Happy New Year–In the Garden, Of Course!

Well, new year’s day dawned clear with a predicted temperature in the fifties and my first thought was … “there’s stuff I can do in the garden.”  I didn’t get around to the usual clean-up in the fall, which includes digging in composted manure and mulching around anything still growing.

The arugula is spreading contentedly.

The lettuce cold crop is thriving.

I knew I wouldn’t have time for digging and mulching, but I also needed to prune my beautiful trumpet vine, so we can put a higher fence around the garden. It also just generally needed to be reined in.  This can be done in the winter up to the point the plant starts to come out for spring.

The freshly pruned trumpet vine

Since the trumpet vine sets its flowers in spring and early summer, that’s not the time to prune, unless you don’t care about those bright orange blossoms.

Summer's blossoms

I also wanted to prune my roses.  It’s been so warm, they still had some ragged blossoms at the same time they had developed their winter buds on the canes.  I could have waited until February, but decided to prune now, given it’s supposed to get really cold for a  few days.  The other flowers in my garden that are thriving in the cool, but not cold weather are calendulas.  These are never happy in the dog days of August, but begin to thrive in the fall.

These have buds galore, but may get nipped tonight.

Other gardeners were there, too, and one gave me a bag of fresh greens from the three bags she had harvested.  She was pulling winter weeds and digging in organic material.

Judy's been giving greens to friends and neighbors.

Since pruning the two roses and the trumpet vine and bagging the trimmings took most of my time, I wasn’t able to begin weeding or hauling any mulch.  I did, however, harvest some of my lettuce, arugula and chard.  I also got a sweet little bouquet from the flowers and herbs that were there.

The word is we’ll have warmer temperatures again by next weekend, and if that holds true my fellow gardeners and I will probably be back, digging around.  I’m looking forward to the coming growing season, new initiatives in the Plot Against Hunger, and talk of a food hub in northern Virginia.  Check back in when you can!

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