Most of the plants in my garden have long ago succumbed to the cold weather, but there are still a few hints of life around the farm if you know where to look. When I set out with my camera to document these hardy plants, I was pretty surprised to notice that my elderberry bush is beginning to set new shoots, in December. While I would have never expected this plant to begin growing when the sun is far away and the tempuratures are even lower, the whole process may hold some secrets to cloning elderberry bushes. I’ve tried in the past to clone the bushes in the spring, and now I’m thinking it may be best to attempt cloning while the canes are very cold.
When I got to the garden, I was hoping to see thriving Swiss Chard plants, but none were found. In fact most of the cool hardy plants in my winter garden are going to seed, with only my garlic, a few turnips and Brussels Sprouts left to display to green colors that keep me planting. I’m very happy to have the brussel sprouts doing so well, but I must admit these are my first plants, and I’m not quite sure what to expect from them, and even more importantly when to expect it. There are lots of little sprouts on these plants, and they taste good, but I don’t think they should be eaten just yet.
Moving away from the garden, I walked down to my rock garden, where I planted a second batch of garlic. I had planted an early crop of garlic in July (As Good a Time as Any), but I wanted to plant an additional batch at the correct time to ensure a healthy supply of garlic. I’m a huge fan of garlic, and this will hopefully be the best results I have with this tasty plant so far. To prepare the ground, I dug up some garden soil, mixed in some sandy silt from a nearby stream, then added lots of manure, epson salt, bio-char, and pot-ash to make this one of the most fertile beds of soil on the farm. After taking this picture I spread an inch thick layer of hay and straw to protect the bulbs from the bitter cold in February, and help block weeds from growing in the spring.