture to my mom and she told me that it’s Kohlrabi. Kohlrabi! What’s that!?


Kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family and the entire plant is edible. It’s texture is similar to that of broccoli, but tastes similar to sweet radish (or so i’m reading). It should have a crisp inner texture like water chestnut! I’m not sure yet what I will make from it. Some sites suggest a slaw, or pureed into soup, or roasted with other veggies like eggplant and potatoes. I’m leaning towards putting the stems and leaves in an Asian stir-fry for one recipe and slicing the bulb julienne style for slaw with a different recipe. Have you tried Kohlrabi before?

Here’s some great resources to learn more about Kohlrabi:
Kohlrabi Is Weird! And Here’s What You Can Do With It
Harvesting Kohlrabi Plants: How And When To Pick Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi: The Cool-Weathered, Out-of-This-World Vegetable

Finally, a little update on the garlic… They all sprouted and doing well 🙂


Happy Gardening!


Seedling Update 10.15

It’s been two weeks since I shared my Fall bed plantings and I’ve been patiently waiting on the seeds to sprout! It’s been rather warm as well for October. I believe we had three 90 degree days last week, but a cold front has moved in and it’s currently a comfy 70 degrees outside. I’ve tried to keep the seedlings moist, watering every to every-other day.

The first to germinate was Mesclun Mix. I’m not sure which variety of lettuce this is, but it looked like a particular kind that all seemed to germinate in abut 4 days since planting.


…and here they are now after 2 weeks. The seeds were so tiny, that I just went with the scatter method and will have to thin out when they get a little bigger.


Here’s my Black Seeded Simpson lettuce along side a self sown basil seedling ❤ Touching this little seedling and you can already smell the sweet basil. I also have some Thai basil seedlings growing outside of the bed.


I’m really excited about the spinach seedlings! I must’ve dropped a couple mesclun mix seed here and they’re racing the spinach to the finish line.


My romaine has not sprouted and it’s been 18 days since I sowed those seeds. Should I assume they were a dud and try again? Or are they just waiting patiently for some solid cooler weather? The garlic too has not sprouted, but I’m not too worried about them.

However, here’s a garlic sprout from a clove planted October 2016! I guess I’ll be harvesting this one next year 😊


Meanwhile, in the other garden bed, more seeds are sprouting.

Carrot seedlings are doing well.


Here are the Scallions. Interesting little seedlings; I hope they are a successful choice.



Next, yummy yummy cilantro seedlings


I do have a single kale seedling, but he’s too small to share right now. The swiss chard seeds have not sprouted in this bed either…another dud? Should I try again? I thought the Kale wasn’t going to sprout either, but it just did recently, so maybe the swiss chard will follow.

I harvested most of the basil last weekend and turned it into pesto. They are stored in the fridge for now, but I will have turn them into ice cubes for freezer storage. I left a few flower stalks behind for the bees, and is the reason for my basil seedlings.


Until the next seedling update!

Adzuki Bean Sprouts

My gardening adventures are moving indoors, with the easiest project possible, I hope! Have you ever heard of bean sprouting? I never really thought about it, but when I saw the options at my local nursery I was intrigued. Of course there’s a whole tray setup you can buy for $30+, but I decided to go the mason jar way! There’s also jar lids you can buy on Amazon with a strainer for draining or you can use cheese cloth as an alternative. I also saw someone re-use an onion mesh bag to cover their jar for draining on youtube so get creative!

So here’s my supplies: Organic Adzuki beans from Botanical Interests, a mason jar (washed out pasta sauce jar), cheese cloth, and a rubber band. If you have a regular canning jar with its original screw on ring band, you can hold the cheese cloth on with the ring band instead. The extra ring bands I have don’t fit this larger mason jar that I wanted to use.


Step 1: Inspect and rinse your beans. (A link for a how-to on disinfecting beans at the end of this post) My packet is about 1/4 cup of beans and I removed a couple of broken beans.


Step 2: Soak the beans for 8-12 hours. I placed my beans in the jar and filled the jar half way with filtered water for soaking. Neko was pretty curious as to what was keeping me busy in the kitchen.


It is recommended you use a QT jar for 1/2 cup of beans, but mine is a PT jar and 1/4 cup of beans. I’ll see how these turn out.

Step 3: Cover with a piece of cheese cloth and hold in place with a double-wrapped rubber band (or steel ring band). After 12 hours, drain the water out. Make sure the beans are well drained. I set my jar on its side to give the beans the best air circulation.


Step 4: Rinse and drain 2-3 times a day. Make sure to drain very well as too much water left behind can cause mold. You want the beans to stay moist for sprouting.

I soaked my beans on 10/7. Here’s what the beans looked like on 10/9. You can see that after 2 days i have some sprouts!

Here’s my sprouts on 10/10…the process is speeding up now!


Here’s sprouts on 10/11. 4 days later and I think I’m happy with the sprouts at this length.


The shorter sprout, 1/4″ length, probably has the best taste. For my beans, this was probably 3 days after soaking. However, not all my beans had sprouted at this time and so I decided to add another day for the other beans to catch up. This gave me a mix of beans with long sprouts and others with short sprouts. They definitely have an earthy taste, but in a good way, and I love the crunch they offer.

The storing directions advised to let the beans dry to the touch before refrigerating, but I had to go to work and so they sat on the counter for another 9 hours. The largest of my sprouts were starting to grown little green plants! Beans at a micro green stage will taste a little bitter, but are still very nutritious. Adzuki Beans contain vitamins A, B, C and E and are high in Calcium, Iron, and Niacin.

My sprouted beans on top of brown rice along-side baked peppers stuffed with ground italian sausage and roasted tomatoes. Topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  


**Please Note** I recommend organic, certified pathogen-free seeds or beans for sprouting. There is always a risk to eating raw foods; therefore, it is recommended to disinfect seeds or beans with 3% hydrogen peroxide solution heated to 140°F before sprouting. Below are helpful resources.

How to Clean Seeds for Sprouting – Emergency Essentials

Sprouting Seeds at Home: Disinfecting, Growing, and Harvesting Tips – Botanical Interests