Out of focus image of outdoor pergola (with title overlay)

Garden Update: January 2019

As we start the new year, we are looking forward to working in our garden more this year. Our goal is to continue to learn the ins and outs of gardening in Houston so we can grow our own food.

By growing our food, we know exactly which chemicals are (not) used on the fruit and vegetables we consume. Of course, we can’t grow everything we eat, and it takes time, so this will only be a portion of our fresh produce for now.

One day, at our next house, I would love to have my own custom-built greenhouse. It would help regulate the temperatures and have a watering system built in. For right now, though, we live in the suburbs and don’t have a large yard for that.

The guys added a hard roof over our pergola so our furniture doesn’t get wet in the rain.


Right now, it’s still fairly cold, so we aren’t doing a lot with the garden. A few weeks ago we had to cut back most of our plants because we had a few nights with temperatures below freezing which killed many of the plants. Since we are in SE Texas, most of our plants are tropical. In other words, they don’t like the cold.

In previous years, we’ve tried to keep the vegetables in one section of the yard and fruit in the other. This coming year, we plan to mix them up a bit because we’ve learned what type of plant grows better in each area.

Far right is mint, everything else is weeds.

Right now, our garden beds are overrun with weeds. We haven’t been out there to tend to the garden since we don’t have anything growing now. In the next couple of weeks, we plan to get out there and really work on cleaning the beds and getting them ready to plant.

Some of the only plants we didn’t cut back are the Golden Ginger Alpinia Zerumbet Variegata. I never remember their full name, for obvious reasons, so these are what we call the “ginger plants” even though they don’t grow the ginger that’s used in cooking. These lost a bit of their color and leaves during the freezing temperatures, but we are hoping they will keep growing through the winter.

The ginger plants and spider grass still have a lot of green on them.

We also did not cut the banana trees all the way down this year. Last year, since we had snow a few times, it completely killed the stalks of the banana trees and we cut them down to soil level. This year, Justin went out and cut the leaves off but left the stalk. We are hoping, since they tend to grow back well, that we may get bananas this year again.

The only green on the banana trees is new growth since we cut them back.

The only other plant that wasn’t effected from the cold is the blackberry bush. It was raining when I was checking on the garden today, so I didn’t get to take a close look at whether we have any berries growing right now or not.

The blackberry bush has lost a lot of leaves but is still growing.

I still have my herbs in jars indoors, but I forgot to water them for a while. When I noticed, I added more water and they are starting to green up again, but it may be a while until I can use them in cooking still.

Gardening Plan:


  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Parsley


  • Blackberry
  • Pineapple


  • Bell Peppers
  • Green Onion
  • Tomatoes
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Lettuce
Src: https://www.ufseeds.com/learning/planting-schedules/Zone-9-Planting-Calendar

Last week, I started collecting the seeds from some bell peppers we were using for a recipe. Each year, we’ve been able to grow the bell peppers from seeds out of previous year’s peppers. I don’t keep them separated, but just plant them all in the same area so it’s always a surprise which color we will have grow!

Also, just for fun, the boys and I made rain gauges this morning out of some 2-liter bottles. We don’t usually drink any soda, but my mom was in town and has to have her caffeine. So, instead of just throwing the bottles in the recycle bin, we upcycled them into rain gauges and will use the top part that we cut off as a funnel in the garage.

Your Turn

  • If you could grow any food in your yard, what would you grow?
  • Have you tried gardening before? How did it go?
  • What growing zone are you in? Here’s a map of the US with each of the zones:

15 thoughts on “Garden Update: January 2019”

  1. I would love to grow lemons! But I don’t think we have the right climate for them. It’s still pretty cold up here, so we may not get to garden (or even want to go out to the backyard lol) until April.

  2. Oh, how this post got my garden imagination going! I’m in Zone 7/8 on the border, so it’s not time yet, but I can’t wait! We’ve been doing straw bale gardening in the front yard because our chickens eat EVERYTHING we plant in the backyard. Far lower yield, but my line of bales grows every year!

  3. If I could find the one extra time to garden, I would love to garden herbs and veggies. Can I grow coffee? That would also be something I would like. Your garden looks beautiful though and I love your back yard.

  4. We’re in growing zone 9 in Tampa FL. I grew up in Wyoming so we were very limited on what we could grow and only had a few months a year that we even could. Being in FL we planted a Banana Tree, and avacado tree, a pineapple plant and an orange tree. I’m hoping we get some good stuff this year off of them!

    1. Oh I love the Tampa area! I grew up just south of there in Fort Myers and went to school in Orlando. We are in Houston now but I do miss Florida.

  5. I really admire your effort to keep a food garden going. I’m an avid gardener who had to cut back because the wildlife in my area were winning by eating everything in my garden… One day, I might be able to garden in a more controlled plot of land.

  6. It’s so cold lately in my place and I can’t wait for warmer days to start taking care of our little garden. We love having our own herbs and seasonal vegetables

  7. I would love to have the patience to be able to do my own garden. I love that you have shared so much info about how yours is doing and the progress that you have made!

  8. Wow, you really have an ambitious plan for your garden! I like your patio set, as well. Hubby and I had our largest gardens last year. We had flowers and various plants and veggies growing in our fenced in back yard, in raised beds, along with hanging flower baskets. Then, in raised beds in the front, I had flower gardens on both sides of the front entry. One side gets sun most of the day and the other side is shaded, so we planted accordingly.

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