Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December Garden Activity

You wouldn't think that there is that much going on in the garden in December.  It's been cold, cold, cold here and we've even seen about a half inch of snow twice already.  Even so, there is some activity happening and I thought I'd share it with you.

1)  Jamey planted garlic last week.  Last year, we didn't have our acts together and by the time we were ready to plant it, the ground had frozen...solid.  Jamey planted them in trays of sand in a cool place inside and they did sprout and we did transplant them out in the spring, but not all of them did well and the bulbs were sad in size.

This year, we ordered new bulbs of the California Early White Garlic variety, so we're giving them a try.  The cloves were nice and big, so we're hoping they produce nice, big bulbs.  There is nothing more frustrating that peeling teeny, tiny garlic cloves.

2) We're putting the garden to sleep under many layers of cover.  Jamey has been moving round bales of straw into the garden and several neighbors and friends have been donating their fallen leaves to the task.  All this organic matter will break down and add nutrients to the soil.  Our garden started out a bit clay-y in some areas 6 years ago when we moved here, but the soil is benefiting from all the mulch and is coming along nicely.

3) The chickens have been let loose in the garden.  During this time of year when they bugs have buried down deep, the soft garden soil is a dream for these chickens.  They scratch around, eating up grubs and depositing their own fertilizer every where they step.

Our kids have been having a good time making igloos out of opened tomato cages, straw and leaves.  You can see Sam poking his head out the "window".  This igloo has since been taken over by squatters.  Who knew chickens enjoy forts, too?

4) Next on the agenda is to trim the asparagus fronds.  In the past, we've done this in the early spring, but our most recent issue of Mother Earth News states on page 23,

"In early winter, after several hard freezes have damaged your asparagus fronds, cut them off and compost them to interrupt the life cycle of insects and diseases.  Fertilize the bed with a 1-inch layer of rich, weed-free compost or manure topped with 3 inches of straw, rotted sawdust or another weed-free mulch.  Clean spears will  push up through the mulch in spring."

I'm not going to argue with Mother Earth News.  Are you?

Soon, Jamey and I will need to sit down for our annual garden meeting.  It sounds so business-like, as if we wear formal clothing and sit across from each other at some long, board room table.  Instead, we're usually sitting on the couch with our cold feet tucked up under blankets referring to garden maps, notes and the canning journal.   Almost the same thing, right?

It seems ridiculously early to be thinking about next year's garden.  I'm still suffering from canning flashbacks.  I'd like them to fade a bit more before I have to turn my mind back to the garden, but if we do that, we'll be ill-prepared and will be kicking ourselves come spring.  I don't enjoy kicking myself very much, so I'll surrender and think about the garden...even in December.

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  1. Think of the giant leaf piles as your gift to the chickens... Who wouldn't want to play in a garden full of leaves?

  2. I'm thinking about making the move to heirloom and starting from seed this year. I should follow your lead! Better get some catalogs ordered!

  3. Wow! I feel the same way! Torn between the anticipation of a new garden year and Whoa! Canning already?? Funny!

  4. We had to do similar tasks about a month ago...we are already under several inches of snow and getting more by the minute! My chickens had a great time scratching around!

  5. The two of you are just as bad as us, we had our annual seed and garden meeting this past week too...isn't it fun.:) As always, I thoroughly enjoy hearing about your garden and how you care for it. We followed suite this year and really went all out on adding leaves to the garden. Love the picture of the little face in the leaf pile...priceless.

  6. My garlic bulbs are sitting here on the counter, needing to be planted. I really need to get this done and you've given me a good reminder; I just doubt it will happen this week! BUSY!! But I can let the chickens out in the garden. I did it once before, but today is the perfect day for them to be out there.

    I can't wait to sit down and go through seed catalogs and the internet to order bees - just right after Christmas!

  7. Have you posted about your canning journal? If so, can you tell me where to look for it? My gardening downfall has been planting things that looked interesting to me instead of focusing on what we already use and buy from the grocery store. That's my goal for this coming year; to focus on what we need and just try one or two new things for fun.

  8. Michelle,
    I wrote about it last May. Here's the link to the post...


    I hope you find it helpful:-).

  9. Garlic....ooo thanks for the reminder. I guess I'd better order some or I'll be in BIG trouble, if I'm not already.

  10. That's where I went wrong this year - I left it too late to properly think about my summer garden - so it all went in rather late, but anyway I shall see what is produced.

    Have a lovely day

  11. Yeah, I missed the garlic boat this year:( Next year I'm gonna get it in the ground in the early winter. I, too, found that spring planted garlic gives you puny sized cloves.


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