Wishetwurra Farm Garden Report, December 2014

The report is late, almost four weeks late. The first two weeks were because of “no camera”. The next week-plus of “no post” was because of sloth, and because other topics shoved their way to the front of the line. This morning it’s warm and starry. It’s forty-one degrees at five in the morning. That’s warm for this time of year.

November gripped us briefly with a nip of a cold spell, enough to kill most of the tender plants, but since then our weather has been wet and mild. Since the drought broke at the very end of September, we have fully “caught up” on rainfall. Next year, Jim Athearn will surely get a hay crop.

Christmas looks like it will be well-watered, windy, and warm. NOAA is warning of a Christmas Eve and Christmas day storm. What do they say? “A STRONG LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM WILL PASS WEST OF SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND ON CHRISTMAS EVE INTO CHRISTMAS MORNING.THIS SYSTEM WILL BRING HEAVY RAINFALL WITH POTENTIAL FOR SOME URBAN/POOR DRAINAGE FLOODING. “NOAA always “yells” like that. I think it’s a holdover from when they communicated by teletype.

NOAA predicts a high temperature of 58°F this coming Christmas Day. In my lifetime I have experienced Christmas Eves as warm as sixty and as cold as seven degrees below zero fahrenheit. I was maybe ten years old, that cold night, when George and Hattie Jacobs stopped by for a visit. Before he came in the house, he put a big old blanket on the hood of his 1950’s Packard, to try to hold in some of the engine heat, so it would still start when it was time to go back down-island. That was a cold night. The next morning at dawn we took pennies and pressed them against the layer of ice on the inside of our windows, for the pleasure of watching the frost regrow in less than half a minute.

Let’s go up the ladder.

The “North”.



Upper garden. Green is mostly gone. Manure mulched with seaweed covers the asparagus patch. Also under the seaweeded areas are next year’s beds of garlic. The line of green 2/3rds of the way down is parsnip and root parsley. At very bottom, the fading patch of green is oats cover crop on manure.

The “Middle”.


Strawberries fade in the near row. We have not mulched the plants yet, it’s been so warm. One of these days I’ll go get a load of pine needles, to be ready to cover the plants when the chill finally comes. The irregular green patches are weeds (chickweed) and volunteer corn salad (mâche). Very little has been done in this section, other than puttering-level cleanup.

The “South”.


The far end (“Mexico”) has late-sown oats, struggling along. They are saying “You should have planted us sooner”. Sorry about that, oats. The short rows of green are bunching onions, cole crops that are hanging in there, and the winter’s leeks. They should be heavily mulched, and soon, if we want to have decent leeks for the rest of the cold time.

We’ve had so little frost that there’s still some lettuce alive, outside. Good weather for shovelling manure. And getting seaweed for mulch. I’ve gotten seven truckloads of seaweed so far this year. The manure tally for the year-to-date is thirty-two truckloads, all of it horse manure. The poo came from five different sources. Remarkably, each manure pile is different, and yields different qualities of “product”. I try to reward the piles’ owners with bags of produce from the garden. It helps make them happy.

Light is increasing in the east. A deck of clouds is moving in, also from the east.

I’ll post some garden close-ups in the near future.

But right now it’s time for a pair of toast….


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