Sunday, January 31, 2010

Garden Journal 1/31/10: Snow Days and the Dream Garden

And She Sleeps (the garden, not me)

Realization of the day:
It's a weekend for dreaming and scheming.

Friday's six-inch snowfall has us happily cozying up indoors—except for the three to four hours a day tending to the donkeys, sheep, chickens, dogs, and outside cats. But I don't mind doing chores even in the snow, especially when it's sunny and warm like today. (Does thinking 30 degrees is warm mean that I've officially crossed over?) It really is beautiful out there.

Now that I've lived on a farm for 15 years, I start to go a little stir crazy if I don't get outside every couple of hours. What's nice is that no matter what the weather, there's always some good reason to leave the kitchen or computer and head out into the fresh air, even if it's only for five minutes to empty the kitchen compost container, feed some scraps to the chickens, or just hug a sheep.

I'll admit that a little laziness does kick in when everything is covered with snow, and I'm perfectly content to stay out of the the garden for a day or two. I certainly don't stop thinking about it, though.

This is the time of year when the garden in my mind and the garden in my reality have so much in common. With no blister beetles or other annoying bugs, no weeds taking over, no ravenous rabbits and deer, no crop failures, no dog damage, no seeds that never sprouted, no seedlings that should have been put in the ground weeks (or months!) ago, no work that can really be done (though I'm sure I could come up with something if I tried), and all those big plans to harvest the most glorious bounty ever, it's definitely one of my favorite times of year in the garden—until I get hungry of course.

Is there anything going on in your garden right now—or is it all still happening in your head?

More snowy garden photos:
2/4/09: Why I Love Growing Vegetables in Raised Garden Beds: Reason #1
Garden Journal 3/1/09: Early Spring Planting Plans & an Unexpected Delay
Garden Photo Journal 1/11/10: My All-Weather Gardening Companion
And lots of links to Snowy Farm Photos here and here

A little help if you're dreaming and scheming about what to grow:
Favorite Heirloom Tomatoes to Grow—Mine and Yours
Growing Onions in the Garden
Growing Short Day Onion Varieties from Purchased Plants
Harvesting Spring Onions Grown from Purchased Plants
Endive and Escarole in the Kitchen and Garden
Growing Lemon Cucumbers from Seed (I love lemon cucumbers)

How to Grow Beets from Seed (and here's my favorite beet recipe)
How To Grow Swiss Chard from Seed and Why You Should (and recipes)
How To Grow Your Own Gourmet Lettuce from Seed (It's Easy!)
How To Grow Arugula from Seed in Less than a Month
Tips for Growing & Using Rosemary Year Round

© Copyright 2010, the snowbound foodie farm blog where one thing I do miss in the garden this time of year—besides all that fabulous food—is seeing all the butterflies fluttering about.


  1. My garden, though now free of the snow that we got two days ago, is the happy home of garlic. It is about a foot tall and has not died off during the winter, even though the nights have been between 12 and 30 and the days between 45 and 50... this is weird, but I will not make it die. I just hope that the tops not dying off means that the bulbs are not forming.

    I need to start thinking of starting my seedlings since spring starts early here in the Southwest high-desert... but not quite yet.

  2. Well, my over-wintering leeks are growing nicely, and my parsley is very lush with our mild, rainy days (El Nino weather brings the west coast of Canada lots of rain and relative warmth). But really it's all about the seed catalogues now!

  3. Hey, that looks exactly like my garden right now. I was staring at it yesterday thinking "look, no weeds!"

    The only thing I can take out of it these days are lovely frozen green onions (Evergreen Hardy White) and thyme. Slim pickins and big plannins.

  4. Lovely, it looks so peaceful.

    As a sister gardener, I have to ask-do you have 6" of mud lurking beneath that gorgeous snow blanket, or is the ground frozen solid?
    At my place I'm all for frozen solid!

  5. I just pulled the rest of the leeks and they now reside in my fridge. I have a few parsnips to harvest. I checked the shoulders and they are just about right now. I also have parsley, lots of it, and the artichoke is coming back after freezing to the ground in Dec. I have some scallions started in WS containers that I will transplant out as soon as the weather permits. It won't be long before its time to start tomatoes and peppers. Yeah!! Spring is coming. Oh, yes...My Oct planted garlic is about a foot high, too.

