Monday, January 4, 2016

Mom! She's doing it again!

Gardening. In Winter. Again. Because I may have an addiction. Plus there's Climate Change and El Nino.

Unseasonably warm early winter (tied for warmest year on record, warmest November/December and wettest- 2015 for the region (61 inches) ~40inches is the norm) kept me at it. 3-4 days of continuous rain caused a lot of flood damage, levee breaches in the MO-Il area. Luckily, we are on higher ground.

Planting in December & January?
Nature taught me to plant potatoes in fall/winter. Nature corrected what I thought I knew- what I had been taught about planting taters. I've since read others who are doing it. My dad still says I'm doing it wrong, but he should know I don't listen well. So, these 15 sprouting in the pantry were the first to go out in a 10'x3' bed topped with 6 inches of leaves.
 Garden Row 1 (above)

In row 3 were potatoes unharvested. I wanted to move them
because I had taters in this bed 2 years, so I dug and this is what I found:
 Potatoes DO grow in winter (here). 
You could even leave them for occasional harvest so long
as the ground doesn't freeze and become impossible to dig.
 It never fails that I unearth a toad whilst
winter gardening and I feel awful about it.
It was a gorgeous sunny day in the 40s. This one
slowly opened eyes, a worm slithered around without
occasion and I plunked a tater in the hole and covered him or her 
back up. Hope she/he is fine. 
 You can easily tell the purple taters by the sprouts.

Dug taters (41) were planted in Row 2 and strawed. I still have
some left. I'm thinking I'm going to plant more in row 1. I cleaned more 
of that bed this morning. 

I can't remember if I mentioned this, but I made this terrible discovery that plants could be purchased through Amazon. What?! Yeah, and I found 3 I had to have for cheap. This is information I shouldn't have. So, I bought a native honeysuckle shrub, Diervilla Kodiak Orange, a Caryopteris- Beyond Midnight and Sunny Anniversary Abelia. I planted the Diervilla and Abelia out and the Caryopteris is in the garage window for protection until spring. I'm impressed with the seller.  

I took cuttings of a butterfly bush. I'm hoping to plant
these in the orchard without the chickens killing them.
 The garage window with sheltered plants- catnip, butterfly bush cuttings, 
caryopteris, a blueberry, verbena bonariensis. All is well here. (below)

 The pineapple is finally rooting!

The coleus cuttings are nuts. 
I'll probably need to trim the leaves back soon.

The geranium cuttings are flowering!
 Geranium cutting roots (below). 
 The fig cuttings, taken in November have rooted in the bags
on top of the fridge and were transplanted into this pot (below). 
That was too easy. Now the dilemma to plant in pots or in ground. 

This winter parsnip was shredded with carrots and
put in a wrap. Yum. It was spicy!

Still killing grass...
Kiddo and I turned over the soil along this side (42 ft long) of the property &
garden to plant in native grass/wildflower seeds. Pollinator Palooza is
the mix, from Prairie Moon Nursery. I decided to do this
after reading 5-10% of the garden should be in flowers- to attract both
beneficial and non-bene insects. Non-benes, because the good ones
need something to eat, right? 

The asparagus and blueberries beds were cleaned
and mulched.

*Not pictured- the pepper seeds I started in baggies germinated in 5 days! I transplanted them into soil yesterday. 

Veg pancakes, fav roasted beans and the obvious.

So glad I bought this fresh and prepped if for the
freezer/winter from the local farm last spring! 
Gorgeous broc.
 With mushrooms and tofu.

 Walnut, lemon, parm, parsley...
 tossed with Angel Hair

These are going into muffins today!

Trouble coming?
I bought this at my school's plant sale and was told it was a tropical passion vine. It isn't. Ha. It grew super fast and tall, covering the garage, didn't bloom and then failed to die. This is what it looks like today. So, naturally I am worried. I'm wondering if it isn't P. caerulea, from S America. It can be aggressive in the south. I've posted to an Illinois Botany group to see if anyone has experience with it. It may have to die. 

A closing shot

The Kitchen Window in Winter

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