Where did the winter go?

We had some nights that went down well into the 20s F, but for the most part, this winter has been pretty mild. The plants in the greenhouse are doing well. The avocados may have survived or they may not. All of their leaves died. It looks like they might have some buds that will develop into new leaves, but I can’t tell for sure. The eucalyptus has survived all of the below freezing nights with no problems (so far, anyway). The lemongrass died back, but I think it will grow again in the spring. I can see at least one green blade coming up through the brown blades.

I’ve built a straw bale cold frame using a glass storm door that we replaced last year as the top. I planted cabbages in the tops of the bales, but I haven’t put anything inside it yet, although with luck, I’ll have some flats in it by later today. Some of the cabbages didn’t fare so well. It seems that new straw bales don’t hold onto water all that well, and because of some problems with the outdoor faucets, I haven’t been able to water them often enough. The crops I planted in the previous straw bales have all survived the winter, and are slogging along waiting for more daylight to really do their thing, I suppose.

I bought some watercress to use for juicing and discovered that they still had all of their root bundle on them, so instead of using them for juice, I planted them. I made a water garden for them out of a large bowl-shaped planter for the water, and a smaller bowl-shaped planter for the watercress itself, placed inside the larger container. I’m not sure how the watercress is faring. Time will tell, I suppose.

There are at least five anoles in permanent residence in the greenhouse, and there was a mature leaf footed bug, and one juvenile. The leaf footed bugs are no longer in the greenhouse. Or at least, those two are no longer in the greenhouse. Goodness knows if there are any others I haven’t seen yet.

The blueberry bushes and the fig tree are budding out nicely. The strawberries in the greenhouse have been sporadically producing fruit. The salsa delight peppers have been producing all winter. There is a baby eggplant and one blossom on the two eggplant plants, and two sweet pepper plants are producing fruit. The patchouli was blooming for a long time and it’s going to seed now. The potatoes encountered some problems, mostly because time constraints prevented me from getting all of the lights hung in the greenhouse and also from adding more soil to the potato bags in a timely manner. But they’re still hanging in there, and they’re definitely producing new tubers (some of them currently very tiny). The carrots seem to be doing well in their bags. At least they’re producing some nice foliage. I don’t know yet how their roots are doing so far.

The cardoon and golden beets are growing nicely. There are some very small tomato plants and some starter cups with seeds in them for peppers, tomatoes, and chamomile that have not sprouted yet. The cilantro is starting to die back and new cilantro plants are sprouting in the same planter. The pineapples are doing very well, as is the aloe.

I hung the strawberries from a wooden dowel (originally meant for being used as a railing) that I strung up parallel to the roof-ridge of the greenhouse. They’re doing pretty well there. The fiberglass window screen that I’m using instead of shade cloth is doing a good job of keeping the greenhouse from overheating so far, although I expect it won’t be long before I’ll need to put a fan in the doorway.

Much of my time the last few months has been devoted to dealing with mold remediation. The crawl space under the house has humidity problems, which might account for a lot of the health issues I’ve been dealing with for a while. I’ve installed a dehumidifier in the crawl space and closed it up. Hopefully this will help me get more done through having fewer sick days and also having more energy overall. Fingers crossed. I think I’m going to need to remove all of the insulation currently under the house and spray all of the joists with hydrogen peroxide, though, before the air is as healthy as it can be in the house.

Some pictures from the last few months:

Greenhouse in January

1-12-13 January Greenhouse 640

January Peppers

1-12-13 January Peppers 640

January Strawberries

1-12-13 January Strawberries 640

Straw Bale Cold Frame and Beds

1-14-13 Straw Bale Cold Frame and Beds 2 640

January Greenhouse at Night

1-24-12 Greenhouse and Straw Bale Cold Frame 640

Watercress Garden

1-24-12 Watercress Garden 640

Hanging Strawberries

1-24-13 January Greenhouse 640

Calendula Blossom

2-12-13 Calendula 640

Cardoon and Golden Beets

2-12-13 Golden Beets and Cardoon 640

This was a birthday present from my husband. It has helped me tremendously with all kinds of work in the garden and also in other areas.

1-14-13 Garden Cart 640

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