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January Garden Projects

January has continued with our exceptionally rainy trend (another 6.8" so far), and up until the full moon, the daytime temps have been mild and pleasant. Since then it's gotten cold and not so much fun to work outdoors. But I took advantage of those nice days and got quite a bit accomplished in the garden.

My flooded hugelkulture swale bed finally drained so I could finish filling the swale and mulch it with leaves.

We will border it when Dan can take
a break from working on the carport.

I had hoped to dig a few more of these beds, but since the ground is still too wet for digging I decided to work on another project I had in mind - the outside edge of the hoophouse.

It's been a weedy mess for a couple of years now. Instead, I'd like to plant something there that could use the hoop house as a trellis. For that, I built a narrow bed.

I didn't dig a swale here, just built it from the ground up. I used random landscape timbers we had laying about and filled the bed with layers of weeds, topsoil, leaves, partially decomposed wood chips, cardboard, hardwood ashes, and compost. I topped it off with a thick layer of leaf mulch.

Ready for something that would appreciate a trellis.

I tucked cardboard under the timbers and topped that with wood chips. Hopefully, this will keep the edges of this bed weed free. I'll finish the other side of the aisle after I do something with last summer's okra bed. That's where I plan to dig my next hugelkultur swale bed.

Future hugelkultur swale bed.

Of course, that will have to wait until the ground isn't saturated like a wet sponge. I don't mind transplanting in the mud, however, and started with the strawberries.

I thought I lost my strawberries during the summer of 2016 because it was so hot and dry. Last fall Dan mentioned seeing several strawberry plants where one of the old strawberry beds used to be. I took a look and sure enough, there were a few survivor strawberry plants there, so I transplanted them into the hoop house. I thought there might be two or three plants but I found nine. We love strawberries so this is a new start!

Nine sleepy strawberry plants nestled in woodchip mulch in the hoop house.

I have also dug up my comfrey and baby garlic plants and moved them under some of our fruit trees.

The other project I had in mind for January is cleaning up the asparagus bed.

I took this photo in December.

It has been a mess! It's hard to see them, but there really are asparagus plants growing within the yellow outline. Like the strawberries, they are survivor plants because asparagus is something else I thought I'd lost. The problem? Wiregrass! Wiregrass is unwanted, unwelcome Bermuda. It's invasive and chokes out everything else. After transplanting my asparagus several times I finally gave up. This past summer I discovered several asparagus plants still hanging in there!

The odd thing about these plants is that they were growing where I didn't plant them. They came up in the downhill berm I made when I dug my first garden swale. The old cardboard you see in the photo above was put down after I finished that project two years ago. The berm was originally planted in clover, but wiregrass, blackberry brambles, and honeysuckle pretty much took over. We do like asparagus so I thought I'd give it another chance.

Rather than level out the berm I decided to terrace it.

Terraced, weeded, and being mulched.
Here's my "done" pic.

The old cardboard is still quite untidy, so I will probably mulch that as well. I'm just happy to have gotten so much accomplished this month.

 January Garden Projects © January 2019


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