"And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress and keep it". Genesis 2:15

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Winter Garden Work, Winter Plans

This has been a very interesting winter so far weather wise. It has snowed three times already and one day of snow was on Christmas Eve. Thus this area had its first white Christmas since weather records have been kept! We usually do not have snow or freezing weather until January, but we get our first frost in November which kills out the summer garden. I have always taken this hard when our first frosts are followed by such nice weather afterwards. Now that I am learning how to grow cool weather crops more successfully I am hoping to fill this void time with lots of new vegetable experience - like growing cabbage for the first time this last year. One way I plan to extend the season is plant these cold whether crops under a row cover.

I have actually still been working in the garden, although I am only now getting around to writing about it, and I actually picked some small broccoli off-shoots and mustard greens in the beginning of January! Currently the Brussels's sprouts are snugged down under an old blanket due to our "extended" (for us) nights of freezing weather this past week. I need to replace the blanket with a good row cover so that I do not have to keep taking the blanket on and off. Surprisingly enough the mustard greens are still going strong even though they were uncovered and the temperature was in the teens.

The last bit of garden work I am doing is finishing the clean up of the old summer garden, and raking all the leaves from the property and piling them on the garden. That way I will not have to weed so much and hopefully the leaves will contribute to the build up of the soil. Everybody is supposed to do three loads a day and so far we are staying ahead of the weeds.

Here is the winter Garden.

If you remember the three dark green pumpkins I brought inside after the first freeze, well here they are on my breakfast table, all nice and orange now. We put them outside only for a few days when the weather was nice, and they turned orange with only the light that came in the kitchen window.

My plans for the winter are to continue to cover up the garden with leaf mulch to keep down weeds, and to start some experiments with gardening indoors and seed starting indoors.

I bought a tabletop florescent plant light from Gardens Alive and am setting it up today. I am hoping to grow all my own garden transplants and see what else edible I can grow indoors this winter - herbs and lettuce come to mind. Believe it or not now is the time to start some vegetable plants indoors!

Another thing I am going to try for indoor gardening is to grow some sprouts. I have done this before and it worked out fine if you can remember your sprouts every day.

I'll leave you with a picture I took of a little Inca Dove, my favorite doves, who is looking out over my garden. A little flock of them sits in the sun in the garden everyday. I am greeted by the surprise of them all flying off all at once each time I walk to the garden, because they are so perfectly camouflaged sitting on the ground.

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