A typical day in the January winter garden here looks like this:
Yes, that’s it.
In fact, when our dog goes outside, little snowballs stick to his legs. I have to use a warm washcloth to individually melt the snowballs so he won’t be in pain or freeze.
But he loves being out in the snow in spite of that uncomfortable inconvenience.
It is a pretty sight, the snow. Really it is.
Especially when you’re indoors in the warmth looking out the window.
Or you’re viewing the pictures of the snow from someplace tropical.
Cleaning snow off of vehicles and shoveling snow off of steps and paths can give a person a real workout!
But we do what we must.
Just outside the mudroom door are the rose garden and the herb garden. I have a few things covered in cloches to see if they can survive the winter – rosemary, parsley, and sage.
Beyond is the vegetable garden. A couple of lettuce plants are covered, but that may prove futile.
My Brussels sprouts are still hanging on in our January Winter garden.
They will, supposedly, become sweeter from the snowy exposure. I haven’t done the “taste test” yet.
Benefits of Snow
We used to cover our vegetable beds in the wintertime with tarps.
Then we took the Permaculture course.
We got a big, fat, “NO, NO!” for covering them up. Here’s why:
– Snow actually provides an insulating blanket, of sorts, like mulch. If you know about home insulation, think about the “R Value” increasing with the depth of the snow. This is beneficial to both plants and soil, for protection and temperature regulation.
– Snow can help perennial plants stay in their dormant state. What happens if there is an unexpected warm day in the winter? The plants will receive this as a signal to put energy into new growth. If there is enough snow to provide insulation, even if the soil has frozen, damage can be prevented. Hooray for snow!
-Snow can help fertilize! Yes, that’s right. You see, nitrogen attaches to snowflakes as they fall, which gently enriches soil. Thus, your plants ultimately benefit, especially during spring thaw.
Where to Build a Greenhouse?
We’ve been discussing this question for years. This year, the discussion got more serious.
Our primary reasons for having a greenhouse are simply:
1- Starting seeds
2- Extending our growing season
We don’t need anything fancy, in fact, the simpler the better.
Originally, we wanted to put the greenhouse on just the other side of the rose garden. This way, in the wintertime, I could walk out of the house, along the rose garden path, and straight into the greenhouse.
We were looking at these cute little cottage-style greenhouses at first.
Besides being way over our budget, we felt that there were more bells and whistles than we’d need. We also were concerned about the floor.
We would have to be responsible for creating the floor for the greenhouse.
And we wouldn’t know how to do that. It’s not in our wheelhouse.
You see, we wanted to have adequate drainage.
When we did our research, and asked trusted friends for advice, it became clear that we would be in way over our heads.
Some of the suggestions were to use gravel, or create a solid, tiled floor with a drain in it.
There was also the question of the floor being level. Do we have the floor sloping downward toward the greenhouse’s door(so we could coax the water to run out the door)? Or have a drain in the middle and have the edges sloping towards the center? Or do a simply gravel floor and hope for the best?
It just became way too complicated.
So…….back to the drawing board.
Now, we are considering a poly-tunnel or a greenhouse design by Ana White.
We’d still have to figure out how to create a base, but the costs of these two options are so much more budget-friendly.
The perfect spot for the greenhouse now seems to be a little further back.
This is the field behind our crabapple tree. And our greenhouse won’t be this fancy! It is fun to pretend, though, yes?
At any rate, you’re getting a look at our snow-covered garden in January.
Is it snowing where you live?