Friday, January 17, 2014

The Cedar Moon

When the "polar vortex" was visiting North America, we had a couple of nights with some good hard freezes (though in the daytime it always got back up above freezing, as usual). We thoroughly covered up the citrus trees, peppers, and some of the more tender herbs (pineapple sage, lemongrass, and lemon verbena), but I think everybody made it through.

We're now halfway through with the raised beds in the front garden. Two rows done, two more to go. I think they look very nice.

The garlic seems to be doing just fine. I just gave them a good watering, because we haven't had much rain in a while (all the cold fronts lately have been dry ones).

I put my first batch of homemade compost over the potatoes, and they're already poking up through it. The polar vortex hurt them a little bit, but they seem to have already recovered. Next time I mow the grass, I'm going to dump grass clippings on them.

Last year I planted some "multiplier leeks" my CSA farmer gave me, and I thought they died over the summer, but this winter they sprouted back up with several clumps of little leeks. They were in a bad spot, so I dug them up and transplanted them to the front garden. There were lots and lots of them, so hopefully at least a few will make it. Multiplier leeks and multiplier onions both seem to do much better here than their seed-grown cousins. They seem pretty tough and almost impossible to kill.

The two year old peppers got hurt some more by the polar vortex, so now they aren't much more than stumps. But they might make it. I thought they were dead last winter, and once it warmed up in spring, they started growing back. I have been covering them with a frost blanket during every freeze.

The Tall Telephone peas are still doing great, but still no blossoms. Now I'm sure I want to get an earlier variety of pea next winter to fill in the gap while I'm waiting for the Tall Telephone peas to mature. TT is a great variety, but it takes a lot of time growing big vines before it starts thinking about making peas.

The fava beans (on the left) also seem to be doing OK. They were just starting to make some blossoms when the polar vortex hit and knocked them back a bit, but they should recover soon. To the right you see the broccoli.

Meanwhile, the baby nightshades are doing well in their pots. It's almost time to start dividing them up into individual pots. Some of them are starting to get their first sets of true leaves.
Last I'd like to show you the ginger I harvested. I planted this nub of ginger in a pot when it sprouted in my kitchen last spring. It grew some long, grass-like leaves all summer, and we took it in when it froze, but recently the tops just died for no apparent reason. I finally realized maybe it was ready to harvest, like how the tops of potatoes die when they're ready. I dug it out of the pot, and got this nice handful of fresh ginger.
I used a little bit of it in some fried rice to see what it was like, and it's really good. The skin is so soft I can just rub it off with my fingers. It's very tender with hardly any fiber.
I'm going to break up the rest into pieces and plant them to try to get more ginger. I wonder if it would be possible to grow some in the ground. Even though we took it in the house when it froze, the tops died anyway. Maybe taking it in the house made no difference.

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