Wednesday, November 27, 2013

We Was Robbed!

     Winter arrived three weeks early this year -- much to my dismay. The temperatures in Chicago in mid November are the coldest they have been in 20 years. This is grist for the mill of my North Carolina friends, who are offering to mail me some of their tomato plants. I hope they get plastered by the big storm heading their way.

     I got caught in the middle of putting my yard to bed. The essentials were accomplished. I drained my rain barrels and brought my pump indoors. With a heavy heart I harvested all of my Brussels sprouts. They do fine in temperatures in the '20's, but I was not sure about 14 degrees and did not want to find out. So we now have enough Brussels sprouts to skip the turkey tomorrow.

     I also managed to dump my compost tumbler into the garden. The partially composted material is still sitting there in a heap, but at least it is not frozen in the drum for the rest of the winter. My snow peas -- a great source of nitrogen -- are lying about on top of the soil as well. I usually till both the peas and my compost into the soil to decompose over the winter.

     I did not have time to get in my hoses, but I at least took the various nozzles off so that any water inside that expanded as it froze would have a place to go.

     This year I found myself with a dozen or more shrubs that I did not have a chance to plant. They would be doomed to an early demise if exposed to the winter winds. Fortunately, I did have time to plant them, pot and all, in what had been my pole bean bed. The top of the pots are even with the soil surface and I have a layer of mulch spread over all. So far they are doing well. I just need to find them a home before the beans need to be planted next spring.

     I still have hopes for a winter thaw. I can then bring in all the hoses and till in all the compost scattered over the garden. I might even be able to plant a few shrubs, though I suspect that is the Utopian in me speaking. Meanwhile we can dream of an early spring, and a spring that is not too wet, and .... Hope springs eternal.

     I wish all a happy Thanksgiving.

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