Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Garlic in Late January

I got off of work a few minutes early today. Combined with the sunny day that we had and the ever so slightly lengthening of each day, I was able to get outside and work after I made it home. It was so nice to be home before dusk settled in! I had been trying all week to get home in time to water my garlic. That sounds like such a funny thing to say in January, but with all of this dry, sunny weather that we have been experiencing, I was growing concerned that the raised garlic bed might be drying out.

So off came the remay cover and voila - Garlic plants! They have grown so much since I last looked at them on New Years Day. As has been the pattern the last two years, the "Russian Red" garlic plants are the tallest. They are getting close to 6" tall now.

All of the "Chesnook Red" garlic plants are also doing really well. They have all come up and are close to 4" tall. I gave all of the plants a good, slow soaking and then covered up the row once again. Since they are calling for rain only on Sunday night, and the high temperatures are forecast to be in the high 50's all next week, I need to be vigilant about keeping the garlic row well watered during this strange Winter.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Another Sunny January Workday

Finally, a sunny day off with nothing planned. So it was time to get back to the mowing project that hadn't been touched since just after Christmas. We attacked the bank and "meadow" in front of the house. It was actually so warm, I had to keep stopping for water breaks and wore a baseball cap to keep the sun out of my eyes.

Near the end of the first tank of gas, I took a break up by the flagpole. Tom-cat and Solomon joined me and were soon snooping about a stump behind me. After some serious sniffing about, Solomon suddenly looked startled and quickly trotted back to the safety of the front porch. I couldn't imagine what upset him but later, when I was mowing near that stump, a HUGE drift of skunk odor rose from the cut grass. Phew, it was strong. I ended up mowing for 2 1/2 hours total today, until I was too hot and tired to do any more. Such a funny thing to say in January.

I was really pleased with all that we accomplished today and it was just in time. After I mowed behind the Sweet Gums, I found this clump of daffodils pushing upward. The blade had just missed them. Later, when I took a walk down to the big garden, I pulled back some leaf litter and found the "Passionale " daffodils are just starting to come up as well. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

First 60 degree Day of the Year - and a Record

I caught on film the tail-end of an amazing, if slightly worrisome day. Today, while the East Coast turned white under a winter storm watch, we enjoyed sunny blue skies and a high of 68 degrees! Yes 68 degrees. That broke an 80 year old record. It certainly wasn't a day to be inside and everyone was enjoying the balmy weather. And for the third night in a row, we were treated to a lovely sunset.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Ordering Dahlia Tubers

Well, today I broke my rule and I ordered new dahlia tubers before I completely finished dividing and storing last years! But I am so close to being done and it's now January. If I don't place my orders soon, tubers will start to sell out. So, I spent a pleasant hour or two on-line, looking over the latest releases and reviewing what tubers I need replace. Before I started I set a budget and then proceeded to pass it by $100! Oops. But I can now look forward to 4 boxes arriving near the end of April. I have ordered 17 new varieties and replaced stock on 3 more. For anyone looking to order some dahlia tubers, I recommend visiting the Colorado Dahlia Societies Big List. This is a wonderful resource that lists all of the commercial dahlia operations and then lists every dahlia variety those businesses sell by alphabetical order. If you have never ordered tubers on-line before I always recommend buying from a business in the same general geographical area as your garden. I think the dahlias are acclimatize to your region and grow better the first year. There's no science to back that up, it's just my opinion. Some of my favorite commercial growers are River's Dahlias, Clack's Dahlias, Park's Dahlias, Dahlia's By Les & Viv, Blossom Gulch Dahlias and Birch Bay Dahlias. But there are many, many more reputable growers out there too. Another option is to wait until the Spring. Then you can visit the Colorado Dahlia Society web-site and they will list all of the tubers sales that the local dahlia societies are holding all over the US.  Whatever method you choose, happy ordering!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Early Sensation Daffodils

I shouldn't be surprised now, but it always catches me a little off guard to discover that the "Early Sensation" daffodils are once again 2-4" tall right at the New Year. As its name implies, this is a super early variety that is normally in full bloom for us near the end of February. My brain isn't quite ready to think about Spring bulbs right now, but I know by the end of February that their burst of yellow color will be most welcome.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The New Year and the Garlic is Up!

Happy New Year! The New Year began here sunny and cold! Our overnight low hit 19 degrees and today's high was only 38. Even in the early afternoon this bird bath was still frozen

 But I couldn't stay inside with all of that sunshine, so I bundled up and decided to check on the garlic that I plant back on December 13th. When I pulled back the remay fabric I was pleased to see many green shoots poking out of the raised bed.

I counted 18 of the 19 "Chesnook Red" plants up and growing.

The "Russian Red" garlic looked good as well. I counted all 11 plants up. I did notice, as you can see in the above and below pictures, that many of these cloves had pushed up out of the soil just a bit. I need to bring in some more Nature's Best and give the raised bed an inch or two top-dressing.But even with my very late planting, I thought all of the cloves seemed to be doing well. We are on the way to another good garlic harvest.