Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Winter Gardening

With the close of the holiday season and all it brings. .coupled with the REALLY nice weather we are enjoying here in southwest Kansas. .I have gotten a bit of spring fever!! I've enjoyed going through the seemingly endless pile of catalogs to decide which new variety or plant I N-E-E-D to try this year. And have also been able to enjoy some nice outside time as well!!
Let it be said. .that January 3rd 2012. .this Blue Wooly Speedwell has about 15-20 blooms on each plant. Crazy?? I think so!! It sits about 5 feet from the sidewalk on the east side of my house. .I wouldn't say that it stays a lot warmer there than anywhere else! But it has been making me smile every time I walk by!
The greenhouse has only gotten minimal attention thus far since early fall. Enough attention to keep things alive.
The most exciting thing would be the numerous small tomatoes present there. You may or may not recall, that Miss Thing pulled out all of the labeled seedlings in August playing "she loves me, she loves me not." Grant was the first one to notice, and he lovingly tucked each little wilting seedling back into a cell. Bottom line is. .we have absolutely NO idea which plant will yield which fruit. Time will tell!! I am hoping that these are either the chocolate cherry or the sweet baby tomatoes. There seem to be a lot of them between the two blooming plants. Additionally. .before we got the outdoor wood furnace going, the greenhouse got a little chilly a night or two. Several of the plants sustained some frost damage, and some died. I have noticed in one of the pots whose plant died, that there are two volunteer tomato plants growing. Needless to say, we'll be on the edge of our seats waiting to see what will be!
Here's a planter that had a few Swiss Chard seeds that germinated. They are the most beautiful plants!!
Look at the striking foliage. .There are red, yellow, and neon orange plants in my pot. We'll harvest the smaller leaves to eat in our salads.
This dracenia plant was mutilated by the grasshoppers this summer. They decimated EVERY leaf on the plant. I nearly threw it out, but decided to put it in the greenhouse instead. The plant is making a comeback, and has two little puffs of foliage on the top. In the background, are some twiggy trees that I got from the Arbor Day Foundation. Unfortunately, I misplaced the guide that told WHICH trees they were. .each stem is color coded, and I read once what they were, but by the time I got them planted, the guide was missing!! Hoping I will be able to ID them once they put on some leaves. I think I will plant them all into the garden in the spring in their little pots and nurse them along until they are big enough to avoid being mowed down by a teenager oblivious to details! At that point, I will find some final homes for them. It may not be hard, as I think there are several trees that aren't going to return in the spring because of the drought!!
This plant is kind of an exciting rescue project. It is a tropical umbrella plant from the pond. I didn't get it moved before the first frost-s- as I had planned. So I left it in the pond, where it endured numerous frosts. I finally (why, I have no idea) decided to move it one day to the greenhouse to see if it would live. Alas!! Success. .I was ready to pitch it last week, but didn't get around to it (notice any common themes going on here?) Last week, I noted 2 new areas of growth. Sometime this winter, I will try to trim it up again and get rid of some of the dead. It was pretty to look at, with its interesting foliage! Speaking of the pond. .it sure has been fun to watch the fish again. We had a green algae problem all summer, and so they were difficult to watch from indoors. We are hoping to rectify that with an ionic light next summer. But they have been busy all winter thus far, moving throughout their habitat and giving us. .and the cats. .a lot of enjoyment.
Not too many cuttings went in the greenhouse. .starts off both the black and the lime green sweet potato vines are doing well. Another succulent in the back that had damage is slowly reviving itself. Yesterday, Grant planted a couple of small planters with two varieties of lettuce mixes. .as well as a couple pots of purple basil, just for fun. And earlier in the weekend, I seeded some cabbage and flat leaf parsley. My bell peppers aren't growing fast at all. .the other night I saw some red and orange pepper varieties in Johnny's seed catalog that will be more suited to winter greenhouse growth. I think I will order some of those for next fall. I also noticed that they have some cucumber varieties well suited to our low light, cool temps of winter.
Our temperature is slated to be near 70 again tomorrow. I know that the majority of winter is still ahead. .but for now. .the nice spring temperatures are a welcome change!
I am hoping to kidnap my mom in a few weeks to go to Milford Lake on an eagle watch for the day!! I learned about it too late a couple years ago and couldn't go. .and then planned to go to Arkansas City last year to attend one of the watches that they host, but had to cancel because of other events. So, I am excited that, weather permitting. .I am headed for my first viewing of an eagle!
In the meantime, we're enjoying the climate. . and the radiant sunsets!!
Have a great week!!
Glad you stopped by!


  1. Ooo, have fun on the eagle watch! I hope you see one. Excited for the growth you have in your greenhouse!

  2. Hi Melanie-I'm excited for you to be going on an eagle watch. What fun!
    Our neighbor collects deer carcasses from hunters and puts them in his field to feed the local eagles. They are magnificent creatures.
    Harlan resevoir right by the Nebraska border has an abundance of them in March. Perhaps I can con you into coming up?
    The chard is beautiful. I can't believe you guys are in the 70's. We FINALLY got snow, though only 4 inches. At least we got out on the skis! Hooray!
    Have a great week, Melanie

  3. Did I tell you Dan and I saw an eagle on the way to Wichita Christmas shopping? It was right out side Kingmen, just sitting in a tree. Dan had talked me out of taking my camera, which quickly prompted a "SEE--I told you I need to take my camera EVERYTHING" argument! HAHA Had I had my camera with me, I totally would have made him turn around. ;)It was beautiful!
    I am so ready for spring to get here! Got lots of ideas to get me through these last few months with the winter blahs. I think I can, I think I can.

  4. I can't believe you have something blooming!
    It is crazy warm this week. Tomorrow is suppose to be even warmer.
    All I've done outside is pick up the trash that blew in with the snow. I don't want to walk in the beds as it is wet and muddy. That's good though. I'll take it.
    Love those tomatoes coming. I hope you get bunches.
    That greenhouse is so nice. Hope you get a lot of good things going to be ready for spring. We both know there is more cold coming. Enjoy the warmth while we have it!

  5. LOVE that sunset photo. I get to enjoy the beautiful sunrises most mornings on my way to school! One of these days I will remember to grab my camera on the way out the door.

  6. Enjoyed your pictures. Have fun when you go watch for eagles. :)

  7. Love that sunset photo!

    We saw an adult bald eagle on our way into Wichita a couple days ago - it was at a retainment pond by the Big Ditch near K-42 and Hoover Rd. Just keep your eyes open! I'm amazed at how many there are nowadays compared to 20 or 30 years ago.

    I hope you see a ton of them on your Eagle watch day!

  8. I loved that photo of the grass and the sunset. Those views and the stars are my favorite parts of winter. DJ

  9. I've never ate Swiss Chard, is it strong? Yea tomatoes! I can't get enough. Ha ha! It will be like opening a can without the label.
    Your Dracenia is doing good. Oh how I hate grasshoppers!
    Crazy weather her too. Cold one day and nice the next.