Kale

Q: What winter vegetables can I grow?

A: Cabbage, collard greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts – they’re all the same, or are they? Historically, since humans decided to live in one place and forgo traveling as hunter-gatherers, they have planted and grown edible plants at home. The plants listed above all originated as the same species, Brassica oleracea, in the mustard or Brassicaceae family of plants. These leafy greens that are easy for us to grow in the cooler season have been hybridized for a few thousand years with amazing results.

Easy ones to try in the garden include curly, Redbor and Tuscan kale; if you are gardening with children, another fun one is dinosaur kale! Try cabbage, such as pink, purple or ornamental Osaka red. Mustard can also have red leaves for a showy color accent. Arugula is a very easy and spicy salad leaf to grow from seed.

From other plant families, such as the amaranth family, try Rhubarb Red Swiss chard.

Cilantro or Chinese parsley must be grown when it’s cool outside. When it warms up, you can let it bolt to form seed, which is then used as the spice coriander. Lettuce are sturdy winter plants here in Houston, so grow seeds now.

Check out your local nursery for choices of seed or plants, then add them to your kitchen garden for fresh, home-grown meals.

Suzzanne Chapman
Author: Suzzanne ChapmanEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Suzzanne Chapman is the botanical collections curator at Mercer Botanic Gardens and promotes organic gardening, growing native plants, and protecting the environment. Send your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..