Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The December DC Dump

Let it snow ...

Let it snow

Let it snow !!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Christmas Cactus

Every Christmas I marvel at this cactus. It came to me a as a gift from a friend and colleague at least a decade ago. I have re potted it twice. When it starts to bloom I give it cactus food. But the rest of the year ... well, neglect would be a kind word to describe how I treat it. In May I put it on a shaded back deck to face the trials of a Washington summer with nothing but the rain God chooses to bestow upon it. In November, when I return, I rescue it just before the frosts and without the least bit of prompting from me, it starts its Christmas show.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Years ago Kurt Vonnegut wrote an observation of the seasons that divided the year into six rather than four seasons. Winter was a season of two months -- January and February. It was flanked on either side by the two new seasons. November and December became the season called "Locking" and March and April became the season called "UNlocking." The idea is that nature needs a time of shutting down before the onslaught of winter and a time of opening up slowly before the fruition of summer. It actually makes good sense when you think of it. It places Fall squarely in September and October where it belongs and Summer in July and August.

So true to Vonnegut's new scheme I have been going around "locking" things up in the garden. I have made a new iteration of deer fencing for my young apple trees. I also set up the wall-o-water around my rosemary to help it over winter. I do that by trimming it back and placing a plaster bucket over it and slipping the wall-o-water over the bucket while I fill its sleeves.This form of overwintering has worked for rosemary, so I tried it last year on my artichokes and it failed. But last winter was particularly harsh, so I am trying it again though admittedly with a less hardy variety of artichoke. These are Green Globe. And I adjusted my game a little. I let them grow into the light frosts of November December. Then I cut them back to 12 inches of leavesand then I mounded them with grass clippingsand finally added the wall-o-waters.I harvested the last of the rutabaga, carrots, greens and Brussels sprouts. I will leave the parsnips in the ground for spring dug parsnip chowder when I return.And last, but not least, I removed the dead asparagus ferns to the brush pile.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Late November Gifts

I have returned to the garden for a few days to shut things down for the winter. Much of my energy has been spent reorganizing the shed. But these next few days I will settle into garden care. High on the list is the prep of the artichokes. Maybe THIS will be the year when the combination of a milder winter and the right covering will lead to successful overwintering. Meanwhile the garden continues to give. Here are some potatoes, carrots and Swiss chard.