Sunday, January 23, 2011

Winter Kitchen Garden Chores.

Nice place to build a nest. Even the most dedicated kitty cat can't get through the mess of rose thorns. The roses will need pruning but that's not urgent yet. The nest will go then - I think they build a new one each year.

This was Jan 1st before I started cleaning up the rose & fruit bed. I felt bad about letting it become such a mess last year.
Looking at this, I wondered if I could get it cleaned up. What a mess.
Over the past couple of weeks, I've pruned all of the roses (mainly on Jan 1st) and raked out the weeds. Charlie may not approve. He likes messes. But he tolerates my idiosyncrasies. Then this weekend, a layer of bark nuggets except the area around the raspberries.
Behind the apple tree, the " yellow everbearing raspberry "Fallgold" was still a mess. These are great raspberries. They started as a small grocery store bare root start. Now they are starting to take over their neighborhood.
My photo is bad. I trimmed off the tops at about the top of the photo. Removed one clump and moved it to a better spot on the opposite side, more in the direction where I wanted them to grow. Pulled up about half of the canes, concentrating on pulling up the scrawniest ones. These are "ever bearing". They bear early summer on the canes that grew last summer and fall. I shortened these a little because they bore at the tips last summer, an once a node has produced fruit, it's done. Below that level, they'll grow branches at each node, and those branches will bear fruit. Once they have done the second fruiting, they are done. So I also removed all of the spent canes from last year. Much tidier now. Now to head off to the bark mulch place and finish this garden bed, so it's ready for Spring. I feel a bit better now.

I hauled another 3/4 yard of medium bark nuggets, spread them on the rest of the middle mini-orchard/rose bed, one side border, and some under a fig tree that I cleaned underneath first. This is already a better and earlier start than next year. Still lots to do however.

For the container gardens, I cleaned up the surface on 2 additional barrels. I planted seeds, a mini-ball shaped carrot ("Parisian Market"), more mesclun, lettuce mix ("Bon Vivant Blend"), a Chinese greens mix. They may not grow, because the seeds were old (1 to 3 years) and because, after all, it's only January. On the other hand, some seeds can last for years (I've blogged on that before, and tested some last year), and it doesn't matter if they take a month or more to come up. Plus, they may be hardier for being planted in the winter and allowed to grow with the weather. Plenty of weeds are already sprouting, and some greens are just a few steps removed from "weed". If they don't sprout in, say, a month, I'll buy some new seeds and try again.

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