TRANSPLANTING - This is one task commonly unheard of in winter, but I've successfully thinned the bed of cilantro I planted in the fall, replanted the little plants, and they have new growth. I transplanted a couple of rows of beets from a patch which had reseeded itself. I've also discovered that once you grow garlic, expect volunteers to appear long after you think you harvested everything. Those little stragglers are now moved into the garlic patch and are growing well too.
DIRECT PLANTING SEEDS - In late January I planted a bed of snap pea seeds, more than a month earlier than I normally would. Peas are very resistant to cold, although they will grow slowly. I figured the worst I had to lose was $1.25 worth of seeds. I've just begun to see green growth emerge from the soil, so my head start should be successful. I've also direct seeded corn mache (a salad green), romaine lettuce, and kale, but no signs of growth yet.
RAKING - My latest gardening reading is a book called Good Bug, Bad Bug and I recommend it to other organic gardeners. It prompted me to rake the leaves out of the low walkways in my garden, once I learned that many damaging insects will over-winter in matted leaves. I'll be revealing more tips from this book as the gardening season gets underway, like planting certain crops near others to deter bad insects or to attract good ones.
|Please help me identify this weed, growing everywhere!|
HARVESTING - As I keep saying, I love those collards! My next recipe experiment will be using the leaves to make Stuffed Cabbage, since they are big and flat and not apt to break like cabbage leaves do. The few times the temps have dipped below 20, I've still been covering my collard bed, since I don't want to risk damage. The brussels sprouts continue to produce, so I keep harvesting from the same plants. Even the ones I started from seed last fall have been growing, so I might get a spring harvest out of those plants. Also continuing to pick spinach, beet greens, curly parsley (more cold tolerant than flat leaved, which crocked last month), lettuce, cilantro, mint, kale, onion tops and garlic greens.
PRUNING - It's time to prune my two Concord grape vines. The trick with grapes is to prune WAY MORE than you think you need to. Look online for lots of instructions, and your vines will reward you with much more to harvest. Unfortunately the birds or some other culprit beat me to the harvest last season, so I may need to cover the ripening grapes with netting this year.
I am always looking for ways to recycle, and many plastic discards become part of my garden supplies. Plastic clam-shells from grocery store lettuce mixes and strawberries provide mini-greenhouses for seeds started in peat pellets. The air holes are already there, allowing drainage at the bottom, circulation of air at the top, and heat escape. You can open the lids when the temperature is warm too. Berry baskets are good for holding peat pellets too. I use 32 oz. yogurt containers to cut I.D. tags (I label everything - too easy to forget what each plant is!), and I also poke holes in the bottoms to use them as pots, both in the 6 oz and 32 oz sizes. Little grated cheese containers make ideal drain cups under the yogurt-container pots.
Next month will be a busier gardening month, so I am enjoying my non-gardening time with my other passion, painting. See what I've been working on lately in my Art Blog.