Monday, January 19, 2015

Rock and Roll!

Take a lickin', keep on ticking', Savoy cabbage. The shar pei of brassicas! 

God loves us. That's my explanation for this warm, sunny mid-January day. All weekend the high temperatures were in the 60's and a most welcome sun has shone down on us. I pruned dead, slimy leaves from broccoli and lettuces, pulled the ones with frozen stems. They don't call it agricultural science for nothing: I'm always experimenting. Maybe the un-dead broccoli will send out edible side shoots. Maybe :)  Maybe :] Maybe :\
There was also pulling and digging of limp lettuce. In the now empty beds, Scott shoveled in composted chicken manure and wood ashes. Right behind him,  I sowed mache, spinach, boo choy, and arugula seed. A brave, hopeful, glass-half-full measure. Weather Channel forecasts show days and days of temperatures just right for cool season crops. Fingers, eyes, and toes crossed!
I also pulled turnips which were yummy julienned in pork tacos yesterday. It served as a fabulous substitute for other crunchy things recommended in the recipe. Turnips are really sweet this year. I credit the right regular rain for this.
The weather made gardening an all weekend event. I cleaned the clutter all around our garden bench and planted broccoli seeds in pots for indoor germination. Scott cleaned gutters. We pulled weeds, admired and wrapped up with a late season planting of garlic, because, you can never have too much garlic.
Rock and roll gardeners!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Stink Patch!

…and then it rained some more, like all week until today more, two inches more. And it was cold, really cold. Damp cold. Dreary cold. Winter cold.
     Today there is hope. The sun shines down from a Carolina blue sky with not a cloud in sight! Birds are chirping, I can hear the happy voices of the preschool children on the playground on our block, it has warmed into the 40's and dog, Scout, is sleeping in a sunbeam at my side. Spring is in the air today. This is the good life in a small town down South. However, the garden looks and smells like a stink patch. Stinky, stinky, slimy frozen, then thawed, broccoli! Hoo whee!
     In the Just So You Know category:
     My retirement gift to self (there have been many :) has been a perennial flower bed. All summer I worked on it buying plants as they came available at our local garden big box centers. Bulbs were the last to go in and, despite the thoroughly yucky weather, are sprouting! Daffodill and crocus bulbs  have pushed little green shoots up beneath the pine straw mulch. Evidence that we are on the down side of winter, the upside of summer.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Rain! Lots of it!

When I woke up this morning I had this dreamy vision of our tiny, hobbitty house floating on a lake of water. That's how hard it rained last night. What would I see when I looked out this morning, I wondered? Alas no epic flood, just a drippy medium gray day. It is a balmy 50 degrees so I will venture out and contemplate starting new lettuces to replace the ones that froze last week when temperatures dipped into the teens. Perhaps the turnips, mustard, and broccoli have rebounded with the warmth. Kale, cabbage, and spinach took it like champs. All was not lost but, truth be known, I was grumpy about the lettuce (and dill) for days. Happily, we stumbled upon a seed display at Walmarket yesterday morning and I was back to a glass-half-full making plans. Cheers y'all!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Fig. The centerpiece.
Every season she provides-
Jeweled fruit, jarred jam!


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Garden Gifts

Mountain Magic
Mid-summer we traded tomato shoots with a friend. He gave us a baby Roma, Juliet, we, a rooted Mountain Magic cherry. Jim took his home and put it in a pot. Ours went in the garden. Our Juliet did OK. Jim's Mountain Magic did great! When the days cooled, he brought it inside and it continued to bloom and bear fruit. Two days ago these vine ripened beauties were left on our porch. Rarely do we, in Southeastern NC, have tomatoes in our fresh salad but this week we did! Aside from being beautiful, they were delicious in our salad. Gifts from the garden are the best filling the tummy and warming the heart. It has been a good year that way.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Let It Grow...

December 2010

Fabric row covers are keeping the lettuce just warm enough to save them from freezing. This morning we had a hard frost, but there 'neath the covers, were brilliant green greens. Tonight's salad was harvested minutes before dinner. Lovely Amish lettuce on the menu with locally grown sweet potatoes.

I have read row covers can add up to 10 degrees in warmth. With ambient daytime temps near 60, the covers make cozy growing spaces! Neatly held down, the low tunnels I have made make snug mini-greenhouses for our lettuce and broccoli beds. Turnips and kale can take whatever Mother Nature dishes out and are doing just fine. I am a happy winter gardener today.

Friday, November 21, 2014


Nights have been really cold Down South. Temperatures in the 20-ties. I knew it! I just knew it would happen again. Gloom. Despair. Agony. Except. Last Spring I determined we would not have a blown up, blown out winter garden again. I broke down, bought a brand new, really big, long bolt of Agribon agricultural fabric from Johnny's Seeds. Capital was invested yo.
Fast forward through summer and a lovely, temperate, early fall. But! My Daddy, consummate cynic, taught me the ways of a doomsdayer. Weeks ahead I put in place all the metal row covers. I unfurled afore mentioned fabric and gently placed it over each bed making sure we had enough coverage. Then I hauled bricks to make sure we could snuggle it down tight.  And I waited. Boom! Just as I had predicted, cold arctic air pushed it's way South and (thanks to the Weather Channel) I was ready. I hoped. This morning I peeled back the Agribon, hope in my heart, and found this: