Well, I really didn’t blow off the landscape as Hurricane Sandy made her rounds back in October, and thanks to everyone who inquired into how everything turned out. The garden and the beehives survived just fine and Pennsylvania actually wasn’t as hard hit by the storm as were parts of New York and New Jersey.
Things have been quiet around here for the past two months as I took some time away from blogging to focus on other things, but all is well and I’ve been saving up ideas for new articles and planning on ways to improve this website during my break in posting.
Looking Forward to the Return of Springtime in the Garden
Winter has really just started but it isn’t too early to begin thinking about next season’s vegetable garden. And despite any cold, ice, and snow that may be in the weather forecast spring’s return is only a couple short months away.
I was reminded of that last weekend as I watched the honeybees taking brief flights outside their hives during the warmest part of the afternoon. I’m sure they enjoyed the opportunity to stretch their wings and move around a bit after being clustered inside for weeks. It was also an opportunity for me to evaluate how they are making out so far during their winter break.
It was a big surprise to see a dozen robins hanging around in the front yard in spite of the snow on the ground and the calendar reading early January. When I spotted the first one last Friday I didn’t get a real good look at it and could have been convinced that it was merely a dream or hallucination induced by winter’s arrival.
But there they were again the following day. This time there was no doubt about it and I had my camera nearby. It’s not the best photo but you can clearly make out the familiar robin with snow lying in the foreground. I don’t know where they came from, how long they will stick around, or where they are headed, but it was an unusual site to see at this time of year!
Winter Activities for the Backyard Gardener
Out in the snow covered garden there are still plenty of root crops that can be harvested whenever the frozen ground thaws enough to sink a digging fork into the earth. There are also leafy greens hiding underneath the snow and others sitting comfortably inside the cold frames. With extremely mild temps in the forecast this weekend I will get a chance to take a closer look and maybe forage for some fresh produce.
The first vegetable seed catalogs arrived before Thanksgiving and now I have a pretty tall stack of them to sort through and place orders from. I didn’t notice any new seed suppliers but am sure that I will find some interesting “new” heirloom seed varieties to try out this season.
In addition to ordering seeds other winter tasks on my to-do list include cutting hardwood logs for use in cultivating mushrooms next season, early seed starting for hardy spring crops, taking inventory of my organic gardening supplies, and catching up on reading a few beekeeping and gardening books that I haven’t found time for up to now.
Upcoming Events to Cure the Winter Blues
On the local scene the Pennsylvania Farm Show takes place this week here in Harrisburg, PA at the Farm Show Complex. This annual program draws a huge crowd but I have to confess that I have never attended even though it is nearby. Other agricultural events such as PASA Farming Conference and the spring garden shows are coming up in the next couple months as well.
Winter has not been able to wipe away every trace of green from my life as I moved a number of potted herb plants and tropical edibles indoors. A bay laurel tree, guava plant, Aloe Vera and a date palm spend the winter in a spare bedroom, while citrus trees occupy a corner of the dining room. The lemon has a few ripe fruit and the lime tree is covered with perfumed flower blossoms.
Stay tuned as things will be heating up around here soon and the site will look more like someone regularly writes here! I’m working on a couple of articles about winter gardening, intend to visit and take photos of the PA Farm Show today, and am planning a post on how the snow can teach one a lot about the garden and the micro-climates within your landscape.
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