Simple Sowing: Herbs and Greens ~ The Garden in Winter

"A garden is a lovesome thing...
The veriest school of Peace."
--Thomas Edward Brown

I've been busy planning and working on the herb garden this past month... inspired by the image of a simple yet fascinating circular herb garden I saw on Pinterest (above center left...all the other photos are my own).  The viewing thereof prompted cravings for fresh mint and tangy thyme in our daily salads... not to mention that elusive lemon-y/yet not lemon-y flavor of French sorrel in our soups in lieu of spinach.  If the truth be told I began in late December after a visit to the 99-Cent store where I literally stumbled upon a group of lonely looking herbs (bottom right picture in collage) while putting away the basket in front of the store... sage, chives, oregano huddled together on a small rolling cart... all in need of a nourishing, nurturing home and, of course, they were adopted by me (bottom right collage photo).

A few weeks later found me planting more green, herbal goodness that I found for a few dollars each at our local nursery, Brita's Old Town Garden.  Parsley, Purple Kale and Cabbage, along with a lovely Lavender bush found earlier that week at Trader Joe's (top photo of collage) joined the existing baby rosemary bush by the garden gate and the other plants populating our tiny herb garden.  

As gardening was heavily on my mind, I bought an extra Lavender to plant at my Dad's house... it will eventually replace the cherry tomatoes that (while very spindly and sparse) are still producing about half-pint per week (bottom left photo of collage).  


Purple Kale for use in our morning juice (thank you Manuela for the good advice!) as well as use in other recipes such as soups, stews, sautéed dishes and salads. Kale and other lettuces will grow as a perennial in our mild climate if we harvest only the outer leaves and leave the center intact.

Cabbage for juicing, sauté's and the like...
like the Kale I will try to keep this as a perennial by harvesting only the outer leaves.  The herb pot in behind the cabbage was bought for under $4 from Trader Joe's.  

A potted semi~dwarf Kumquat tree we bought last week from Costco of all places for a mere $19.99!

Even our Rose tree was in the mood for spring... communicating this to us by offering its' generous blooms in late January!

Robert Collier tells us to "See things as you would have them be instead of what they are."  I'm finding that garden planning is a perfect exercise for mastering this.  What are you seeing for your garden and world?  
Sending love and good thoughts to always.

Tracey and Family x0x



La Table De Nana said...

The little Kumquat is adorable..Good for you..I love that circular garden also:)

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Thank you so much LTDN! I am trying to fill up some bare beds that had to be emptied after our little fence was rebuilt and reprinted last summer! My next purchase is yo be a small lemon tree! I currently get them from my dad's two trees but having one of my own would be so convenient !
Tracey xox
PS loved your fortune cookie ideas and story!

Mrs.Rabe said...


I am new to your blog though I have seen you comment on Brenda and Manuela's blogs.

I love herbs, and have only begun to learn about how to use them the last few years. I am going to make an herb garden near to the house rather than with the regular vegetable garden.

Looking forward to reading more of your blog!


Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Deanna, it is so nice of you to visit...I really appreciate it! You have a great idea to put a little herb garden close to the house. Herb gardens are so useful...and relatively easy to maintain! I love popping out my back door and snipping a bit of parsley or mint to add to a quick salad!
Tracey xox

Nana said...

Hi Tracey;
What a lovely post!! I am definitely going to look into a circular herb garden, it looks wonderful! Many blessings to you and yours, with love and hugs, Nana.

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Thank you so much for the kind words Nana! They are very welcome to hear! Hope all is well with you.

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

So glad you like the Kale in your smoothies!
That looks like a herb spiral - a part of permaculture systems.

I had kale plants that lasted over a year by harvesting the outer leaves. Then when they got leggy I cut them to half their size and they started growing new leaves. After a while they did peter out but you have a more temperate climate than me so maybe yours will last forever!

I can't wait to see it all done! I wish I could grow citrus!

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I can't plant anything until late April (if I'm willing to go out and cover it at night) and mid-May is recommended.

This year I plan to extend my herb garden. I found out loveage an be dried and used for its' celery taste in soups (or used fresh, of course).

I planted it last year but the drought and unusually hot summer weather combined to fry all the newly planted herbs. Not sure how many of the others survived, either.

If gardening teaches us nothing else, it is to keep going and have faith NEXT YEAR will be good.

Just got out your two books to re-read. :)

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Hi Manuela, yes we do love the kale now thanks to you! :)
Good to know about cutting them back when they get spindly for (hopefully ) new growth. I also want to to try some green kale as well as chard for perennial greens. Chard lasts for years out here but does tend to get bitter if it gets too big.
I can't wait to get it done but must go slow as we are having to remove some concrete and put in a new compressor and some other boring but very necessary things. This will take some time. I don't want all the working to hurt any of the new plantings. On a happy note,my garlic is thriving!


Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

You are sooo right Brenda...gardening is a true exercise in faith! Excellent point! :))) honor me my friend...and made my day.
Tracery xox

Lorrie said...

I love herbs and we're fortunate to live in a region where most of them survive winter. I trimmed back the oregano, thyme, and lemon balm yesterday. We've been harvesting rosemary all winter, and I noticed the chives are almost ready for a clipping as well. Herbs add such flavour to meals. Looking forward to seeing your herb garden in its summer glory.

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

I absolutely agree Lorrie...herbs are almost magical in how they can make an ordinary dish taste extraordinary! I love your late winter harvest photos...I had no idea your climate was so mild. Seems you have the best of both worlds!
Tracey xox

Michele said...

Hello Tracey,

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment today - I love your blog! I have a container garden each spring and summer on my back porch and fresh herbs are the only green plants that love me back, otherwise I'm just running a garden hospice. :) I can't live without fresh rosemary - it has sentimental value as well as being my favorite secret weapon with pork and chicken.

So happy to have found you!


Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said... are so funny Michele! I too have been known to run my share of garden hospices! Like you, thats one of the many reasons I love growing herbs! It helps too that they often manage themselves!

I love your blog...I was smitten with it as I browsed through the posts and related with them after another...such a pleasure it is to accidentally stumble an a kindred spirit!


Scrappy quilter said...

Just thinking of you. Hope you are still blogging. Hugs

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