Friday, November 27, 2020

Black Friday Shopping

 While most people would be saying "I'm done with my Christmas Shopping!", I am pleased to announce that I am done with my seed shopping.  Right down to the seed potatoes and sweet potato slips.

As I was wading through my junk emails this morning, with all of their Black Friday promotions, I noticed that the Maine Potato Lady is ready for 2021.  Those were the last on my list and I went right over and made out my order for next year.  I also have Johnny's Seeds and Gurney's in transit from earlier this week.

 I'm sure I will order a few last minute pot stuffers, like these Lavender Cauliflower that are not yet in stock at Johnny's.  Other than last minute impulse buys, all of my purchases for next season are done.  

NoGA Pants

I also bought a couple of clothing items I'd been eyeballing at Duluth Trading - thanks to a convenient Facebook link yesterday when I was letting my Thanksgiving dinner settle.  30% off over there.  I don't buy a lot of Duluth items because they are pricey, but as they agree with my idea of doing outdoor work in stretchy athletic clothing, I may be shopping with them more from now on.  We'll see how these tights hold up.  

Now - I must decide - do I or do I not want to put up the Christmas tree this weekend?

Friday, November 13, 2020

Propagating Herbs - Experiment winter 2020


This year I am going to try establishing new herb plant from cuttings.  I kept my tri-colored sage and rosemary plants in clay pots buried in the herb bed.  These two plants are the most difficult herbs for me to grow.  I can grow basil or parsley easily, and have vigorous swaths of thyme under the fruit trees.  Finding and buying new tri-colored sage each year is a hassle so it was a natural choice. Often the available plants are small and scraggley anyway.  I only use the tr-colored sage as an ornamental.  When frost was imminent I just pulled the pots out of the ground.  I kept them outdoors against the garden shed for several weeks and finally brought them in when snow was expected.  

Some years in the past my sage has survived the winter outdoors.  
Here the tri-colored sage is in the center of the rock cluster and thriving.

My office front wall is all south facing windows and I've often over wintered plants there. In fact, starting November 12th of each year and lasting to January 29th, the sun is low enough in the horizon that it hits me right in the eyes from mid-morning to mid-afternoon.  Thirty-nine days before the Solstice to thirty-nine days after.  My own little Stonehenge reckoning.  The rest of the year, the arc of the sun as viewed from my chair stays above the window lintel.  

I am using perlite in bottom watering cells that can be kept full of water and have plastic dome covers.  They say cuttings started in perlite grow a more sturdy root system than those started in water alone.  I remember my father starting thousands of geranium cuttings in trays of perlite.

I took some cuttings yesterday dipped them in rooting hormone and arranged them in the cells.  I did not snip all of the available growing ends from my parent plants in case my first attempt fails and I have to try again in spring. I may be starting too early and not hitting the plants during a growth phase, but this at least fulfills my urge to grow something.  The warm sunny window ought to see them through the winter.  If not, they can move to grow lights.  And with any luck, I can pot them up after a month or so and will have half a dozen substantial plants to set out next year.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Bonus Days

The leaves are down and autumn is over (or should be) and winter is knocking at the door.  

But not yet...

The garden is a blank slate, ready for winter or actually, ready for spring.  Because it seems like I should go out and start planting something now, since we've had a week of gorgeous 70 degree weather.

All that is left in the garden is a decent stand of lettuce and a few herbs to get us through to the bitter cold.

Since the weather has been so awesome, it has triggered a sort of spring cleaning spree.  Or maybe a "just before winter" cleaning spree?  It was a weekend to wash cars and the lawn mower.  Pull all of the area rugs (6 rugs!) out and shampoo them.  Open the windows, air out the house, and mop the floors.  Projects like sanding the scratch out of the butcher block top on the kitchen cart got done out in the driveway.  Everything came off our wooden kitchen counter tops and I washed the cabinets and counter tops down with Murphy's Oil soap, oiled them and buffed them to a nice gloss. I realized that in a few weeks I will want to start decorating for Christmas, which always causes me to deep clean the corners.

One garden project that got started is replacing the lid on the water tank with something lighter.  The current shake shingled lid weighs nearly a hundred pounds and no one ever looks forward to removing it for maintenance.  I dug out 10 year old decomposed mulch from around the frame and used it to fill in low spots in the raised beds.

We recently had a whole house generator installed next to the basement bulkhead.  Power outages are more frequent and longer lasting here in town so now we are ready for winter come what may.  I love the clean look of our reconstructed deck and walkway and the generator blends in just fine.  And I've already had the opportunity to practice shoveling the snow!  Much easier with this set up than before.

I don't mind some winter rest, and now we are all spiffed up and ready for more cold, wet weather.