Sunday, February 14, 2016

Winter Gardening

I picked up a Husky cherry tomato plant in November while Patrick Saunders was gone participating in Texas Plein Air in San Angelo. The scraggly little thing was sitting in a clearance bin at a garden center, and I just couldn't resist. Being a Midwesterner, I was thrilled to be spending the winter in southern Texas rather than in Missouri, and seeing that tomato plant got me caught up in the idea that I might be able to grow herbs, greens, and veggies throughout San Antonio's relatively mild winter.

Our little row of rosemary, oregano, mint, aloe vera, parsley and basil

There have been quite a few nights in January and February where we have had to pack all the plants into the Smart car for the night when temperatures have hovered at near freezing, but for our efforts we have been able to keep fresh herbs and grow arugula, and now the cherry tomatoes are ripening. Such a burst of flavor from home grown tomatoes compared to what you can buy at the store! I wasn't expecting much because, based on what I have read, winter grown tomatoes don't have as much flavor as summer ones, but when I popped one in my mouth, I was thrilled - very satisfying. The arugula was a total loss, because just as I noticed that it was ready to harvest, some bugs decided it looked really good too and chowed down hard on it overnight.

The tomato harvest is small but yummy, made smaller still by some crafty squirrels, or possibly birds, who have snagged several of them. They could at least finish what they start before they take the next one, but no, they take a bite out of one, move on to the next, do the same thing, and then leave the evidence behind, just to taunt me.

Husky cherry tomatoes

Now, if only I could devise a mobile garden. I'm thinking a hoop house on the roof of the truck shell, but Patrick will probably veto that. Wouldn't travel so well. We will just load the herbs up in the truck when we hit the road again in April. Patrick actually likes traveling with the rosemary in the cab, because it smells so good, although it has gotten so big that we might have to leave it behind and gift it to a neighbor. It's a small bush now.

Thank you Patrick for helping me move all of these plants back and forth at night to keep them alive - you are the best! - Kimberly