January is a quiet time in most gardens. Not in the desert garden though.
I am still building compost beds. I dig out an empty garden bed, and toss that soil on top of last month’s compost bed. Once this bed is emptied, I start filling it up with compost.
Do you remember all that wood chip mulch that I had delivered and dumped in my driveway? Do you remember how Steve and I wheel barreled it to my backyard? We will not speak of the fact that it almost got me a spanking! Well, I squirreled it away in every nook and cranny that I could find. I piled it up, and packed it down. I was betting on it. Just look at a forest. I was thinking that stuff had magic in it. I also gave some to my friends to use as deep litter for their animal pens. Joel Salatin calls that a carbonatious diaper. It covers up the animal poop and keeps things dry. Look ma, no flies or smell!
Now it seems that sun, moisture and time have done their jobs. I started forking that squirreled away mulch into my new compost bed, and saw that the underside was rich black soil-just crawling with earthworms. That my friends, sent shivers up my spine! Not eerie shivers, but shivers of delight! How many girls do you know respond that way to earthworms? This is now the base for my next compost bed. I showed Steve and he told me that I needed more wood chips. I said “Really?” He saw the look in my eye, and he quickly said “No!” Then he made a move as though he were going to take off his belt. I quickly went to my backyard to leave him alone with his computer.
Though I still plant two Saturdays in January, I do not do not expect a lot. Most days it is just a little too cold for germination. But some years we have warmer than usual times. So my seeds are in the ground; just in case.
What can the expenses be, you ask? Bare roots. January is the time to plant bare roots in the garden. Bare roots are more expensive than seeds, but less expensive than the plant, bush or vine. So this month can be pretty expensive, but cheaper than if I wait til March and buy the plants.
This year; I replaced the asparagus patch that I planted 5 years ago. I had a couple of goats visiting for a short time. I forgot to latch the bottom gate (my fault-goats will be goats), they squeezed out, and went straight for my mature asparagus patch. Those girls pulled them up, and ate them. They also ate the apple tree, no seriously ate the whole thing! This month, I planted 18 plants at 3.99 for 3. So $24.00.
I also filled my aquaponics system with bare root strawberries. I put 10 in each of 4 grow beds. The plants cost 3.99 for 10, so that was about $16.00.
I will be buying a new apple tree, and more red flame grapes. I have not priced them yet. But the trees could be $30.00 to $60.00 for a 1, or two year old. I bought 2 red flame grapes for $9.00 each last year. They were nothing more than sticks, but grew into beautiful vines.
I have a very special friend ( are you reading Joe?) who is a rose expert. Correct me if I am wrong my dear friend, but January is the time to plant bare root roses. I am trying to convince Steve to plant some in the front yard. He loves ornamentals. Maybe you have some suggestions for a beautiful flower, that will smell pretty and have lovely hips to make tea with?
Enjoy the cool weather. Drink your hot tea and cocoa. This will not last very long.