Friday, January 11, 2013

Winter at Hummingbird Farmz


I find that I don't write on this blog much in the winter because there doesn't seem to be much to say about my garden when so much is dormant and covered in leaves, but a reader of my blog recently challenged me to talk about what is going on in my garden now.  Today I was raking leaves and really looking at what was happening and I saw so much more than I expected to find.  I don’t like to be called an “expert” at gardening, but I do have some knowledge and lots to learn.  With what knowledge I do have I’ve created a garden that I feel very much at home in.  In this comfort zone I can watch things grow, grow myself and learn about what my garden needs and what I need.  I get food for my body and my mind from my garden.  I grow fruits and vegetables, flowers  and herbs and attract visitors like birds, bees, bugs and other critters that I really enjoy observing. 

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One section of my yard is dedicated to lilacs, quince, forsythia, weigelia and red buds.  Right now it appears dormant, but on closer inspection I can see the buds swelling on the quince reminding me that soon there will quite a show going on in that section.  First, the quince will bloom in a beautiful dark apricot color that is close to red followed by the lilacs in lavenders, pinks, and white with a fragrance that is not like any other.  After the lilacs come the showy white explosion of spirea and the bright yellow forsythia.  The above picture on the left looks like nothing much going on, but the picture on the right is from last March when it all came to life and was so beautiful. It is reminding me of what is too come and having so much to look forward to helps me to see the beauty in this time of year when things seem to be so dismal, but in reality an energy is being stored up so that when the time and environmental conditions are just right there will be quite a show for all the senses.IMG_1183






In my vegetable garden things are growing slowly which is normal for this time of year.  I have small seedlings of carrots, beets, garlic and onions that have been hangingMara des Bois Strawberries in there through frost, wind and even snow.  My next task will be to thin and replant the strawberry beds.  I grew a tasty little French one last year named Mara des Bois, the flavor was the sweetest and juiciest I have ever tasted so I wasted no
time in rounding up those trailing babies and rooting them in to tray so that i can start a whole other bed full of them to enjoy through the summer.  They are ever bearing and just kept coming through the summer and into the fall.  We all enjoyed them and shared with all of our visitors young and old.





This garden bed is currently being used to heel in some fruit trees and vines to plant as soon as the soil warms up a bit.


The Italian Parsley is loving this cold weather and I need to keep harvesting the leaves for drying and using fresh because we use a lot of it all year long.  I love opening the jar of dried parsley and just taking a deep breath, it smells so tasty.  We have been keepingIMG_1186 the dehydrator busy with persimmons and we did the same method we used last year called Hoshigaki.  This year we are doing even more than last year because we enjoyed them so much.  This year I sliced them about 1/2” thick in one batch and was amazed at how much they shrink so the next batch we just cut them in half.  I love how chewy they are and very sweet.  They loose that astringency  when they go through a frost.  We are using them before they are all soft and gooey and they are delicious though I have been using the really ripe ones for


baking some goodies.  The persimmons in this picture are the ones we are leaving for the birds because we have plenty on hand for us to eat this year and share with special friends.




This picture is of the persimmons covered in snow just a few weeks ago.



I planted some saffron crocus bulbs and they are all popping up in the bed with the parsley.   The camelias are starting to bloom and the chamaecyparis are looking great as always.  The yellow twig dogwood are showing off their yellow twigs and the daphne are getting ready to bloom.  So there really is more going on in my garden than I imagined sitting inside reading seed catalogs and garden books and looking out at the cold. 


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I have been doing a lot of reading and researching on how to make my soil better and have a wonderful book to recommend on permaculture for the home garden it is called Gaia’s Garden by TobyHemenway.  I am especially enjoying Chapter 4 on soil.  There is a great description of just how a leaf goes through the process of turning into humus that went on for pages and I was never bored, just amazed.

I will be taking more time to really look at what is happening in the garden and not just at the pretty flowers…it is all happening first in the soil, all the stuff you don’t see at first glance.



@ Hummingbird Farmz

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