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Monday, January 18, 2010

Out in the Garden in January!




I spent some time out in the garden yesterday and again a bit today. I've actually done some cleaning up but I have to admit it still looks kinda ugly. I raked up oak leaves from some paths because the ground under them was still very wet and sinking and slippery. I left some on some of the beds because I think they are useful to protect the herbs and ferns and shrubs from so many temperature changes. I'll get those cleaned out later in the spring. Its still winter here of course, but its much more palatable now, currently 48 and climbing. Yesterday we hit 63!

Hubby, out of the blue, brought up chickens last night. Did he read my blog? I know he does sometimes, but I don't think he did yesterday. Anyhow he wanted to know details about butchering and cleaning them and feeding them. Seems he thinks some free-range chickens would be a good idea to cut down on things like ticks and other bugs, and to stock the freezer. I'd like to can some and freeze some--I don't like to give up all the space in my smallish freezer to one thing. However--I'm excited. He's actually interested in this. Since I'm not working--why not?

We sat down and I read to him from Jackie Clay's "Growing and Canning Your Own Food", she has a chapter on chicken. It simplifies things but doesn't answer all our questions so I will have to do a little more research.

I'm also researching a little on heirloom tomatoes. I used several last year, we had a bad tomato year anyhow--but I think more due to the terrible soil and our too busy to tend the garden end of summer--when we were getting ready to move in here. I like the idea of saving seeds, you can't do that with hybrid plants, well you can--but who knows what you'll get? My old neighbor used to plant the seeds from her groceries--sometimes she got a reasonable crop but usually not. She was a widow on her own trying to save money, still it might have been better had she invested in some better seeds. There are so many heirlooms out there however I don't want to get too many at once. I'd like to know what other people have experienced with them first.

I've been sowing and gathering seeds a bit, since I'm on that topic. I have much more on my light stand than is in the photo above. I've started some older seeds in small batches too, in case they don't germinate. So far of my first couple sowings of things all but a very few of my little cups or peat pots have seedlings in them. I'm holding out a little longer on some then they will go in the compost. I started 'iffy' seeds early because I don't want to do them in big batches if the small batches don't work.

While I was out in my garden I grabbed a fistful of seed pods from a morning glory and a rose of sharon. The morning glory last year was a variety of colors. It was originally blue but every year it looks different. It is getting whiter. I have some wild glories growing at the bottom of our hill and they are white with a pink middle--very pretty. Maybe eventually my glory seeds from the hybrid will be like the wild ones. Sort of a haphazard very unscientific experiment. I don't mind playing with seeds, I just don't want to count on 'iffy' seeds for food--especially if I have invested time, energy and money in growing them.

I have seen that some folks sell seeds or value added products from the garden on Etsy--that's cool! Opens up more possibilities in the mind.

Well, I am thinking today I may begin a little wool critter to put up on Etsy. I guess I'll get going now and work on that.

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