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The Garden in January

Winter is a slow time in the garden, and the seasonal change of pace is nice. I've got a few things growing, and am harvesting lettuce and collard greens. On nice days, I work on jobs from our winter project list.
  • dig two more swale beds
  • cover and mulch main aisles
  • do something with that weedy corner!

Progress on these is slow going because we've had a lot of rain. Except for a few cold snaps, it's mostly been mild, with highs in the mid-40s and 50sF. But we've had cold, biting wind, which takes the enjoyment out of an otherwise nice day.

Of my list, the first new swale bed is about dug out and ready to fill with logs, branches, sticks, wood chips, compost, and soil.

The first of two hugelkulture swale beds
I'm hoping to make this winter.

I've made a start on mulching the wheelbarrow aisles too. Here's how it looked before:

Photo from "Modest Success in Controlling Wiregrass"

Here's my progress so far...

Eventually, I'll have the whole garden looking like this!

I use several layers of heavy-duty cardboard on the bottom and a thick wood chip mulch on top of that. I prefer to do this when the soil is wet from rain. The cardboard and wood chips will help keep it from drying out, and I need to retain all the moisture I can in my soil! This past summer, I had pretty good success with this method to keep wire grass at bay.

The last project on the list is doing something about "that weedy corner." Here's how it looked last August.

Except for the hoop house and winter squash in in the
background, you'd never know this was part of my garden!

Years ago this spot was my first no-till experiment, naturalized with violets. But honeysuckle and blackberry roots lurked underneath and after years of trying to conquer them they finally won. This past summer it was the weedy mess you see above. Eventually, I'll double dig more swale beds here, but for now my solution was to dig out all the roots that I could and mulch heavily with leaves.


What's growing? Not a lot. A couple months ago, I planted carrots, radishes, lettuce, and kale, but not much of that has come up yet. Garlic and multiplier onions are doing well, however.

I have garlic planted everywhere.
Here's some in the strawberry bed.

Multiplier onions

I mentioned harvesting collards.

Heading collards

These are actually from last winter! Somehow they survived the summer with very little watering and are still producing tasty greens. I expect them to bolt this year.

Lettuce with garlic and fava beans.

We're enjoying lettuce on sandwiches and in salads. The fava beans are new for me. They are a cool weather bean, so I thought I'd give them a try. They should do okay if we continue to have a mild winter. Our winters can go either way, however, so they still might get frozen out. So far so good, although I don't expect beans until next spring.

I should also be able to start adding miners lettuce and chickweed to our salads soon. The chickweed volunteers everywhere, and the miners lettuce was transplanted from a large pot the hoop house.

Volunteer miners lettuce (claytonia)

I transplanted it in clumps into one of the hoop house beds.

It's taking off well with plenty of rain and mild temps.

Also in the hoop house is a bed of Chinese cabbages. They suffered some bug damage earlier but are growing now. I trim a few leaves for salads now and then.

Chinese cabbage

Also from the hoop house are volunteer dandelions that I harvested. I dry both the greens and the roots.

Dandelions

I have two experimental grain patches too.

Hulless oats

The hulless oats look a little disorderly, but the seed did well. The heritage wheat, on the other hand, not so well.

Heritage wheat had poor germination.

I'll continue to plug away at my projects and enjoy nice weather while we have it.

How about you? Anything happening in your garden?

The Garden in January © January 2020

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