One of the Joys of Maturity
The Old Guy's Garden Record
With a few odd plants still growing in our 2009 garden, attention also must turn to getting ready for next year's garden. As I write this morning, the smell of fresh potting soil wafts up to my second floor writer's garret from the kitchen downstairs. I'd used up all of my sterilized soil yesterday while transplanting small gloxinias from fourpacks to four and six inch pots.
I'll be starting seed geraniums this week using Thompson & Morgan's World's Top Six Mix geranium seed assortment. Their 2010 seed catalog came in first this year, and their customer service department did a splendid job of responding to a question I had about the availability of that hard-to-find Double Brocade Gloxinia variety. So they got my first garden seed order of the year.
I'll also be starting over again on our Growing Geraniums from Seed feature, which turned out to be a bit of a disaster last year. I'll be starting half of the seed on paper towels, but this year have a heat mat thermostat to prevent cooking the seed as happened last year. The other half of the seed will be started in sterilized potting soil.
I had thought about taking out our row of kale today, but even though the row looks a bit ratty from a distance, the kale is still quite good. I ended up picking and boiling a pot of it instead. The flavor was excellent.
I finally got some daffodils planted along the east side of our house. The bed there has lain essentially fallow for several years after the daffodils that were there when we bought the house died out. The soil there has lots of white gravel in it, the previous owners idea of mulch! I didn't try to remove the remaining gravel, but just used my bulb planter to put in the daffodil bulbs, giving each hole a generous handful of bonemeal. If the plants take, I'll be happy. If they don't, I won't have too much invested. I will later be adding rubber edging and some hardwood bark mulch to the bed to make it a bit more attractive.
I took time today to check our onions and potatoes in storage. The potatoes were all fine, but it was a good thing I checked. Several onions were soft and close to the point where they would cause the onion next to them in the storage bag to spoil.
By the time I finished this posting, the potting soil was cooling in the basement. The potting soil odor was replaced by the smell of kale, garlic, onion, and ham and bacon drippings cooking downstairs.
I'm eating a bowl of boiled kale as I write to warm up from my outdoor work today. I had put in our daffodil bulbs along the side of the house earlier this week in near 60o temperatures. Today's job was to add edging along the sidewalk to raise the level of the bed so I could add a couple of inches of hardwood mulch. Only today, the temperature is just 38o. I actually worked up a good sweat getting the edging in, so don't feel too sorry for me! I did get cold when I left the lee side of the house and walked into the 17-28 MPH wind on the west side of the house where the mulch pile is.
I thought it might be interesting today to do a pictorial review of the main Senior Garden for 2009. Clicking on one of the monthly photos below will open a new window with a larger image. Clicking on the name of the month will take you to that month's blog archive.
We were able to get an early start on our garden this year, as the weather cleared enough in March to plant peas, complete enclosing the main Senior Garden in landscape timbers, and to put our small asparagus patch into a raised bed.
Our early crops went in, and out, in the spring months. In the photos above, we had broccoli and cauliflower that went in during April and came out in June to make way for other crops.
Crops came and went through the middle months of the gardening season.
Up until today's hard freeze, we still had lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, and kale producing in the garden. Compared with conditions on December 1 last year, we've really had a late fall this year.
I won't run a whole series of shots from our large East Garden. First tilled at the end of March, it produced bountiful quantities of melons, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, and sweet corn. Anything we get from that garden patch is always a bonus for us, as the land isn't ours. It is a small field the current farm renter lets lie fallow. He allows us to grow some crops that require far more space than we have in our current main garden patch.
No, I didn't die, but have been really busy with lots of non-gardening things this month. While Senior Gardening had become the center of my publishing efforts most of the year, I've been working really hard on the content of my other, older site, Educators' News for the last two months. On EdNews, I try to present "a balanced look at the daily educational news...from a Mac-toting, bleeding-heart liberal, Christian educator's point of view." If you follow what is going on with the national interest in school "reform," you know there are a lot of "experts" telling us what needs to be done to improve our nation's schools. It seemed important to me to present a little balance online from folks who have actually have taught a few years.
So...I still have frozen brassicas in the garden to be pulled and composted, and I haven't gotten my geraniums started yet for next year. My garden catalogs are in a stack pretty much untouched in the sunroom. But as the snow falls here in west central Indiana, the gardening bug is once again stirring within me.
Luke 2:10-11 (ASV)
The image above is a "scene from a life size nativity at the Luxembourg Christmas market." It was taken in 2006 by graphic artist Debbie Schiel who lives in Far North Queensland, Australia, and shared on the royalty-free stock.xchng site. The scripture was copied from my installation of the free, Macintosh Online Bible. There's also free version for Windows users.
Best wishes from Annie and I to you and yours for a joyous and fulfilling holiday season.
at Senior Gardening