Six on Saturday: Busy in the Vegetable Garden

A new week, another Six on Saturday and a great opportunity to connect with fellow gardeners. The temperatures have dropped significantly over the last week with a low of 6c at night. Daytime temperatures range from 13C to 19C  but at least the rain has stopped for now which means my cacti and succulents have the opportunity to dry out.

This week I’ve decided to focus on my neglected vegetable garden (although I could not resist taking some hibiscus cuttings).

1. Growing Physalis – will they survive?


This week I found a dish of Physalis on the tool shelf in the garage. I don’t know when I picked them or why they are there -scary! I probably got waylaid en route back to the house. They are rather shriveled so my guess is that they have been there some time. Still, a lucky find as hopefully I will get some new plants at some point (or not).

They normally self-seed and grow where they fall so, apart from the cover to stop the birds and other critters stealing them, I’ve tried to replicate their normal growing conditions.

2. Taking Hibiscus Cuttings – Plants for Free!

Hibiscus Cuttings
Hibiscus Cuttings

I organise a local garden group via Facebook to exchange ideas. However, this month we decided to take it to the next level and arranged our first meet-up and tour of a member’s garden to discuss their successes and failures. It was an interesting morning and I learned some new tricks. While I was there I spotted a beautiful pink hibiscus and managed to scrounge some cuttings. They were woodier than the ones I normally strike so we will see if my usual method of propagating hibiscus is successful. Fingers crossed.

Another win from the meet-up was some fuchsia cuttings. I’ve not tried to propagate fuschia  before so I used the same method as above.

3. Raised Vegetable Garden – So much to do!

My vegetable area desperately needs some  serious TLC.

The brussels are growing well but the plants I  bought and nurtured as broccoli, have morphed into a galega cabbage (or so I’ve been informed). As we won’t eat them I will dig them up turn them back into the  soil.

The rocket (bottom of photo) is now past its best and tastes bitter. This needs to be removed and new stock planted. It’s only been allowed to survive this long because its  yellow flowers attract the bees.

The whole area needs turning and top dressing with organic fertilizer. I am also debating whether I should add some wood ash. Would it be beneficial – I’m not sure?

Raised vegetable area - 29th November

Raised vegetable area – 29th November

4. Red Cabbage

I never intended to grow red cabbage but there you go. I went to the market to buy red onions and came away with red cabbage.

Red Cabbage Seedlings
Red Cabbage Seedlings

I have only planted eight of the fifteen baby plants (now potted up in the nursery) and if they survive the first month I will donate the rest to our gardening group.

I am plagued with slugs and snails at the moment so yes, I have scattered some slug pellets around the plants to give them a fighting chance. Why the crates? The crates are to prevent curious birds eating the pellets or dead slugs. However, last time I used slug pellets the ants stole them which made me laugh as I saw these blue spots dancing along my garden path. An no, it was not even Gin and Tonic time.

5. Brussel Sprouts in Portugal …

Are almost like hens’ teeth. While UK supermarkets stock mountains of brussels sprouts, brussels are not readily available in Portugal. I don’t know why because cabbage seems to be very popular to the point there is even a cabbage soup called Calde do Verde. If you are lucky enough to locate brussels sprouts they tend to be very expensive

Brussel Sprouts in Portugal
Brussel Sprouts in Portugal

Anyways, you can imagine my delight and surprise when I discovered so plugs at a local market back in August. I quizzed the stall holder in my best Portuguese to ensure couve de Bruxelas as labeled were indeed sprouts and after some arm waving and mime I was satisfied and purchased six plants to try. Considering the plants were only about two inches tall when I bought them, I was rather dubious that we would have brussels for Christmas. Providing the snails or caterpillars don’t eat them in the interim period, we should be in luck!

6. Herb Garden – Work in Progress

A job for the coming weeks is to reassess and reorganize my herb garden. I don’t use a few of the herbs, so why grow them’

My herb garden in needs of some TLC
My herb garden in needs of some TLC

Many of the plants are tired or a jumbled mess, while others, like the lemongrass and a miscellaneous lemon scented leaf shrub which I’ve never used, need to be removed.

The lemongrass has since been  divided into several pots and most rehomed. I’ve never used it so why let it take up valuable space?

