Sunday, February 7, 2016

Snowdrops in full bloom

The "lawn" of the old homestead nearby is carpeted with snowdrops (Galanthus) in full flower. I wasn't able to take a new photo- a young woman was sitting on the front porch and didn't look like she'd welcome gardening chats, although I'm probably wrong.

http://naturalgardening.blogspot.com/2014/02/spring-is-definitely-on-way.html

The link above is a post from two years ago, with photos.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Four-season vegetable gardening

I've been a huge fan of Elliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch's approach in their Four-Season Farm and in their books, too -- especially Coleman's Four-Season Harvest and the Winter Harvest Handbook.  Damrosch's Garden Primer has been a favorite, for years, as well.

It struck me as a "no-brainer"-- uh, they live in Maine and are growing and harvesting vegetables in their unheated hoop-houses through the winter, so why not in the Carolinas?

At the time I discovered Coleman's Winter Harvest book, I was living in the Piedmont of South Carolina, and we had an empty hoop-house at the botanical garden where I worked then.  I'd already successfully overwintered lots of winter crops at home in my own vegetable gardens, with small protective hoops, etc.  Hmm, a blog search on my post on "winter vegetables" came up with a lot.

But a search on hoop-houses came up with this interesting post,  from 6 years ago.  I was looking forward to fresh vegetables.

But the real focus of my thoughts this evening is how delighted I was to come across a new local farm that is growing four-seasons, under hoops, using Coleman's approach.

a primitive version of covering winter veggies
Second Spring Farm had the most beautiful turnips, beets, and greens in the Asheville City Market today.  I saw them, and thought, hey, they're growing these in unheated hoops, and sure enough, that was the case.

I just wish I needed to buy more veggies! 

We have enough, normally from what I grow myself in our raised beds, and freeze, not to need to sign up for a CSA.  We'd be inundated with vegetables.

But, these folks are doing it right.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ready to plant

I'm waiting.  I'm trying to be patient. These mild February days are trying.

beds ready to plant.....
Surely spinach, sugar snap peas, kale, or lettuce seeds (my itching to garden voice says?)  Uh, global climate change is good for something, she whispers....

But.  Even in the Piedmont, peas sown before late February were problematic.  And of course in mild winter years, here in the mountains and in the Piedmont, lots of greens overwintered and would be flourishing now.

But.  Here was a post from a few years back:  wise, I thought, in retrospect.

This winter, as has happened in the last two before, there have been hard freezes that took out all of the greens, aside from leeks and garlic.  I have a nice rosemary plant which I think has survived so far (the last two winters sapped them, after decades of being OK).

I'm still ready to plant.  I've ordered some wire cloches that may serve as small protective coverings with some row cover or plastic, so we'll see.  I was eyeing some space next to the studio this morning as potential cold frame space.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Another mild winter day

The second of February isn't usually warm, although as "Groundhog Day" here in the U.S., we mark the day around whether it's cloudy or not.  It was cloudy here, but, of course, this doesn't really have relevance to whether it will be cold or not for the coming month.

My vegetable beds are prepared, with fresh compost, mycorrhizae for vegetables, etc.

Only leeks, garlic, and cress have overwintered, along with chives, of course, now starting to emerge.

I'm itching to plant, but it's still too early, even for sugar snap peas, snow peas, and spinach.  I'm sitting on my hands until later in the month....

Sunday, January 31, 2016

I'm waiting for hummingbirds

In these mild winter days, on the last day of January, I'm thinking about spring.

I gathered up some organic compost to enrich my vegetable beds, cleaned the beds up (of dead greens and parsley), admired the leeks of various sorts (some looking wan, others - the perennial ones- looking more robust), clipped back some perennial stems, and thought:  I'm waiting for spring.

It's still way too early, I know, but there are daffodils in flower around the corner.  And tulip foliage is emerging, too, in spots I've tucked former Valentine's Day bulbs in, to overwinter.

I'm remembering hummingbird visits some years ago (we saw lots in Guatemala recently, primarily visiting feeders, but also in gardens).

Here was a great sequence of photos on a venerable Campsis at the Biltmore Estate, some years ago.

A hummingbird coming in to visit a Campsis flower: click for a larger view.
Day 7 #challengeatnaturephotography

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Back home on a mild winter day



Beaver Lake in late January

Missing the big snowstorm in the eastern U.S. while traveling, we were glad to catch a bit of the snow and remaining ice, too, on one of our favorite spots in Asheville, Beaver Lake.  Day 6 at #challengeonnaturephotography.




Ice on Beaver Lake 
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