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Posts Tagged ‘winter’

I wrote this in November and forgot to post it. But instead of re-writing it, I’ve decided to put it on the blog anyway. We haven’t been keeping up with the in-bed composting as often as we planned, mostly because we haven’t been collecting kitchen scraps and our stash of leaves is soaked from the snow. 

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A couple weeks ago we did some major fall clean up in the garden. It’s always sad to rip everything out, but what wasn’t diseased was cut up and tossed into the compost bin.

We were able to save some of the herbs and preserve them for the winter (more on that later). As I mentioned in other posts, we have lots of beautiful trees on our street. In past years, we’ve shredded them and added the leaves to our garden beds to decompose over the winter. But I recently learned many of the pests that plague our garden – most notably the cucumber beetle – overwinter in leaf debris, so we’re switching it up.

I know it will be impossible to keep all the leaves out of the garden, but I don’t want big piles on each bed, so we’re trying in-bed composting. The basic concept is digging a big hole and adding your green material (plant debris, vegetable scraps, etc.) and brown material (dried leaves, shredded paper, etc.) and burying it. The idea is it will breakdown over the winter and add nutrients directly to the beds.

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It’s hard to think about gardening when temperatures are near zero with negative wind chills. We’re in Ohio and just got past the cold spell brought on by the “polar vortex.” But, that being said, we’re still thinking about the garden. There are two things I’m hoping happen with this deep freeze.

1. It kills any eggs/larva of the insects that destroyed many of our plants: squash vine borer, leaf hoppers, squash bugs and cucumber beetles. Especially the last one because those were awful this year.

2. Our garlic survives. We bought some on a whim and planted them a little later than we should have. I really hope they had time to set some roots before it got too cold.

We have another goal this year: to post more often. I have quite a few recipes, stories, plans for next year and other things to share from the past season.

Finally, I’ve noticed a lot of views coming from Australia and New Zealand recently, which makes sense because of the opposite seasons. So I’d like to say welcome! I hope you enjoy what you find here, and it helps your garden in some way!

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Signs of spring?

It’s been really warm here for the past several days–we’re talking 60 degrees or more in January. Ohio weather is notoriously bipolar, so I’m not surprised it was warm on Jan. 11 and is supposed to be in the mid-30s on Jan. 14.

The weather inspired me to check out our garden, which I haven’t really paid any attention to since the final leaves were raked away this fall. I was happy to see that the shredded leaves were decomposing nicely–the big, two-foot tall pile is now a smattering about three inches thick. That should provide a good nutrient boost in the spring.

That's parsley poking through the leaves. The greenery in the second bed is peas I've left to compost directly in the bed.

That’s parsley poking through the leaves. The greenery in the second bed is peas I’ve left to compost directly in the bed.

I also noticed our parsley, which was chewed down to the stems by butterfly caterpillars, is poking through the leaf debris. I knew chives, thyme and oregano were perennials but didn’t think parsley was. After a bit of research, I found out parsley is not really a perennial, it’s a biennial. That means the leaves are only good the first year, and it sets seeds in its second year.

We’ll plan on planting some more next spring, but I might let the seeds lay where they fall and see what pops up the following years.

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