Yesterday it was 58 degrees here in Baltimore. I could feel my body aching for time in the dirt. This kids and I spent a couple hours outside playing with the chickens and tending to the very confused garlic plants. I planted the garlic around Halloween and they are growing really well. We have had such a mild fall that I am worried that they are going to die when it gets really cold outside, they have already grown about 4 inches. I mulched them and covered them with straw, but I might have to add more straw if snow comes.
We have been collecting supplies for the green house, the grow beds and new raised beds. There is going to be another round of lay offs at my husbands job so we are holding off building anything until we find out if he still has a job. So far we have collected at least half the recycled windows for the green house and we have an arrangement with a local window replacement company to be able to go back anytime for the rest.
In order to satisfy my dirt craving we are going to build a cold frame this weekend using some recycle lumber and the windshield of my old jeep wrangler. I am going to plant some lettuce, collard greens and cabbage. I am looking forward to watching things grow.
The chicken coop has been insulated for the winter, even though they have not needed it very much. We have had only about 10 nights below freezing. The only difference that we have noticed in the chickens with the slightly cooler weather is they are eating about twice as much as they did in the summer. To help keep the feed cost down I try to let them run around for at least an hour a day in the backyard. They really enjoy the worms, salamanders and slugs that they find. We have also started sorting our compost into two bins. One bin is the tissues, potato peelings, onions and coffee grounds that the chickens can not have. The other bin is everything else. The chickens are getting all the other table scraps, which they think is just a wonderful idea.
For extra compost I have been getting scraps from a market in a near by town. I have also been collecting leaves from friends who I know do not have dogs. We are in need of as much dirt as possible, especially with 6 new raised beds going in this year. During my last trip to see some friends in Virgina I came home with a cooler of beef and a rubber maid tote of cow manure. There is some hot composting in our future.
What do you do in your garden during the winter?