Sunday, January 25, 2015

The End of the Persephone Days

It seems many bloggers are talking more about the Persephone Days; a term coined by writer and veg farmer Eliot Coleman (after the myth of Persephone's kidnapping and confinement to the underworld for part of the year). The chatter is because many of us are passing beyond the magical line (due to the angle of the Earth) of 10 hours of sunlight. For my garden location, we drop below 10hrs of daylight on November 19th and back over 10hrs on January 23rd. In the time in between those two dates, outdoor plants are dormant and after is when we will begin to see growth and consider it a time when we can plant again. Yay!

You can find your own daylength table here.

All of this information makes winter more tolerable and seemingly shorter. Considering the longer days is a shining light. Hope and promise. With this information I sow.

Over December break I started sowing seeds in the basement nursery. Today I planted seeds in pots in the dome.
 Because I have a problem with slugs in the dome I decided to
suspend a tray by hemp to evade them. Slugs particularly love
tender seedlings. The tray on the left was one I planted last fall with varying
winter-hardy seedlings, like California poppies, Snapdragons, Larkspur and Nigella. 
In the right tray I planted Snapdragons (3 kinds), and Fragrant Cloud & Woodland Tobacco
Knowing that these seed varieties are often early germinators I thought it was safe to start them in the dome.
The benefits of starting in the dome are no energy need and no hardening off. 

 In the basement nursery- Lovage, Valerian, Parsley & Fennel
(left to right)

Hollyhocks and Blanketflower germinating.

Today I set a flat of spring greens outside for an hour. It's misty, gray and warm enough. I thought they may enjoy it. 

Dome activity
 The state of Chard- regrowth
 Overwintered Hellbores & Russian Sage (was looking promising until recently)

 I think this is a Mizuna. It was in a mixed pack of veggies.
I LOVE it. I nibble on it in the dome. I hope to collect seed from
it as it's a new fav. It is both peppery and earthy.
 Happy Pansy
 Self-sown corn salad (mache)
I finally realized why I don't love this veg.
The name implies the flavor- corn, and I don't love corn that much.
This is also one of the few plants not eaten by slugs. I think that says something.

 The state of collards.
 Resprouting Kale

 Celery made it!
I say that like winter is over. 
I'm not a fan.
Attempted Burn
 Needed to get this done as the bulbs are showing
themselves. 1/24/15
Star of Bethlehem

And inside:
One of my favorite fragrances- Fragrant Olive

Good Eats
With the nice Sweet Potato harvest I think we've had sweets at least a dozen different ways this
winter. This recipe was from a recent gifted cookbook. The sweets are cooked in a spice mixture I wouldn't have thought of. Served over spiced polenta (or grits). Yum. 

Happy Gardening makes for Happy Eating!