Friday, November 29, 2013

The Chesnook Red is Up

Yesterday I decided that I needed to water the garlic row. We have been in a dry spell since the 20th of November. The nights have been well below freezing and the days sunny and dry. I was concerned that after eight consecutive days without rain, the raised bed might be bone dry. After I lifted off the remay fabric tunnel I discovered that the bed was pretty dry. I slowly poured two full watering cans onto the row until it was fully saturated. Then I bent down to take a closer look and was pleased to find that 10 "Chesnook Red" cloves have sprouted. I planted 15, so 2/3 are now up. On the flip side, none of the 12 "Russian Red" plants are up yet. Hopefully they are just slow this year.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! After another chilly night - a low of 26 - the day turned sunny and warm. Before heading out to the family dinner, I took a walk around the property with Tom-cat. He enjoys the company and loves snooping around all of the stumps and meadows. The wild turkeys better watch out today!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Dahlias Are Done!

Today I finished wrapping and cataloging the last of my dahlia tubers of 2013!

I ended up with four completely full copy paper boxes of tubers. From 242 clumps that I dug, I ended up storing 1,084 tubers this year. Of those 1,084 tuber I know for sure that 800 of them have live eyes. In the Spring I will earn if the other 284 are viable or not.

As I was taking my final inventory and pictures, Padma arrived. He gave the boxes one more inspection before they were stored away in the cold garden room for the next four months. Now that this huge project is complete, both the tubers and the gardener can rest for the Winter. And I can also start shopping for next year's new varieties guilt free!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Deep Freeze

Another cold night. The low hit 18 degrees here this morning and everything was frozen solid. The front of the house receives very little direct sun during this time of the year. Because of this, the large fountain in the front hasn't thawed out for a few days now. 

During my early morning walk, the sun was just creasing over the hill .The pine needles were sparkling in the sunshine. The blackberry leaves were so heavily coated in frost that I thought they looked like they were covered in a heavily dousing of sugar. Brrr!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Early Signs of the 2014 Season

Looking at the west end flowerbed today, I noticed the first signs of next Spring poking up though the soil. I first discovered that my "Kokopelli" narcissus are coming up like mad. Some of them are already a good 2" tall. Then I looked a little bit further down the bed and saw that the ipheion "Rolf Fiedler" are also starting to come up with vigor. These bulbs are suppose to multiply each year. I planted just two bulbs the first year and then enjoyed six plants last year. Is it possible that I will have twelve this year?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Tuber Digging Week #6 - A Finish!

This scene doesn't look too exciting to most people but it is a very welcome sight for me! Today I finished digging up the last of my dahlia plants down in the big garden. I also pulled up the dead marigold, sunflower, and zinnia plants and picked up the last of the garden "stuff" that I had used and stored down there all Summer. Once again it is a blank canvas - except for all of the weeds - waiting for me to create a new masterpiece next year!

Monday, November 11, 2013

November Mushrooms

As I headed down to work the big garden today, I went on a hike looking for mushrooms. While I am unable to identify any of them by name, I certainly was able to discover a nice variety.

This was a sweet little orange one.

This group was growing down the grass that surrounds the big garden.

The cap on this mushroom had collapsed and created a bowl. The recent rain and winds had filled the bowl with water and fir needles. 

Isn't this a neat one? The cap has all but disappeared, leaving a translucent top showcasing the gills.

These pretty snow white mushroom glowed against the background of green grass, moss, and weeds.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Planting the Garlic - Finally!

Today I finally got around to planting my garlic. I had been meaning to do this task for at least the last two weekends but something always got in the way. I had no excuse today! The weather couldn't have been any nicer. The high reached 54 degrees but it felt much warmer. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and there also wasn't any wind. First I had to finish cleaning up the kitchen garden. I tore out all of the dead tomato plants and then pulled up and cleaned up all of the morning glory vines. As always, that took much longer than expected.

Then it was time to build a raise bed for the garlic. I hauled in two garden cart loads of Nature's Best and built my garlic bed. Then I went to the extra refrigerator in the garage and pulled out my garlic cloves. I had saved, especially for planting this Fall, the biggest two bulbs each of both garlic varieties that I grew last year. I carefully divided the bulbs into individual cloves, being as careful as I could to keep the paper wrapping around each clove. I was more successful with some than with others!

After I had my planting stock ready I took everything out to the raised bed and laid out the cloves. I dug 1-2" holes for each clove and added a tablespoon of bone meal to the bottom of each hole.

I ended up planting 15 cloves of "Chesnook Red" and 12 cloves of "Russian Red". It is suppose to rain Tuesday, so that will be a great way to get all of the cloves nicely watering in and settled. Now I just need to buy a new piece of remay cloth and cover the row in a protective hoop. Hopefully, around Christmas time, I will take a sneak peek under the remay tunnel and find that my new garlic crop has sprouted!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Tuber Digging - Week #5

Another successful dahlia digging day. I lucked out with yet another dry, fairly mild day in which to work outside. I dug up a total of 15 varieties today. I finished digging up all of the collarettes and now have just 2 1/2 rows of Poms left to dig. The end is in sight!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Wild Cherry Trees

The wild cherry trees that are hidden among the Douglas fir on our property  peaked with color this past week before the hard frost arrived. They just glow in the Fall sunshine. Their leaves are such a pretty blend of yellow, orange, and red-orange. After a poor display the last two years, late September's heavy rainfall  gifted the trees with much needed moisture. This in turn lead to a much improved Fall color display. It is also interesting that the cherries are at peak display now because the large leaf maples leaves turned yellow a few weeks ago. They have now dropped all of their leaves and the maple trees are bare.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Tuber Digging - Week #4

Another big digging day today. I dug up four more rows. Today was the first day I had to fight some precipitation. I lucked out and only had two showers go by, both lasting no more than five minutes or so. The garden is now starting to look empty. I have 12 1/3 rows fully dug, which leaves just 5 2/3 rows to go. My goal is to get all the tubers dug in the next two weekends.