Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Not Quite Winter Gardening

I wouldn’t say I’m all moved in to my house, but I’ve got the boxes mostly in control, and that means that I’m stupidly looking for other projects instead of unpacking the remainder of the boxes and organizing the contents into a more workable system.
No. Instead in the last two days I’ve agreed to work on a bake sale at my son’s school, planted a bunch of strawberry plants, cleaned my carport, helped my loverloverman get his ManTower room more set up with furniture in the right places, refrigerator stocked with adult beverages, stereo hooked up and record player in use. (We listened to Herbie Mann while Ali organized his records according to genre and artist.) We applied for our travel visas, and I hosted a brunch yesterday. Also, I did laundry and errands and yoga and completed some interview questions for an author series I’m being promoted on.(I know I ended that with a preposition, but I’m okay with that.)
I just finished reading a book called Tales from the Home Farm by Michael Kelly that inspired me to, once again, eat a more local diet and grow my own food. I mean, I never stopped aspiring to do that, but I sanely opted to not plant a garden this year because we were moving households. Despite my decision, I took a whole course of urban homesteading courses, read Tales from the Home Farm, started reading Animal, Mineral, Vegetable by Barbara Kingsolver, and attended a winter gardening class. I’m itching to put something in the ground. I have so many plans for my front yard food garden that I’m likely going to explode before I can plant the seeds next Spring.
I don’t have any beds made yet, so planting in the ground wasn’t an option. But thankfully planning is. For those of you fortunate enough to already have a start on your garden, you have so much opportunity for “backyard” food throughout the winter.
First, you can store the food you harvest this coming month. Find a big bin and fill it with pine shavings (one book said to use sand) purchased at a pet/farm store. You can store potatoes, beets, carrots, and apples in this. Putting the apples in with the potatoes will actually help the potatoes to not sprout. Even just a couple of apples in the potato bins will do the job.
You can even still plant this late in the year. Garlic planted now can be harvested in June. Leeks and onions grow well in the Fall and can be harvested all winter. Brassicas, like kale and broccoli, over-winter well and can be harvested in the spring. Lettuce, too. Even potatoes grown now will be ready in spring. If I had a bed ready, I’d plant: garlic, leeks, radishes, kale, broccoli, and onions. Also potatoes.
In fact, the “itching” is so bad, I think I shove a couple of garlic cloves into a ceramic pot and see what happens. Ali and I went to FOUR stores in Eugene to find an inexpensive EarthMachine-type composter for the garden and didn’t find any this late in the season. We’ll need to purchase online. So much for staying in the local community.
I can also plant some fruit bushes (there are a mass of blueberry bushes for sale at Down to Earth right now!) though my idea of where to put them (along the Eastern border of our lot) might not be the best spot for them if they will shade the rest of the growing garden come Spring time.
I really need to just reign it in and concentrate on making the garden plan (including layout and bed placement) for the coming growing season, and not worry about anything else but tidying up the garden space and weeding the flower beds. How boring.
So much for winter gardening this year. Here’s looking forward to graphing out the front yard for food production with colored pencils and sticky notes! I’m going to start a garden binder, too. Hooray for office supply stores!
What are your winter garden plans?    

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