This freezing cold weather means that I have been mostly hiding indoors. I try to make sure I walk around the garden at least once a day; thanks to my in-laws, the garden is full of evergreen trees and bushes and there is much to look at and admire, even in the dead of winter. Most days I only dump the kitchen compost into the bin or cut some greenery, then run back inside. Today the weather was clear enough that I spent some time harvesting a big bowl of kale for dinner and doing some winter bed maintenance.
Although it is easy to forget about the veggies in winter, here are a few winter maintenance things that need doing:
- Clear leaves, small branches and other debris that has fallen or blown into the beds.
- Remove all the dead or rotting leaves. I cleared out the kale leaves that are discolored or starting to wilt. I removed any leaves that had died (chives, rhubarb). I didn’t touch the lettuce and chard leaves as the plants might miraculously come back to life in spring. The leeks are still growing strong.
- Pull weeds. They grow all year and easily take over the beds when it gets warmer.
Last year I covered my winter crops with a cold frame to provide a hospitable winter environment for slugs and other insects. This year I left the plants uncovered, and even with the snow last week, the kale is surviving very well and seems to be growing.
The indoor winter gardening has been much more intensive. My lemon tree has been living in my bathroom since before the first frost in November and appears to be suffering. That plant now qualifies as a pet; every day I check the soil for moisture and pick up fallen leaves. Every day the tree spends some quality time with the SAD lamp to get some full spectrum light. Each week I spray the tree for pests.
On the bright side, I do enjoy having the lemon tree in my bathroom. I speak to it each morning. Every time it blooms, it fills my bathroom with a gorgeous scent that reminds me of Spain and gives my heart a lift. And I look forward to spring when I can take it out on my balcony again.