  6. My garden is lush and gorgeous. There is no tomato diseases, the rabbits haven't decided to eat the peas and the zucchini is producing more then I can handle. Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

  7. Remember how it was in Northern California?
    In spite of getting our entire year's average rainfall in 11 days (and more to come next week) I am still picking Broccoli, Swiss Chard, Bok Choy and Kale. I would be picking Snow peas too, but though I get lots of blossoms, and occasionally find very small pods, there don't seem to be many peas. I suspect the racoons are very hungry.
    I really don't miss that 30 foot driveway I had to shovel every winter in New York.

  8. Our garden is growing garlic ... and hopefully leaf mold too. We cleared it last fall and covered it heavily in fall leaves to be tilled under, but the soil was too wet even then to till. And it's still too wet. Arggg !! It's been a soggier-than-usual year here.

    And COLD !! 4 snows so far ... that's unheard of !!

    That being said, we are dreaming of rich dark healthy balanced soil ... sprouting seeds ... vibrant plants ... luscious fruits.

    We started our seeds indoors in mid Jan and are enjoying watching them take off (under lights) now. Spring comes early in SE Tennessee. Or at least it usually does. ha !

    All the while, we keep telling ourselves, it won't be long now. Or at least we hope it won't be long.


  9. I just moved onions to the cold frames and seeded peppers and celery. I am definately getting spring fever but I always do.

  10. Thirty degrees and sunny IS pretty warm in the stronger February sun. Especially if you're out working in it.

    Although you can't take my word for it, since I think there is no doubt that I have definitely crossed over.

    We still have leeks and parsnips out there, although digging them is something of a challenge when the ground is frozen solid as iron.

  11. Well, it being NorCal and everything, we have a few things growing out there - garlic is looking scape-y, broccolini is putting out crowns, purple kohlrabi is starting to bulb out and the fava beans are flowering.

    I had my first kumquats over the weekend!

    I should have led with that. It's the most exciting thing in my life.

  12. There is something so peaceful and lovely about snow. I say that because I don't have to live in it.

    This will be my first gardening year (after many years of "mental gardening!"), and I fear that I might be overly optimistic about how everything will work out. I have big dreams.

    The reality? My future garden plot is full of weeds and gophers. My raised beds need extra compost/top soil or they won't really qualify as "raised." So much to do! Spring is right around the corner!

  13. In So Cal I'm eating out of my garden: aregula, kale, chard, radishes, bok choy, stir fry mix, cilantro, parsley and rapini. Lots of rapini. Of course my DH doesn't like rapini. I started out thinking, well okay, more for me. But now I'm getting tired of it. Who knew it was possible to get tired of a veggie that goes so well with garlic, red peppers and parmesan cheese.

    Beets and carrots are growing
    v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.

  14. I have garlic in the garden (planted shamefully late), and some hardy herbs: rosemary and oregano thriving in containers, despite the recent ice storm.

    I've started some kale, chamomile, and onions, and will be starting Brussell sprouts this weekend. This is my first year to attempt starting anything from seed, and I'm very excited about it! I think I've been a bit over-zealous, but everything is growing so far!

  15. Who doesn't get a little stir crazy if they don't hug sheep?! :)

  16. My lettuce is done, it bolted about a month ago.
    Spring onions going crazy - we love them, give them away to family and friends, they LOVE the smell.
    Just planted some seedlings but off to read some of your articles on starting from seed!


March 2013 update: My apologies for the inconvenience - I know word verification is a pain - but I've had to turn it on to help stop the ridiculous number of anonymous spam comments I've been getting every day. Thanks for your understanding.

Welcome to! Thanks so much for taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love to hear about what's going on in your own garden. I know, too, that other readers also delight in reading about your garden successes, failures, helpful tips, and lessons learned. Feel free to leave comments on older posts!

I try my best to answer all questions, but sometimes it takes me a few days to get to them. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your visits to my kitchen garden!