Is the Cold Nipping at Your Nose?-Try these winter warm ups

Is the cold nipping your nose? I thought I would come up with some winter warm ups.

This cold weather is stretching it out to the point of unbearable (even for us in the south). It is currently 33 degrees at noon time in Georgia.The wind is frosting my ears today. I did at least find my other glove yesterday. With these nippy temps I threw on my long johns underneath all the other layers of clothing and gave out some hay and hot water for the animals to keep them warm. About the best they can do is to lay or stand in the sun to maintain some warmth.

Our garden over the cooler winter months consisted of broccoli, cabbage and collard greens. Before the first major cold snap we were able to grab all the broccoli heads (they were beautiful and delicious). The collard greens were scavenged by something (not quite sure what it was). The cabbage came in beautifully but not big enough to pick yet. Leaving it out, the second wave of bitter cold is taking it also. So I say “back to the drawing board”.

chickens 001Since I hate being confined to the indoors I thought I would share with you what we’ve been doing during these cold months, while sipping some hot coffee.

The garden is always on my mind. The January warm-up consists of purchasing some new seeds

We will be experimenting with carrots, lettuce, spinach, lupines, lemon grass, basil, lavender and zinnias. Along with potatoes, tomatoes, beans, corn, watermelon and pumpkin. Draw  the vegetable layout.

gardendesignDid the purchasing and drawing warm you up yet? We’re getting there. Maybe some physical activity will help. Bundle up, we’re heading outside.

It’s time to clean up and freshen up. Turning soil and preparing for spring planting. Raking leaves. If you are planning any raised beds as we are this year, you might consider constructing them now. We’ve been having difficulty with root vegetable in our garden. I’ve introduced a raised bed specifically for the carrots. Hoping that the root will develop better. At the moment I’ve added two layers of compost, the bottom is layered in goat compost and the top is layered with composted horse manure.

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Next, I cut back the garden border and set in posts so I could run fencing across the front. Placing in position two pallets which we are using for gates, I still have to get the hinges for the gates. By doing this we can allow the chickens to free-range during the day without disturbing the garden.

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I just came back in from taking these pictures. I also took the goats some hot water and molasses (they love it). I had to come in and thaw out. Granted, no one is outside for long.

We have some cold-hardy chickens. They don’t mind laying their eggs with the wind up their skirts. We have Araucana chickens and roosters, also black sex-linked hens, and comets. We’ve lined the upper coop with hay and leaves and blocked the coop from strong winds. Other than that-nothing more.

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Are you warmed up yet? Let’s go back indoors and thaw out a bit more.

Another bit of preparation you can do is maybe grow starter plants. We were able to take some potatoes that the “eyes” were forming. Slicing off a bit of potato with the skin and “eye” and setting them in a pan until it’s planting time. You don’t need to add water to the pan, just allow them to sit.

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Traditionally, here in Georgia, potato planting takes place on Valentine’s Day. For us, potatoes have been our “sacrifice” crop as the ants took over in the past. This year I am constructing a potato crib outside the garden area filling it with compost and soil. I am hoping for better results.

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The picture above is a tray of starters. There are apple trees from saved seeds. Also are peaches, green pepper and carrots. The plant medium is compost.

I hope these few activities have warmed you up some. The most important one (for me), keep thinking warm thoughts. Sometimes it’s difficult when your limbs are frozen stiff and everything outside looks so drab. Warmer days are coming!

Happy gardening friends.

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