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.