Saturday, January 7, 2012

But the bushes say spring...Enjoying our "winter" weather in the garden

Going Green Mama is itching to get dirty today.

Fifty-eight degrees, Indiana and January. Typically, the only way those words are thrown together in the same sentence are "I hate January in Indiana and want to go __where it's 58 degrees."

But a fortunate blast of warm air has treated us in the last day or so, going from a week starting with frosted windshields and snow-dusted lawns to a welcoming weekend where I can actually comfortably let the kids play outside without too many arguments over clothing.

Heck, the blueberry bushes and trees even think it's spring. The tiniest of buds started displaying right around Christmas.

I'm sure soon enough we'll pay the price for unseasonably warm weather, but for now I'll take advantage of it with long walks, an afternoon at the park, and even some garden work that doesn't involve me longingly flipping through catalogs or marking my favorites on Pinterest.

Yes, I figure now's the time to start thinking about some early garden preparation. There are few things more disheartening than a few hours of garden cleanup when what you really want to do is plant those spring peas, so you might as well whittle away at that list now.

So what can you do on a mild January day in the Midwest? Here are a few ideas:

  • Make progress on your weeding. Those weeds are enjoying the springlike weather too!

  • Clean your garden bed if you haven't already. Unless it's a perennial plant, yank it up and compost (provided it's not diseased), or you've created a haven for pests.

  • Make sure your mulch is up to snuff for when the winter weather does strike. (If you've been slow to dispose of that Christmas tree, pine needles do work!)

  • Turn your compost pile, if you've been lazy about it during the hectic holiday season. (And make sure to keep it sponge-like damp if you're going through a dry stretch like we are!)

  • Plant bare-root trees or plants.

  • Consider trying to plant short-term winter crops, like spinach, bok choy, radishes, carrots or winter lettuces. That sprinkling of extra seeds could have some unanticipated payoffs!

  • Test your soil if you haven't done that in recent years, and add any amendments that you may need. (Compost is always welcome!)

As for me, while my children are racing around outdoors, I'll likely do some weeding, rework my compost pile that hasn't composted quite as well as I thought it should and probably tempt myself to plant some seeds, guaranteeing we'll soon get the first big snow of the year!

How is your weather? Are you taking advantage of warmer temperatures to get a head start on spring?


Green Bean said...

We have had unseasonably warm weather and, worse yet, NO RAIN! Driest December in a century or something along those lines. So, yes, I have been in the garden. I hadn't thought of throwing in some radish seeds or something. I might try that. Where we live, you can legitimately plant potatoes, rhubab and other such stuff in January though. As there is no rain in sight, I guess I'd better get on that.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

Thanks to the warm weather here, I had spinach, kale, and lettuce growing all the way up until Christmas when we finally got a hard freeze. It's been nice but also makes me worried about what March will be like.

Laura said...

I keep wandering the yard trying to envision the garden... we moved to this house in the Fall of 2010 and I had Sylvi in the early spring of last year, so nothing got done. I'm thinking that I'd better start my plants indoors this year because if the weather is going to be this mild for so long, we are sure to get a backlash of winter at some point and I don't want to be scrambling to get plants in the ground come June!

JonathanN said...

I’ve learned a lot from your blog here! Keep on going, I will keep an eye on it.


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