Sunday, January 15, 2012

Winter Gardening / Yard Chores

I haven't "blah-blah'd" about the garden in awhile. But then again, it *is* winter, so it's not like there's a whole helluva lot going on, right???


Back in September, I did start some Cool Season Veggie Seeds in the bathroom window. And, in November, Friend-P brought me some Broccoli and Cauliflower Seedlings. P's seedlings did make it to the Straw-Bale Beds (and they're still alive - although not "productive" yet). I think, back in December, I managed to plant *my* seedlings into my raised beds (and a couple-three ended up in the straw-bales), but my seedlings were still very tiny and tender - and it appears that *something* has munched-on the majority of them :::sigh:::

I do have lousy luck with starting sh*t from seed (yet somehow, I keep trying!!!).

LOL - I also sowed a bunch of "greens" seeds in the tops of my raised, upside-down, planters - out on the patio. Mesclun Mix, Lettuces, Spinach. But then, the "anticipated rains" never came so.... Well, nothing's happening there! (maybe later???)

I also direct-sowed a bunch of other seeds in my raised beds: Peas (nothing happened there!), and some beets, carrots, radishes, and maybe some turnips. I have seem some "action" from the radishes and carrots (although those might have been "leftovers" from my summer planting!). But everything else is pretty much, well, "Nada!" (for lack of a better term!)

Thankfully, I never have "high hopes" for the Winter Garden! And I never even bothered setting-up the greenhouse this winter (since all of my "marginals" have outgrown the size of the doorway! They all live under a bedsheet, clipped to wooden stakes, behind the Tiki Bar).

Nevertheless... Even though the Winter Garden isn't, necessarily, "Productive" - there are still chores to attend to...

Dormant Spraying: We have several fruit trees. Three peach trees (one early-bearing white peach, one late-bearer yellow/"normal," and one "I'm not sure what it is" b/c I had stuck a stick in the ground, after pruning the peach trees, and it kinda took root on it's own!); Two plum trees (Satsuma and Santa Rosa); One Dwarf Bing-Cherry Tree; One Dwarf Blenheim Apricot (that I think might be dead); One Apple tree (which is a grafted 6-variety tree); And one Dwarf Meyers Lime Tree.

Two of the peach trees *definitely* have Leaf Curl. I believe this is a fungal thing and cannot be cured. It *can* be "kinda" kept at bay with repeated dormant sprayings (but it will, eventually, kill the trees). The plums also get something "similar" to leaf-curl - but it is caused by aphids in early spring. Again, this can be curtailed with spraying. Everything else seems fine...

Nevertheless, Dormant Spraying is a Very Important Winter Task. I mix the goop (Lilly Miller Microcop + Sta-Stuck + Dormant/Horticultural Oil). According to "Mr Ed." at Wegmans Nursery - Spray Schedule (and Mr. Ed was my Horticulture Teacher in High School!), Fruit Trees should be sprayed three times, every winter - but BEFORE the buds begin to swell (which, technically, means late November, December and January. Usually, by the time February rolls around, the buds are beginning to swell and it's too late!).

Wellllll... We missed November (as we usually do). We also missed December (being sick for the last two weeks didn't help!). So that brings us to January! I did convince Hubs that we needed to spray TODAY - before the rains kick-in (starting mid-week, next week, from the sounds of it). So we did manage to get at least ONE spraying in. But I'm gonna push for another one at the end of this month, if we can manage it, before the buds start to awaken! (Our last frost date is, typically, sometime in mid- to late-February)

Plus, there's PRUNING to do! *Lots* of pruning! TONS of pruning!!!

Usually, by now, Tree-Pruning chores are complete (which makes sense, actually. Not much point in spraying tree-branches that are gonna get hacked-off, right?), and I can generally concentrate on other Yard Clean-up Chores while Hubs sprays. Things like: giving a serious haircut to the New Zealand Flax, planted outside the back-door (which is obliterating our view of the pool!), Digging/dividing the Birds of Paradise (which I will pawn-off on my neighbors!); cutting-back and digging up (and giving away or selling) the Cannas and their ever-multiplying rhizomes; and hacking-back the Morning Glories which are threatening to completely engulf the yard!!!

Well, today, while hubs sprayed the fruit-trees, I concentrated on hacking back the Morning Glory Vines. I *barely* put a dent in it, yet still managed to completely fill the Green Bin. :::sigh:::

And we've got rains (and SUPER-cold weather) predicted for all of this week, so I kinda doubt I'll be pruning the fruit trees anytime soon (Oooops!).

Hopefully, we'll get another Not-So-Cold spell in the weeks to come - then I can deal with 'em!

Yep. There's still TONS to do (with very little "Immediate Gratification") in the garden! But, in the meantime, the winter seed catalogs have arrived, so I can entertain myself with "Garden Porn" and I will, undoubtedly, end up ordering a boatload of seeds which I will *attempt* to start in the house - only to feed the snails, come early spring...!

Sometimes it sucks being an Optimist!!!

So anyway, that's the Latest 'n Greatest from My Garden (Such as it is!). More to come, I'm sure...!

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