As for the jumbled mess, how do people train a herb to grow neatly  in its designated space? I even put rocks round each herb and they still escaped!

That’s my six for last week and a lot of work for weeks to come


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Related Posts: 

Six on Saturday: A Tour of My Garden – November (part 1)

Six on Saturday: A Tour of My Garden – November (part II)


15 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Busy in the Vegetable Garden

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  1. I love the mystery of the Physalis on the Roof, very Agatha Christie! I’m a big fan of red cabbage, it reminds me of Christmas more than sprouts because it is the only time I can be bothered to cook it properly. So nice to share with other gardeners, most especially to see that others have failures and make mistakes too! Lovely 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I certainly have a lot of failures and many aha moments when I realise why something has not worked. Red cabbage is nice as coleslaw as well as cooked. I am reminded of how one of my favourite restaurants cook red cabbage. They use honey and sweet herbs. It’s so delcisious I usually beg a second helping

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was unfamiliar with physalis so did a search-we always used to call them cape gooseberries but I’ve no idea why. That is one beautiful hibiscus and I like your propagating method. I usually put a plastic bag over the top of mine, but your idea is much better.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Jane, I’d never eaten them before I started to grow them… and the growing was purely by accident as someone gave me a small plant and i’ve continued from there. They are so easy to grow it amazes me they are so expensive in the supermarket.

      I also used to use plastic bags but inspiration hit me and I now upcycle plastic bottles for a lot of things


  3. Do you get frosts? When I lived in Australia I had to track down Brussels Sprouts, and when I did they were tasteless, as were parsnips. They need a frost to bring out the sweetness. Wonder if putting them in the freezer briefly would work?!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi ALi, No, in our area (so far) I’ve not seen ground frost or snow.

      Hubby always puts vinegar on his brussels and greens which completely changes the taste 😦

      I only tried to grow parsnips once and it I think the weather was too hot for them and they never really grew.


  4. Do you happen to know how your climate zone relates to USDA climate zones? I know that there are climates in Spain that resemble ours, but I know nothing about Portugal. If the climates are like ours, they are just as varied!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure how I’d check that Tony. We are on the SW coast. Temperatures here are different to the south coast and even to 10km inland. We have our own micro climate

      We don’t get ground frost (saw frost on car onde but not much) Winter temps range from 2C to 13c at night and 10C to 19C during the day.

      We have high humidity especially in winter

      It can be windy so the windchill factor can lower temps to exposed plants.

      Summer temps 20 to as high as 47C this summer. Not much rain in summer months.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha! Just as variable as California is. That is part of what is so amusing about comparing the climates to those of Spain, Italy, Northern Africa, South Africa, Australia or anywhere else. I sort of get it that there are similarities, but there are SO many variable as well. Just within California, we have the driest deserts in America, the deepest snowfall in America, the Rainiest rain forests in America (which is hard to believe even from a few miles away). Anyway, that is why so many movies are filmed here. There is so many different kinds of scenery within driving distance.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. That hibiscus is really gorgeous- is that one flower or a cluster? If the former, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one so nice. I don’t suppose you know the name. I do so hope your cuttings take. It’ll make a great addition to the garden. Your tale of mis-identified broccoli & hoping to have enough language to get sprout plants for Christmas – you are one determined gardener. Good luck w/the freesia. I didn’t know they could be propagated via cuttings, as I thought they were blubs. Have to go poke a finger in my pot to see what’s under the dirt! (And good luck w/those, too. Freesia are so beautiful & seem to bloom forever.)


    1. The hibiscus is one flower. It’s a double. The lady who gave me the cutting does not return to Portugal until January so I’ll ask her if she knows it’s name. I tried to reasearch on pinterest

      and was amazed by the different varieties. I am now a women on a mission.

      As for the freesia cuttings, *blushes* I meant fuschia. Well spotted. Thank you 🙂 Fingers crossed they grow. If not it will mean another trip to the garden centre. My preference is to strike my own cuttings from plants that are already growing well here.


      1. Oh that link you gave us . . . Aladdin’s cave of blooms. I never saw so many wonderfully exotic looking hibiscus before . . . just very wow. You made my evening!

        Liked by 1 person

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