I do love the New Year. Even though we still have months of winter weather ahead of us, there’s hope. Winter solstice is behind us, and the days are ever-so-gradually growing longer. It’s time to make plans, although, I must admit, I am stepping into the season with a little trepidation. Last year the gardening season was bookended by surgeries that sidelined me for months on either end. My grand plans for low tunnels, no till garden creation, new fruit tree guilds and a bountiful harvest fell apart in short order. But, since gardeners are optimistic creatures, I now stroll through the gardens deciding what I need to do and what I should plant once spring finally arrives.
As you can see from the photos, the first thing I need to finish is taking down the sunflower forest. The cute little plants grew out of control, and unfortunately, they didn’t even provide much food very long into the season as the birds cleaned them out before the cold weather hit. I’ll try to take them down sometime during the winter, and if it’s calm, the boys and I will burn the stalks. Anything with fire is certainly on the list of fun projects to finish. Actually, I need to add the raspberry beds to the whack and burn clean up list. We grow the fall-bearing ‘Polana’ variety that is a terrific producer, as well as super easy to prune since I’m not worried about first or second year canes. Cutting everything to the ground is my way to garden so we’ll cut and burn the canes, too.
After we can walk around the gardens, I have the unpleasant task of cleaning up the dog doo. Luna has been making a beeline to the beds all winter. To remedy the situation, I have to clean it up and fence it off with a couple of strands of electric fencing. I don’t look forward to this project because I know it’s going to be a royal pain to work around the electric, and I’m not a fan of a surprise shock. I’ll have to do this unpleasant project (at least the clean up aspect) as soon as possible in order to give plenty of time between the presence of poo and planting. That’s definitely not the kind of manure I want to use in the garden.
As the weather improves, I’ll try to plant a fast growing cover crops in some of the new gardens (maybe buckwheat), and will turn under the section of garden I tried to build use a sod-buster cover crop mix last spring. The various plants in the mix grew well, but when it was time to cut the plants and possibly plant in the improved soil, I was healing from the first surgery. It went wild so I’ll see if I can turn it under, and do something with it this summer. It’s not my ideal in a no-till experiment, but it’ll do for this spring. I’ll try another section to see how it works.
From there I need to start penciling out where I need to plant things. Last year, the bulk of the planting was literally throwing seeds or plants in the ground wherever I could find space. It showed. This year will be better.