...if you have a backyard and a kitchen, this blog might be for you!

a chronicle of tips and recipes on everything from gardening to canning and baking your produce, even if you're planted in suburbia...in fact, especially if you are planted in suburbia.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Early Winter's "To Do List" for the Edible Garden

What do nature-lovers do on winter mornings besides run gorgeous photo shoots through their bedroom windows? (Thanks to my friend Karen for letting me snag her photo for my blog. Isn't it beautiful?) I'll tell you what they do. They study how to be better gardeners the following season. They dream about what new things they'll try and what things to give a year's rest. For instance, I got a great book of gardening basics at the second hand book store. Best $2 I've spent in a long time! I browsed through it as I ate my sub-sandwich supper, and then day-dreamed under its inspiration through the super brownie and ice-cold milk course. Finally, glancing up at my husband over my reading glasses, I said, "So. What do you think about adding a trellis over the back gate to use as a grape arbor?"

"We could do that," he said.

Now I have all sorts of new plans to make and all winter to play with them. Only once before did I have a grape arbor on my property, but that year I made the best grape jelly I've ever made in my life. I know it will take a few years to have a good crop, but that is part of the joy of it anyway: inviting something into life that helps you experience a little "delayed gratification." It is a joy that see too little regard lately.

As I perused my new book, I came across a section I thought I'd post from periodically. It is a garden calendar, offering "to do" lists across the seasons.

Here is the recommended to-do list for now, early winter:

Test soil PH before applying lime
Hang any remaining garlic bulbs to dry
Plant last fruit bushes and trees
Lift and store root crops for winter use
Harvest and store remaining apples and pears
Check fruit already in store
Lift layered plants
Start forcing rhubarb
Life leeks and parsnips
Take hardwood cuttings of currants
Disinfect canes and supports before storage

This book also reminds that "Winter is the quiet time, when you can sit and plan your next year's crop and order seeds and new plants from the catalogs. It is also time perhaps to oil and sharpen any garden tools or apply a coat of wood preservative to the garden shed and fences...

"Maintaining a successful edible garden demands a methodical, orderly approach, and a commitment to the garden throughout the year."
--from Country Living Gardener's Gardening Basics

Next week, I'll share the list for the ornamental garden as well, but for now:

Happy list-making!

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