In an interview I did with Scott Terry I mentioned that we would be planting in the garden in February. Being from northern New York he was amazed. Well, Scott, it’s almost February and we’re planting!
I’m sure it’s hard for some of our readers in more northern parts of the country (or other countries) to fathom that we’re talking about spring in January. Actually, we pretty much start talking spring the day after the winter solstice. When we read directions on seed packages that say, “Sow in early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked” we get confused. According to the calendar early spring is in March and we (at least my grandson Oran) could very well be swimming on planting day. (Of course it could also be snowing, but the capriciousness of Oklahoma weather would take a post of it’s own.) On the other hand, we don’t have a spring thaw of a heavy snow cover to contend with, so if the moisture is there the soil can almost always be worked. Our limiting factors are the presence of the right amount of moisture for cultivation and the burn ban which almost always kicks in sometime in January or February. We were talking today that we are thankful that God led us to get our plowing and burning done last week as there’s no moisture in the forecast and we expect the burn ban any day.
So, what have we been up to? Yesterday was goat barn cleaning day. Lemmie and Rosie, our LaMancha does, could start kidding as early as the 30th, so it was time to freshen the barn and pens for the new babies.
From a day’s good exercise we were blessed with a nice sized pile of good stuff for the garden. We’ll let it break down for another month or so before we use it.
Today we planted onion sets, mulching them well so they wouldn’t experience too much warm/cold fluctuation. We usually don’t plant our onions until around Valentine’s Day, but thought we would try it a bit earlier this year to try to produce a bigger and more mature bulb before the summer heat shuts them down. We also transplanted onions that overwintered to produce seed in early summer. The varieties are Violet de Galmi from Africa and Australian Brown. In addition we made plantings of caraway, cilantro and dill.
We worked a while on the Hugelkultur-type bed. Our woods provide lots of great material for Hugelkultur and it’s something we want to pursue to a greater extent in the future. The bed in the foreground was built last year. The further bed is under construction and will require probably another 6 or 8 wheelbarrow loads of punky wood before topping it with another 6 or 8 loads of humus-y soil. The roosters in the left upper corner have an appointment with dumplings soon.
Someone, maybe Will Rogers, once said something like “If you don’t like the weather in Oklahoma just wait 5 minutes. It will change.” Well, it’s a fact. Today was over 70. Tomorrow will struggle to get above freezing, a good day for butchering a 26-month-old freemartin heifer. We haven’t done a cow in 20 years and are studying up tonight. More to come. . .