Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The quiet season

So, it's January and we've harvested and eaten all the collards.  I still have two active beds, one with mustard greens, hardly little leaves that they are, and a bed of garlic, which supposedly should be fairly dormant by now but are still sporting some mighty green tops. Yesterday I checked the weather for the weekend, hoping for some 60-degree temps but alas, our cold winter is hanging on with the thermometer promising only the 40s.  Now I know a lot of people would love to see a snowless day in the 40s but I'm looking for a warm day to lay out some irrigation lines, manage my compost, turn the beds over and plan out some seedling plants for next month. 

Recapping what we've learned from this year, these items are among the top lessons:
  • Grow more of everything we plant
  • Grow sensitive plants - or the ones bugs are sure to get - under IKEA curtains
  • Till in more compost
  • Give some plants more horizontal room
  • Give others more and sturdier vertical room
  • Give a single woman charge of a single bed
  • Really enjoy the fall garden
  • Mulch more
 I've filled good-sized pots with soil for doing seedlings and I have many smaller pots as well for this.  It's a little early to start, though the catalogs are coming nearly every day with great ideas, stoking my imagination! I'm looking forward to getting an early start with the sugar peas and other beans and can't wait to plant more lettuce and radishes for early salads.  The zucchini will definitely go undercover as we always get the wasps that bore into the stem and lay eggs, ruining the plants, sometimes before they produce even one crop.  Carrots are so inexpensive and difficult to get right we'll be skipping them this year.  And the tomatoes will have more room, more water and I'm not above giving them a little shade since last year the heat wilted them so badly. 

Today Kate, from Garden City Organics, is stopping by with a donation for our garden.  She's moving to D.C. to do an internship and we'll miss her though we wish her well.

Gardens offer such hope, such promise.  It hooks me every year, no matter the struggles of the previous year. Stay tuned.  I promise pictures as soon as I have something new to photograph.

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