This past weekend was a busy one around the 'stead. Dear wife's shoulder has been benefiting some from physical therapy and so she's been able to do a little more each day. That managed to free me up for the weekend to get into the yard for some serious clean up and even a little planting.
Last fall we invested in a proper greenhouse to do some greenhouse gardening. I had hoped to over-winter some tomatoes in there, but alas my dreams were slightly larger than my current abilities. (Admitting it is the first step in correcting it!) After winter had finally claimed the few plants that were in there for it's own, I essentially let the junk just pile up and the floor turn to weeds. Oh yeah, tomatoes won't over-winter, but I could have had fresh dandylion, arugula and cilantro salads nearly all winter.
The unfortunate side effect of this, that I hadn't anticipated, was that by letting weeds grow unfettered I gave a wonderfull little ecosystem to the aphids to over-winter in too! Yep, I blew that one! I think I've been proactive enough though to have caught the worst of it. I mixed up a batch of insecticidal soap and sprayed everything down with it this Saturday in order to kill off as many of them as I could. Then Sunday, I cut and killed all plant life down that was growing in between the stones and removed it straight to the trash can with any aphids that were on it in tow.
Here's the result.
Not too shabby huh? Even looks like I could get something growing in there if I tried. In fact, if you look closely in the back corner you'll see that I do. Right there on top of the water barrels that I added this weekend to help me stabilize the temperature in there.
Those are artichokes. Can you believe it? They were the only things worthwhile to over-winter in the green house successfully. I had two plants in pots last year that didn't do anything much through the summer – too hot and too small of pots I think – but I decided to put them in the G-house over the winter to see if they could hold their own. Boy did they! As soon as we were past January they started to slowly fill in and throw out new shoots on their sides. A couple of weeks ago I split the smaller of the two and got the four starts that are on the left. This past weekend I split the other, larger, plant into 8 more. Now, from the two small globe artichoke starts that I bought last year I have twelve new, even bigger ones to plant this year. I can't wait for grilled artichoke hearts!
I also got some chinese cabbage into the ground this weekend. I had really good success with these last year so I have high hopes for kimchi and stir fry this year too.
If your wondering what's up with the little display cover, it's my version of a "garden cloche" done on the cheap! If you've ever looked into the old Victorian style garden cloches you know that one this size can easily run twenty dollars or more. Well, I found this little figurine display cover at our local thrift store with about 18 of it's buddies for 1.50 a piece! That's my kind of pricing, so I'm trying out the old Victorian technique of cloche gardening. I'll keep you posted on the results
I can feel it already ... this is gonna be a great garden year! (Yeah, yeah, I know I always say that, but hey ... spring's the time for optimism!)