January was good for a weekend farmer, bring on February.
Actually it is nice to only have to sweat over my journal. This last weekend in January is cold. Not back east cold, but I’m not back east. It has been raining buckets. The ground is squishy and the chicken run, usually low maintenance with a thick layer of straw to turn into spring compost, stinks because of the mild weather and rain. I’m going to need to take care of that well before spring. Fava beans are here and waiting for the crocus to show, broccoli, cauliflower and peas are all ready to plant!
From the Winter Garden
Flowering Brussels Sprouts a.k.a Kalette
Did I mention that the local gang of thug deer have been eating my winter crops? They knocked down an artichoke and topped all of the leeks. Not a huge deal, but it still gets my goat!
Those spicy winter greens have been growing in the mild PNW. A good poppy-seed-balsamic dressing seems perfect for their winter heat.
We have kalette… now what? The seed was very expensive and it took forever to grow. Now I need to do something with it. Any ideas?
Garlic on purpose! I do not remember what happened in 2014. School I think. But if it had not been for forgotten, unharvested garlic, left in the ground, there would not have been any garlic for 2015. It got planted on purpose and I have neat rows of our favorite seasoning for 2016. Whoo-hoo!
In the Green House
It is starting to look like a sanctuary again. It also smells better. No matter what the weather, Ray’s potting bench is pleasant to work at. The weather has been so mild that the onions are already living in the greenhouse. Every day I make at least two trips out there to carry the chamomile, lobelia, and alyssum out and back in again at night. I grow most of my chamomile as winter sown plants, but I thought I’d try some on the heat mat… no difference, might as well save some energy and winter sow them.
The onions are ready for their first hair cut. They look cute with their little black seed caps but if they are cut (a little less then half… do not go below any visible brackets) then they put more energy into girth rather then height. Trust me, they will do more then survive if you trim them back. Thicker onions are easier to transplant then threads.
This pot of tarragon is about the perfect size to divide into more plants. I just need to collect and wash the pots they will go into. Like mint, tarragon spreads underground. It is not as aggressive as mint and it will not survive really cold temperatures. About April there will be a handful of stone pots filled with graceful boughs of licorice scented tarragon. What happens to it after that is up to me… or you if you happen to get one of them.
Every year I worry that the seed that I have saved is not going to do well. Seed companies always talk about superior viability. I don’t know what makes them superior. All I know is that the pods of seed heads that I leave in the greenhouse to finish drying before I thresh them always do well for us. This is the little greenhouse bed I planted earlier in January. The French Breakfast radishes and the red (beaujolais) spinach from seed that I saved shot right up. I’ll take it! By the way, that is not mildew or mold on the bed, it is slug bait.
The farm is still looking seriously bleak. We have our bright spots and tend to focus on them but April-May still seems like a long way away. After the “River of Rain” that invaded Everett, we have already had to empty the rain gauge. On this last weekend of January we have measured about 7.5-inches of rain and 0 of snow. Very unusual. The Almighty bless you!