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Late December in the garden

Our Christmas was the first spent at home in Oregon, instead of visiting Grandma and Grandpa B.  We had a peaceful and happy holiday.

Since, in the past, the children and I have been in Florida for 4 to 6 weeks in the winter, we have missed out on enjoying the garden in this season.  But not this year!  Every morning, we have bundled up and spent two or three hours outside.

Our temperatures have been mild (high 30’s to mid 40’s) and we have taken full advantage.   The poultry love it that we are out improving the garden, too.  Every shovel of earth turned over yields a bounty of worms for hungry beaks.  When we are outside, the birds are ever underfoot!

Back in October, I planted several rows of our heirloom garlic in the front yard.  In order to improve our bulbing garlic over the years, we save the biggest and best cloves from our late-June harvest for planting.  This year, we also set aside many small inner cloves to be planted in clumps for a spring harvest of green garlic.

With November temperatures still well above freezing, I was able to do a late planting of shallots (on the left), as well.  However, the addition of many perennial veggies and fruit trees has reduced space for annuals in the front yard, so there were bulbs leftover.

This week, the ground remains unfrozen, despite morning frosts.  I was determined to get the rest of the garlic and shallots planted in the backyard.  After 2 hours of reshaping a bed that formerly grew beans, turning in composted manure, adding a dormant rhubarb to the end of the bed, and mulching the paths around the bed, we were reading for planting.

Once the garlic is planted, of course it has to be mulched to keep through the winter.  Well, chickens LOVE fresh straw mulch – whether they are actively looking for seeds and snacks, or just reveling in scratching, whooshing, crunching.  A fence is requisite.  Bolt, our Speckled Sussex, only needs a few moments to find a weak spot in a fence.  (She was removed and the fence mended before she damaged the newly planted garlic.)

It was good to have rest time over the holidays, but I am glad to be back to posting.  And with the approaching New Year, I am looking forward to green things growing again.

Time to go thumb through seed catalogs and finalize my orders for the 2013 garden year!

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