Saturday, January 15, 2011

Winter Gardening

Isn't it funny how temperature is somewhat relative? Today our high was 51 degrees and oddly, it felt wonderful outside! Homestead Man and I headed out in hoodies and layered long sleeve shirts, but before we were done we had both shed all but the last shirt and shoved the sleeves up past our elbows. Now, in the summertime, I'd step out to a 51 degree evening and say, "Brrrr...I'd better run back inside and grab a sweatshirt!"

Anyway, back to the gardening bit. I originally was heading straight for the coop to let the hens out then to beeline right back into the warm house, but along the way I noticed that I could still feel my hands...in fact, the sun felt pretty amazing. I thought I'd hook the garden hose up and water the trees real quickly. Then I remembered that I'd meant to slowly but surely begin shoveling the straw from the hen house around my fruit trees to give them a boost for spring. After cleaning out half of the coop, I thought of the pile of rock we'd rescued from a demolition site in our hometown so I popped my head in the back door & "invited" Homestead Man to come out and help me move the boulders to the backyard to create a new flowerbed around the backside of the kiddos' sandbox. While we were shuffling rocks about, my youngest joined us outside and pulled up some of last summers' dried up sunflowers and added them to the burn pile and the hens were busy at work stirring compost and cleaning up the last of the tomatoes that had fallen. Whew! Before I knew it, one thing had led to another and we'd accomplished quite a bit of winter gardening!

Just goes to show what can happen when you take advantage of one nice January day, doesn't it?

I love to visit the backyard in the winter and imagine what it will look like this year. When we moved into this house, the "yard" was just clay...no grass...no trees, absolutely nothing. Each year the trees grow, the bushes thicken, and we add more garden beds. It's so much fun to see the plants mature and to hope that this will be the year of the bumper crop of blackberries, or that the blueberries will make it past June this time. Every year we learn and adjust as the yard turns into our own little Eden. Here's a pic of our veggie garden last May:



I can't wait to see what it will look like this summer! I know every little bit that we get done on these nice winter days will help make this growing season that much better! So, tell me...what kind of winter gardening have you been doing? I'd love to hear tips about how to make the best of our off-season!

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