Winding Down Winter
By Allan Douglas | Mar 12, 2014
Over the weekend I harvested more of our winter turnips and some green onions. These bunching onions don’t produce bulbs, just the greens, which I snip off for use in cooking as we need them. They survived the winter well. My turnips and spinach did well also. Most everything else did not survive the bitter cold snap (temps down to minus 1°)
Marie used the turnips and some of the onions this evening in a stir-fry dish that used cubed ham, diced turnips (pre boiled), some coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage, and carrots) and sliced apple all cooked together. Then the chopped green onion was sprinkled over the top at serving time. She served that with cheddar cheese biscuits. It was quite delicious!
We’ve enjoyed warm days (high 60s) for the past several days so I’ve gotten out into the yard and garden to get started preparing for planting the summer garden.
I use raised bed garden boxes because of the steep slope of our yard. Crop rotation requires some reconfiguring these boxes as I move crops around. Potatoes need deep soil, so I add a riser for added depth. Planting potatoes in a different box each year means removing a lot of the soil from last year’s box and moving the riser to the potato box for this year. I can’t use the soil I removed (that would defeat rotation) so I must move the soil from a non-nightshade box last year to the potato box and put the excess potato soil from last year into the now empty non-nightshade box. It’s sort of like a big slider puzzle. Fortunately I’ve always been really good at slider puzzles.
I’ve also been trimming trees and chipping the brush to make the mulch I need. I dropped a maple tree that stood next to our house, but died a couple of years ago. I’ve been nervous about the thing blowing over onto our house, but also nervous because where it stood meant dropping it into a narrow slot alongside the house to avoid tearing up several other trees in our yard or smashing my berry house. This weekend I finally gathered up the nerve to bite the chainsaw and get the job done. In the end, I had no limbs torn from good trees and no mangled shingles on our roof. It could not have gone any better.
We got a fair bit of pre-seasoned firewood out of the tree, the rest will go through the chipper.
The berry house also needed some work. Rabbits had chewed through the bird netting on the door and dined on my blueberry bushes. I know it was rabbits because they left behind a calling card: handfuls of “kix-like” balls that are only too well known as rabbit droppings. I fastened poultry mesh around the bottom of the whole berry house. As long as the little buggers don’t climb much, that should keep them out. The bird netting is still in good shape to defeat our feathered friends everywhere except the door flap, I’ll replace it there.
While Dolly was alive she kept the rabbit population around here in check. When she died, they started rebuilding their numbers. Now they are a major nuisance again. Studying on that now…
We’re into about three days of low temps in the teens, then hopefully it will be safe to start planting seed. I’m not even trying to start seedlings indoors this year because I don’t have a grow-light array and my seedlings always get so leggy that most of them don’t survive and the ones that do are sickly and don’t produce well. I get better results from planting directly in the soil: as long as the rabbits don’t get the seedlings.
I use low fence boxes to deter the rabbits, but can be lifted off to work the plants. These PVC frames can be covered with plastic to make a mini-greenhouse in the winter. These work well most winters, just not this one.
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