Winter Break and Planning

After a long break from posting, I am back at least to say hello to everyone who reads my blog and hope you all are doing well.  My garden is at rest since fall.  Not much digging to do yet, but potatoes should be planted in March so I do have my pick axe and shovel ready.

Since I was blessed to make it to 70 years of age this January, I started thinking about how to make gardening easier for me, especially the digging and pick-axing part, so I rounded up eight empty feed tubs my daughter uses for her cattle. I drilled holes in the bottoms, put in a layer of small rocks and old wood pieces and will fill the rest with some organic garden soil.  Really looking forward to see how this works out and if I can make my containers produce healthy vegetables like you see in all those seed catalogs!

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As always, never giving up hope that this year will be a great year for an abundant vegetable harvest.  Haven’t had such a pleasure in several years, but this may be the one. Grasshopper plagues, drought, late killing frosts, and garden pests have really contributed to disappointments in gardening the last several years. But I will not give up. I really do appreciate all the people who can grow beautiful and healthy organic vegetables and I strive to be one of them. Learning how to do so never ends.

So what am I doing while awaiting the next planting time?  I’m enjoying looking at all the seed catalogs! What a fantastic array of vegetables God has created for our eating pleasure.  Getting orders ready for Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Seeds from Italy.

Even in winter, the garden is a lovely place. I feed the birds there, take pictures of them, sit and read on warmer days, watch my little dogs play, and await every evening to see what kind of a sunset show there will be!

Blessings to you all.

The most common bird in my garden is the Mockingbird, Arkansas’s state bird. This one taken today as I was out with my 3 little dogs in the garden.

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A sunset show photo from last night over our pasture and round bales.

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January Skies

Already a new year and the first month has nearly passed.  Things are quiet in the garden right now, resting until spring arrives which will arouse plants and countless living creatures to vibrant activity.  Seed catalogs are stacked up on my desk which I go through almost daily pondering over how many new vegetables and flowers I should plant this year.  Part of the fun of gardening is dreaming of the bountiful harvest which may or not come about, but one can always hope for the best crop ever.

In the meantime, the winter garden is still a comforting place in which to walk and especially to enjoy winter sunsets.  My three little dogs enjoy their garden time too, running and sniffing about while their mama watches the sky for interesting clouds and sunsets to photograph.

This evening there was a parhelion in the sky, formed from a jet streak which fanned out into cirrus.  This phenomenon is also called a sundog.  Have you ever seen one?

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Under January winter skies the cold frame has kept the lettuce and spinach growing and it is such a blessing to be able to pick some fresh lettuce and spinach for a supper salad. I just pick a few leaves and not uproot the whole plant, so it keeps on growing.  Imagine how fun it would be to have a walk-in greenhouse?!

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Frost is Coming!

014The first freeze of the season is coming, ready or not. Weathermen say it will happen tomorrow night, November 7.   I always try to prolong the life of my garden plants by covering them with frost blankets; it does help for a time, but of course eventually it really is winter and garden plants die off.

In the past I have kept some cold hardy lettuce growing all winter using frost blankets to cover the lettuce bed, but this year I’m trying a small cold frame. 004Lettuce and spinach are growing really well in there right now, treating us daily to these healthy greens.  We’ll see how the plants do over winter.  Will it be a mild one or a severe one? We never know, of course, but we always hope for the mild one.

018Marigolds and hummingbird sage are still brightening up the garden! Today there were many honey bees buzzing around the sage blossoms. Always love seeing the bees at work especially because we hear so much about bees dying off due to pesticides.  I don’t use any pesticides so bees have a safe gathering place in my organic garden.

Another growing season is coming to an end, but what wonderful memories of the garden this past year, planting tiny seeds which miraculously produce cucumbers, melons, tomatoes, turnips, zinnias, marigolds, hyssop, lavender and much more.  I look forward to garden miracles in 2016, Deo volente.

“I’ve been a dweller on the plains,
have sighed when summer days were gone;
No more I’ll sigh; for winter here
Hath gladsome gardens of his own.”
– Dorothy Wordsworth, Peaceful Our Valley, Fair and Green