Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Four seasons of gardening

A warm afternoon (more like an occasional late February day) encouraged moving leaf mulch, some light weeding and tidying of winter beds, and musings about planting time. In our climate, more of us should really think more about four seasons of gardening, from vegetables to landscape plants.

The winter honeysuckle is flowering now, prompted by the warm weather. It normally is in full swing by late January and February.


I think I'll sow some winter lettuce in the cold frame tomorrow and set up the heating pad and lights in the garden shed. I'm anxious to start some hardier transplants (kale, broccoli, collards, and mache) and sink my fingers into the damp earth again.

All the covered lettuce beds in Italy this time of year were amazing -- why not here? The hoop frames were simply providing a bit of protection and increased warmth (I think) -- no supplemental heat or light.

I ordered seed potatoes today from my favorite source, Wood Prairie Farm, and onion and leek sets from Dixondale Farms. If I'd kept better records (or had the patience to go back and dig up my notes), I'd know which potatoes did best here, and which varieties from my last year's experiments with onions were most successful, but basically, I love to experiment in the garden -- and every year is different, after all, even with tried-and-true varieties. I haven't yet sorted through my seeds (I'm sure I have plenty already, but maybe I'll find something new I need.... the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed catalog is a wonderful inspiration).

I WILL be rotating more diligently this year (AND KEEPING AN ACCURATE MAP), hmm, is this a New Year's resolution? And, I'll be adding new beds to expand the rotations. Perhaps the trade-off for a mild winter climate is an abundance of potential problems, from fungal wilts to harmful nematodes.

But it's hard to complain about a mid-60° F day in late December, even if it's unusually warm.

1 comment:

  1. I'm finding myself dreaming of spring and starting to plan for a new gardening year. I just found a source in my province of organic, heirloom, and heritage seeds that I'm really excited about, and have started a list of what I want to order.

    Amy

    ReplyDelete

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