In the Garden: February ’21 Grow Journal

Here’s the monthly update and look ahead!

  1. Calendar/Plantings this month:
  • Flowers: Anemone, sweet peas, delphinium, bells of ireland, amaranth, rose mallow, papaver, hollyhock, English Lavender, aster, scabiosa
  • Veggies: sweet onion, celery
  • Re-seeds mid month into January tray: poppies that didn’t germinate well.

2. Walk property and decide on placement of: hard sided greenhouse, hillside beds, Eloise’s garden

  • Hard Sided Greenhouse will most likely go into the garden area, leveled, next to the potato boxes. We must be mindful of the access cover for the septic tank though… not a biggie, but will need to measure and reset that area to keep it clear once the snow melts.
  • Hillside beds are most likely going to be on the crested area where the most erosion has happened. I am hoping that using the drop log method for beds will also help rebuild that area and lessen the erosion. We’ve also toyed with the idea of making some cutting garden rows along the top of our property BUT that will reduce the amount of play space (we really don’t have a lawn) for our kiddo so that might be on hold for a bit. Our property does not have any privacy break up there either to our neighbors house/driveway and it’s hard to see how I could get work done without interruption from our fully retired, extremely nice and very chatty neighbor. We shall see.
  • Eloise’s garden will most likely be next to her play structure OR the top (smallest) of the drop log beds which will be at the top of our hilly area (her structure is at the top of the hill…) I am thinking a little cut wildflower bed with a space for two or 3 annuals… so she can choose what to add in each year… something fun for her to make her own choices, learn and participate in planting, care, harvest and seed saving.

3. Re-animate the 2 year old root stock/bulbs (if possible) *cue scary organ music*

So, my experiments from February were somewhat of a mixed bag.

  • Re-animating the papavers = NO GO. They were just too far gone and oh well… šŸ˜¦ Luckily I had purchased some of the same ones for fall planting (this year) and had those still stored and they are chugging along. We have greenery bursting through the top of their containers’ soil! WOOP!WOOP!
  • Re-animating the anemone corms = YES! A good soaking for about 3 hours before sticking in shallow soil, and a few weeks under a greenhouse lid under the lights woke those 2 year old corms right up! YAY! As these are also perennials, I will need to transplant them relatively quickly once the soil can be worked outside . They are in a super shallow tray now, so I will also need to pot them up now while their root structures are still separated well enough from each other. In fact that might be happening in the next few days so I can cycle the same small containers back into my supply for when the peppers/tomatoes need their first pot-up in April.
  • Re-animating the peony roots = MAYBE? Saw growth from a few eyes and then it just stopped. I think I will stick them in some pots and just see what happens. I would hate to lose out on these beauties, but I am doubtful they will produce anything now. Fingers crossed!
  • Re-animating the tulip bulbs = MEH? They have been under about 5-6 inches of soil, kept moist and under lights for 2 weeks and nothing yet. Today, I dig in and see if anything is even there. If I can salvage 1/4 of the bulbs I will be happy but again, I am doubtful.

4. Propagate dahlias from last year (This one makes me mad, but it was my first year trying to store dahlia roots over winter…sooooooo *sigh*)

I expected these to be a complete loss based on my observations over the last 3 weeks, but when I went down to take some photos for this post… WHAT? There were tubers that sprouted! They weren’t the biggest or healthiest of tubers as they were container grown last year AND there wasn’t much rehydration following a few tutorials of how to do it (shallow tray, kept moist, under lights)…but it looks like leaving them alone and ignoring them was the key LOL. Note to self: treat like a telemarketer. I will give the others another week then will throw anyone without sprouting eyes into a pot to see if that works. Looks like my summer reading will include dahlia university! Depending on who survives, I will definitely be reinvesting. Pretty sure Breakout is who is sprouting right now so may need to pick up Fleurel again if she doesn’t sprout. These two dinner plates are just too gorgeous not to have in your cut garden.

5.Review March plan with hubby for trimming/pruning

  • Hubs and I have marked our ‘talk’ to happen the first week of March, then we will plan a trimming schedule. We have a bunch to consider: apple trees (haven’t been trimmed in 4 years), lilacs (3 years), rose of sharon bushes (3 years), blueberry (ever?), roses (they are young, but never been properly trimmed), raspberries (ever?) and general tree branch cleanup around the edge of the property. It’s a lot. BUT, on the positive side, the chainsaw will get some use. YAY for Olga!
  • We also had a cherry tree that I had in a container a few years back that I assumed was just… done for. I unpotted it and placed on the ground to be mulched, etc. this spring, but I am wondering if it will come back to life. Nature has a way of healing itself so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was just dormant!

5. Workshop Propagation Station

I’m about halfway through clearing my space for the new propagation station in our workshop. This will make things SO much easier for me during seed starting and caring for seedlings/prepping for storage… currently, with a toddler around, I am seed starting on the kitchen table or my office desk or the sofa table LOL. I am hoping to build a seed starting/prop table with a soil station, wash station and grow area with lights/mats/trays. I’ll post my design soon… it’s been living in my brain and itching to get out. The challenges of having a baby and 3 inquisitive pets has really meant I need to make this a reality so I can continue to do one of my favorite things!

THE LOOK AHEAD FOR MARCH

Seed Starting:

Starting the next round of plants (mainly veggies, the rest of the flowers will be direct sown) according to our growing zone.

Trimming

  • Lilac
  • Rose of Sharon
  • Apple
  • Raspberry
  • Blueberry
  • Rose
  • Treeline Cleanup

Build Projects:

  • Prop / Planting Station
  • Climbing Rose trellis’ (or arches)

Wish List for new gear:

  • Planting auger (for drill)
  • Weed barrier grow cloth for hillside cut garden
  • Tomato ground cover

It seems like a TON, right? It is. Living any version of the homesteading lifestyle requires a ton of planning, commitment and hard work. Whether you are 100% sustainable or just a hobbyist, there is a lot that goes into feeling satisfied with what you have. This year we need to rehab some of the land and rethink our growing strategies. With a proper plan and commitment (leaving room to adjust of course) the land will love us back in 2021.

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