Week 50 Tips for the Zone 9 Garden

This will be my last post of the year.  Thank you all for following me this year as we did our weekly tips.  I am going to take some downtime to spend with my family.  If you are Catholic you know we are in the liturgical season of Advent.  Advent is a time of preparation and waiting for the birth of our lord.  I hope you receive many blessings during this joyous season.  Sally and I are also celebrating our own personal Advent.  We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of a new grandson.  Please keep all of us in your prayers!

If you get a break from all of the season’s activities, this week will be a great time to be in the garden.  The weather is supposed to remain outstanding until the 28th.

Grandson number 1 came for a visit last week.  Can't wait to meet grandson number 2 this month!

Grandson number 1 came for a visit last week. Can’t wait to meet grandson number 2 this month!  Sorry for all of the maroon but one of his granddads went to the other place so we take every opportunity to makes sure he makes the right decision 16 years from now!!!


  • Plant Herbs – December is a great time to plant perennial herbs like rosemary, lavender, oregano and thyme. You can also plant from seed or transplant cilantro, parsley and dill
  • Plant peas – My grandmother swore you should plant English peas on the last day of the year. This will ensure a nice fresh harvest for Easter
  • Fruit Trees – Plant bare root fruit trees now and into January
  • Spray Fruit trees – I have a real problem with scale insects. Spray fruit trees with dormant oil now to reduce your Spring infestations


    Continue to harvest and replant lettuce


  • Plant salvias – I love salvias and I grow several varieties. If you don’t have any get some and plant them now.  This plants are beautiful and long blooming and they are just about pest free.
  • Plant iris – Plant iris corms now for an early Spring bloom
  • Flowers – Plant calendula, or pot marigolds from transplant. You can also plant old fashioned “pinks” (dianthus) at this time.
  • Move shrubs and trees – Most of our shrubs and trees are now dormant. This is the perfect time to move any that are not thriving or have over grown their space.

You can still plant all radishes in Zone 9. Try something different this season like diakon, rat tail or icicle radishes


I share these posts on Our SimpleHomestead Blog Hop.  Be sure to stop by.  The “hop” has tons of great information from gardeners and homesteaders all over the world!

The Fall and Winter Potager

Lately, several people have been visiting my site from Pininterest.com and “pinning” shots of my garden on their pinboards.  I am very flattered when this happens.  If you are not yet familiar with Pintrest you should check it out.  It is a collaborative site where you create “pin boards” of your favorite topics and then post images that you find on the web in them.  Then, everyone on the internet can come to your site and see the things that you have found.  It is really cool and you can quickly burn several hours if you are not careful. 

Right now, my little garden has never been prettier.  The folks from the Central Texas Gardener television program came to film it back in December.  It was pretty then, but it is a lot prettier now.  The veggies are doing great, but the flowers have really matured and look beautiful.  Eventhough the potager is mostly about the vegetables, it is the flowers that make it interesting.  So, for all of you Pinterest users that are fans of small, raised bed kitchen gardens, and my regular readers, here are a few pics of what is currently blooming in my little potager.

Panseys are always a great choice for Texans in the fall.  I planted these around the first of Decemeber.  If you look closely you will notice carrot foliage in the back.  I do companion plantings in all of my beds.  I have a mix of pink and purple panseys that share the center bed with a mix of carrots and vilolas (Johnny Jump Ups).  They are all thriving and look very good mixed together.

My purple panseys.

Violas are one of my favorite winter flowers.  The work great in pots where their pretty little flowers grow rapidly and spill over the side.

Calendula is often called pot marigolds.  Not only is it pretty and a prolific bloomer, the petals are edible.

I love dianthus.  They bloom well into the summer.  Their common name is “pinks”.  People think this is because they are mostly pink, but it is really because their petals look like they were cut with pinking shears.  They come in all colors and all sizes now but I still prefer this old fashioned variety.

This year’s winner in the vegetable department is Comet Broccoli.  This variety is incredible at putting on side shoots.  I have two dozen of these scattered throughout the potager.  Last Sunday, my wife and I harvested 8 produce bags full of side shoots.

Here is a picture of me with a lettuce harvest.  Our lettuce has been outstanding this year. 

One of my favorite things in the potager is not a plant at all.  It is our bottle tree.  While not technically in the potager (it is in the outside border), I still think of it as one of the main things that adds interest and charm to my little garden.

In addition to the flowers pictured above,  I have byzantine gladiolous, crinums, daylilies, two varities of roses, lots of salvia, red poppies, holley hocks, crysanthimums, zinnias and larkspur.  This ever changing pallette of colors and textures is what keeps me excited and watchful throughout the year.