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By 5 Acres and A Dream
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What's Hoopening in the Garden

Friday, January 6, 2017 22:46
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The hoop house is hoopening. Ha ha, pretty corny, I know. Dan thinks I don’t have a corny bone in my body, but we just showed him, didn’t we? 😉  Actually, he’s right. I’m too analytical to be corny.

My fall garden should have been planted last August and September but with no rain and daily temperatures still hovering near 100°F (37.7°C) I didn’t want to risk it. Once the rains in November softened the soil, I started working on soil preparation. Weather permitting, I’ve been working on the garden and pastures ever since. Growth is slower this time of year, but at least I’ve got seeds in the ground. A few things are starting to come up:

Garlic. I planted carrots here too, but they have yet to germinate.

Multiplier onions are beginning to come up too. I’m trying
them this winter because last summer was too hot and dry.

Also I have turnip and collard seed in the ground, but like the carrots they have yet to make a showing. Most of the action is in the hoop house. There isn’t much to harvest at the moment, except for a few baby greens leaves for salad.

Kale with some volunteer chickweed.

Bloomsdale spinach

Claytonia (miners lettuce)

Radishes aren’t ready to harvest yet but they’re coming along.

I’m also getting Jerusalem artichokes from the artichoke bed.

I feed these to the goats and we like them lactofermented.

These weren’t terribly prolific due to lack of rain last summer, but at least they survived.

More planting in the hoop house:

Garlic bulbils I collected last summer…

… are now baby garlic plants.

Weather permitting there is plenty to do.

This is last summer’s green bean and cantaloupe bed.
It has a 6-inch layer of wood chips with wiregrass growing through.

Whenever I blog about my wiregrass problems, someone mentions the “Back To Eden” film in the comments. I always mulch as heavily as I can, but last summer was the first time I had enough wood chips to mulch large sections of the garden. Because wiregrass indeterminate (keeps on growing like a vine) it grows right up through thick mulch or into a raised bed and keeps on going. I’ve pulled strands of wiregrass that measure five feet and more. Every so many inches it sets down more roots and thus entrenches itself everywhere. It grows the same way underground and can strangle out anything else growing there.

A messy mass of wiregrass roots strangling this poor strawberry plant

Soil prep in those previously mulched areas involves raking the wood chips back and then digging out as much of the wiregrass as I’m able. It’s got me thinking that the wood chips created more work instead of making things easier.

First section done. Wood chip mulch is raked back up against
the Jerusalem artichokes to be reused and the wiregrass dug out.

Why not just continue to add mulch? Because seeds need to come into contact with soil to grow. They won’t grow in pure mulch. I already have about six inches of mulch down; the more I add the farther we are from the soil.

In the house we just finished the last of the tomatoes I picked before first freeze. I have a few peppers left which I’d better chop and pop into the freezer. Also, my lone hope sweet potato is coming along.

No leaves yet but it’s growing roots.
And oops, I see it needs more water.

Seed catalogs are arriving daily, so I’ll hit those during this bout of frigid, icy weather. Those catalogs, a cozy fire, and a cup of something warm to drink make a great combination.

So what gardening activity is going on in your part of the world?


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