This month, I begin to document my garden here--projects, plans, inspirations, garden activities, etc. I will be posting My Garden Notebook on the first of every month. I will look back on the previous month and look forward to the coming month, recording weather conditions, garden phases, project plans, and other important elements of my gardening month.
Gardening Zone: 7a
January High Temperature: 70 degrees F
January Low Temperature: 19 degreesF
Precipitation: 1.86 inches
We had a few dustings of snow that melted very quickly. Some ice storms covered the landscape in crystal magic over a period of a few days in late January.
The birds are eating voraciously. I must fill the feeders about twice a week. Squirrels have been raiding the feeders, but they do not seem to steal very much since the feeders are 'squirrel-proof.' They do, however, get a few tidbits.
I hear a great horned owl hooting at dawn and dusk, but I have not been able to catch sight of him or her or the pair. I would love to get a photo.
|photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Digital Library|
The owl hooting:
Great Horned Owl Hoot
I still was not able to see the owl or owls. I believe they are further inside the wooded area than their calls seem to project.
Your Gardening Friend features Friday's Photo Blog Hop on Fridays. See what other bloggers are photographing.
blooms, sprouts, yield, observations
Because of the mild winter we have had, some of my daffodils are budding and one has bloomed. This is very unusual. I do not usually see this until March.
All of the hydrangea shrubs are budding. I was very concerned about this when we had the ice storms, but they seem to have taken it well.
The maple trees are budding.
My African violets are blooming indoors.
I noticed a few molehills, proof of mole activity, around my juniper skyrockets. I stepped on and crushed as many as I could find to stop any voles from using the tunnels.
I found some vole activity near the birdfeeders. I sprinkled castor oil pellets around this area.
Something has been nibbling on my ice plant. I am guessing it was a rabbit, but I think the plant will survive.
I have broccoli, kale, lettuce, chard, mustard greens, green cabbage, and napa cabbage in the vegetable garden. The vegetables have flourished in this mild winter weather. On nights when it goes below freezing, I cover all the vegetable beds with tarps. If it goes below 21 degrees F, I cover the tarps with blankets. This has worked very well.
I had planned to continue this practice until the weather became consistently colder, then I would harvest all the vegetables. However, the colder weather has not arrived on a consistent basis, and if this weather continues, these vegetables may last until spring.
I harvest the lettuce as I need it for salads.
The broccoli has been doing very well with the warmer temperatures. In November the heads were very small, and I thought that would be as big as they would get as we neared winter. Because of the warmer winter temperatures, the heads have had a chance to expand and mature.
I use the napa cabbage in soups and harvest the heads as I need them. I harvested one this week, and I have four more in the garden.
I use chard, kale, and mustard greens in soups and salads and harvest the leaves as I need them.
I use parsley in soups, salads, meat and vegetable dishes, and in teas. Despite the ice storms, it is going strong. I have some in the herb garden, in the vegetable garden, and in pots on the deck for easy harvesting. A friend of mine gave me a gift of some herb snips, and they work perfectly to mince parsley.
I planted this creeping thyme last year to cascade over a wall, and it is doing very well. I watered it consistently throughout the growing season, but I had left it to winter over the last couple of months. I have found these to be very delicate and have lost some plants over the years, but these seem to be settling in very well. I believe this is woolly creeping thyme, Thymus pseudolanuginosus. The winter color is a very muted greenish gray.
completed garden chores
✔ clear away plant debris
✔ trim buddleia
✔ prune blue atlas cedar
Because we had such a mild fall and winter, I did not clear away much of the perennial plant debris as it remained green. Now, everything has faded to brown. I cleaned all the garden beds of debris and faded foliage.
Many years ago, I would leave all of this debris with the leaves until spring to add another layer of mulch around the plants, but when I moved here I began to have vole problems. And voles prefer plant debris and leaves as a shelter while they sneak around beneath it to find and nibble on plant roots. Since I have been removing the plant debris and leaves in fall, I have had fewer problems with voles. I use other methods of control as well, but that is another post.
garden chores for February
* plant spring vegetable seeds - indoors
* prune raspberry bush
These are some of my favorite seed catalogs.
Seeds of Change
John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds
The Cook's Garden
Prairie Moon Nursery Native Gardener's Companion
Territorial Seed Company
Pinetree Garden Seeds
My inspirations are winter color, texture, and scenes. I am hoping we do get a bit of snow before winter departs, but I am enjoying exploring whatever Mother Nature brings.
What is in your Garden Notebook for February?
I am linking up with:
The Patient Gardener for End of Month View
Town Mouse Country Mouse for First Views
Bumble Lush for Best and Worst of My Garden
The Gardening Blog for Garden Bloggers Harvest Day
Stop by their blogs to see what other gardeners are doing.
© copyright 2012 Michelle A. Potter