Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January Garden

The sleepy January garden
It has been a long time since my last post, but not because the garden is done for the year.  I've actually written dozens of posts in my mind since last November (I've even taken pictures to go in these imaginary posts!) but none of them have actually been written.  In the meantime, we've continued to harvest from the garden. 

Lettuce and carrots picked just after Christmas
I'd planned to have carrots, lettuce, broccoli, and cabbage grown to near full-size by fall's end so that I could harvest through the winter (a la Elliot Coleman) but I found the timing for this to be really tricky.  Many of my cabbage seedlings didn't survive the late-summer heat; so far we've harvested one head, with two others left in the garden that haven't really headed up yet.  My four summer plantings of carrots have paid off - I have lots of carrots still in the garden - but I've only just finished pulling the carrots I planted last May.  Four of my July-planted broccoli made it, and produced heads and sideshoots galore throughout the fall.  (I really like the Pacman hybrid variety!)  Despite some pretty major cabbage worm action, we picked enough to make four plants worthwhile.  The second round that I planted has been quite happy under my makeshift crinoline / row cover (see Salvage in the Garden) and is just starting to flower.  Only three plants from the third planting round managed to get established under the onslaught of cabbage worms in the late fall, and they will not flower before spring.  The lettuces have done marvelously, though they've suffered some frost damage and I've pulled most of what's going to be edible before spring.  Clearly this fall garden thing is more challenging than I thought.

Store-bought (left) and home-grown (right) seed garlic
I tried my first experiment with re-planting my own garlic this year, and I have to say I'm pretty glad I didn't bet the farm on it.  The half of my garlic space that I planted from store-bought bulbs looks about right for this time of year.  The other half has only a handful of shoots.  I'm not sure if the saved garlic was just past its prime, or if it was damaged when I cooked it to prevent spreading nematodes (see Slowing Down in the Fall Garden).  I was very careful to follow the directions I found online, monitoring my candy thermometer closely the entire time the garlic was soaking.  I noticed yesterday a few more leaves poking through than I've seen in past visits, but I'm wondering if maybe I should just re-plant the whole space with something else in the spring.

In November I made detailed plans and lists for a hypothetical second garden plot, but in the end I decided against getting one.  It would require me to ask one of my neighbors to go to the community center and register with the park service, then purchase the plot.  I'm sure I could compensate them with veggies, but it is unethical (no matter how many other people do it) and I have to accept that it would be really hard to take proper care of two plots without making my children miserable.  So, I suppose the new (small) bed at home (see My New Cover Crop) will have to do for this year.

Happy New Year, everyone!


  1. The fact that you are still getting anything out of the garden just amazes me. What a miracle worker you are!

  2. Oh, Ellie. There are so many miracles in my garden, but I didn't create any of them!