Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, The last of life, for which the first was made: Our times are in His hand Who saith "A whole I planned, Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!" - From "Rabbi Ben Ezra" by Robert Browning

Friday, February 3, 2012

Winter Garden Update

The winter garden is coming along great! The cabbage are finally starting to form heads. The collards are reaching for the sky, and the broccoli are ready to harvest! 

Warmer than usual temperatures, and lots of rain this winter, have encouraged the plants to keep growing, rather than fall into a dormant stage due to cold.

 It would have been nice to be harvesting these vegetables late in the fall and early winter, but we don't have a problem waiting until spring.

By every best guess, and the Almanac,  it doesn't look like we are going to have any more winter weather in this area of Georgia.

Although I would delight in a surprise snowstorm or even an ice storm, I'll be happy to settle for these cooler, gardenable temperatures for as long as they will last! 

We didn't plant a lot or a big variety in the fall. We always talk about planting a greater variety of vegetables, but broccoli, collards, and cabbage are staples to our diet. 

Carrots, parsnips, turnips, and other winter crops are something we don't consume a lot of. It would be interesting to grow them at some point, for the experience, but we just haven't taken that step yet.

I'm starting to think about radishes, peas, and beans. The mild temperatures, sunny days, and lack of frost and freeze threat are encouraging.

I did grow rutabagas and kohlrabi last spring, and we enjoyed eating those. I might try those crops again.

My herbs are thriving in the greenhouse,  and I'm anxious to bring them back out to my front deck, but I might be a little ahead of myself on that that. A sudden cold snap might be disastrous!

Speaking of the greenhouse, we still have productive tomato plants and bell pepper plants! This is the longest we've had them in the greenhouse. A serious hard freeze usually does them in by January.

The other day, John and I were speculating that, had we known we were going to have such a mild winter, we might have continued with our in-ground summer crops longer. With only the addition of a row cover and some mulch during cold spells, we might have been able to carry the crops deep into winter. We'll never know, but the experiment might have produced some interesting results.

Speculation aside, we are grateful that John's father, when he established this little piece of Heaven, saw fit to put a greenhouse on the property. Being able to extend our growing season means a lot to us, and although we are not yet using the greenhouse to it's fullest capacity (it needs some work), it is still a very valuable part of our gardening efforts.

In the final picture here, you see our rooster pen, also called the garden pen. Originally, there was a chicken pen here. My husband, who believes in chicken portability, moved the chickens, and the area became my well-fertilized spring garden last year.

Ah, yes, I remember fondly the onions, garlic, Swiss chard, cabbage, kohlrabi, and rutabagas! But, I digress.

When the veggies were all gone, and before I had a chance to think about planting anything else, John had turned my garden into a make-shift chicken pen once again. And the summer and the winter have passed.

Oh, well, this little 20' x 20' plot of well-fertilized amended Georgia clay will be a garden once again, just in time for spring, and just as soon as these pesky roosters meet their maker at Darby Farms sometime later this month!

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