Filling in the Blanks

Amy Jo Holdaway, Vegetable Garden Chair – Fort Bend County Master Gardeners

January can be a great time for assessing our gardens. As the weather chills and we stroll through our yards, making plans for adding new plants and removing spent ones, and preparing for the coming spring and summer, it can also be a great time to fill in the empty spaces with something beautiful and edible.
There are many vegetables that need only 30 days or less before first harvest. Lettuces like Black Seeded Simpson, Parris Island Cos, and Red Sails grow beautifully this time of year. Most Mustard greens and Asian greens also flourish in these cool temps and can be harvested as baby leaves after only 27 days. Short season root crops like radishes and turnips can also be ready in 30-40 days. Even Kohlrabi can be ready to harvest in 30-40 days if you choose an early variety.
Have you already harvested your broccoli and cauliflower? Remove those old plants, mix a little com-post into the soil, and plant some lettuce seeds. Before you’re ready to put your tomatoes and peppers in the ground, you’ll be enjoying fresh baby-leaf salads. How about that container of over-grown and wilted annuals waiting for spring flowers? Pop in some radishes, turnips, or kohlrabi and eat the delicious results of your quick handiwork in just a few weeks. Have a bare spot in your flower garden? Mustard and Asian greens are not only delicious, they are also beautiful, with many frilled varieties that nary an HOA can detect.
The winter garden is so enjoyable and so much less work with less pests and diseases than the spring/summer garden, and with much more tolerable working temperatures. Why not round out your garden with these tasty and quick-producing vegetable varieties? Filling in the blanks can be a fun, easy, affordable way to while away the January gar-den while dreaming about all those tomatoes.
Not sure which you’d like to grow? Come check out the Fort Bend demonstration gardens at 1402 Band Road in Rosenberg, and see for yourself! We have examples of all the above listed vegetables growing in our multitude of gardens. Seeds are available through the many colorful seed catalogues arriving in our mailboxes now, and at most garden nurseries and big box stores. So get out there and plant some seeds! Happy gardening!
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