Happy New Year! Somehow it is 2017 already, and the Christmas holidays are already behind us. We’re starting out the new school semester with snow days and single digit temperatures, though warmer weather is in the forecast. We’ve had a lot of rain here since I wrote the last blog and the local reservoir has filled up quite a bit. The town has reduced the water restrictions and the local car washes have reopened. This is a good thing since everyone will need to wash the road salt off their cars as soon as it warms up a little. I hope we don’t have another dry spell anytime soon, but I’m seriously thinking about having a couple rain barrels starting next spring. Rain water is better than chlorinated and fluoridated water for watering plants anyhow.
At the moment, the greens in the garden are covered with remay cloth and I’m hoping the snow cover is providing at least a little soil insulation for all the dormant plants out there. I was able to harvest and cook mustard greens from my garden for New Year’s Day to go with the black eye peas. I didn’t grow any of the traditional collard greens in my garden this fall. In a couple of days, I will know if the greens survived these close to zero degree temperatures. It’s been amazing watching the pansy flowers survive these cold days. They will be frozen solid in the morning and totally recover as the temperatures rise above freezing. (As an aside, pansies are an edible flower, but make sure pesticides have not been used on them and only eat a few at a time).
Now is the time I need to start making my garden plans for this spring. If I want to grow my own transplants such as broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes and peppers. I will need to plant most seeds in cell packs between the middle of February and the first days of March. January is time to make sure you have the seeds you need to start in February. I’m enjoying looking through seed catalogs, reading gardening articles online, and following gardeners on Instagram. I always like trying a few novelty crops each year, plus I stick to some tried and true varieties too. I hope everyone is staying warm and finding time to plan their spring and summer gardens during these wintry days.