Growing Herbs in Texas: Fall Gardening and Minutina

| 9/16/2009 4:11:18 PM



Cynthia Meredith has been gardening with herbs, reading about herbs, and discussing herb gardening in Texas for more than 20 years. She has owned The Herb Cottage ( for over 10 years, selling herb plants to people all over our state. 

Rain. Rain. And, more rain! We here in central Texas couldn't be more pleased with the change in the weather. It's cooler and the roadsides, pastures and lawns are actually turning green. As I look out the window by my computer, the overall look is greenish rather than dusty brown. What a lift for our spirits as well as local gardeners, ranchers and farmers. If this keeps up, and I hope it does, we may have to mow the grass this fall.

As I mentioned last week, I hoped that I would be able to plant parsley in one of my beds soon. Well, I did get a chance to plant the parsley and I couldn't stop there. Since the bed is right outside the back door, close to the kitchen, I decided to also plant some spinach, minutina, nasturtiums, and a mesclun mix as well.
Johnny's Selected Seeds says this about minutina:

"Minutina (Erba Stella)
(Plantago coronopus)
Especially for winter salads.
Along with Sylvetta arugula and Claytonia, a cold-hardy salad plant for fall, winter, spring, and summer production. Small plant with a rosette of slender green leaves. Provides a crunchy texture to salads without fiber. Flower buds are edible. Regrows after cutting, but succession sow for best quality and appearance."

Photo courtesy of Johnny Selected Seeds 

I've never grown minutina during the summer, but it would be worth giving it a try, especially if you live where it's a little cooler.

So far, a few nasturtiums have poked their big leaves up; the minutina and mesclun mix is up; and a few thin leaves of new spinach are showing. Parsley takes somewhere from 14 to 21 days to germinate, so I'm not surprised that it's not showing yet. And, if the seeds somehow get disturbed from my guinea fowl poking around in there, I'll have potted parsley plants in about 4 weeks that I can put in.

I just love the winter herbs and vegetables. Here, everything grows so well, stays a rich green due to the cool weather, and most winter herbs and vegetables are quite hardy for our mild winter. If you live in the more northern or western part of the state, your season is more limited, but you still can have a fall crop of cilantro, chervil, cutting celery and dill. The winter salad vegetables that grow so well with herbs will do well with some protection in your area. Spinach is very hardy and even if it freezes it'll come back. Arugula is another one I find to be very hardy.

And, don't forget about the edible flowers. Nasturtiums are frost tender, but violas, pansies and even calendula can take pretty cold conditions and still grow and bloom to add color to your salads. Just make sure you grow them without pesticides if you're going to eat them... just like you do your herbs. 

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