|Posted on January 13, 2013 at 7:05 PM|
Each Monday Daphne’s Dandelions hosts the “Harvest Monday” blog hop. Everyone participating submits links to their posts summarizing the week’s harvests. It’s always very interesting and inspiring to see what other gardeners are producing from so many different growing regions. Here's my contribution to the weekly harvest recaps for the week of January 7 through January 13, 2013.
It has been a mild and open winter for us so far, and up until this week, we have skated by without anything more than a periodic light frost. That came to a halt for us last Thursday when our first hard freeze occurred. Still not a wicked cold like much of the rest of the northern US experiences during winter, but cold enough to put a hard frozen layer on the ground and to make all the hardy winter greens cold stressed.
The temps have been down around 30 degrees for the past several nights but generally rise above freezing by the late afternoon, which gives the plants a chance to bounce back and perk up before the next night time dip occurs. The forecast for the coming week is for a continuation of this cold and clear weather, so I will continue leaning on the frozen and stored vegetable supplies for our meal preparations to avoid having to try and pick items that are cold stressed or frozen in place in the ground. I did harvest some turnips on Sunday though. The ground was still largely frozen but I was able to pluck a few of them out without having to resort to the use of a garden fork.
I placed my seed and supplies order this week. I am sticking with tried and true varieties (in large part). There are a few new items in the line-up but not very many really. I find I get more consistent results by not tampering too much with what I know works for my growing area. It is always tempting to try all the interesting new offerings, but I find restraint on that is a good idea if production is the goal. One item that was new for me last year though and that was such a good producer it earned itself a return was “Donkey” spinach. I am still growing my longstanding favorite Bloomsdale as well, but Donkey produced heavily and with very large leaves in 2012 (which is probably the basis for it’s name – the leaves are large like donkey ears) which made it deserving of a return to the garden in 2013. The tomatoes will be largely the same line up although I am going to try Amish Paste for my saucers but am not optimistic about it as tomatoes are such a challenge to grow well here in my cool and often cloudy environment and heirlooms are oftentimes even more challenging. The old regulars of Siletz, Stupice, and Legend will be joining a few Cherokee Purple and Amish Paste tomatoe plants, both of which are less likely to succeed but are being given a little room in the garden all the same. I skipped growing brussel sprouts, parsnips, and leeks in 2012 but they are back in the garden line up for 2013. We have been missing all three of them. In addition, I am going to take another run at getting a bed of asparagus established. The first one I put in after moving to this property just did not thrive and I eventually ripped it out after many years of low production. I am going with a hybrid all-male variety for this second attempt (Jersey Supreme) and putting it in a different location in the garden. I am hoping those changes help me avoid another low producing asparagus patch on this second try.
It’s mid-January, time to start the slow ramp up of seed starting. I will get the onions, leeks, some early lettuces (to go in the greenhouse eventually) and some basil (to be grown indoors) started this coming week. I have a feeling that we are going to have a mild spring this year and the greenhouse is currently largely unoccupied so it is ready and available to start growing out the early season greens as soon as I can get them started and grown out large enough to move to the cold (but still protected) environment of the unheated greenhouse. Invariably I lose some of these earliest items but often I luck out and get a real jump on things by having a good pipeline going of seedlings. Time to fire up the grow lights, make sure I have enough soil mix in the garden shed, and start making some soil blocks. It’s definitely winter here at the moment, but there is the decided promise of the coming spring in the pending arrival of seeds and indoor seed starting activity.