January in Ohio is tough on the gardener as we have at least 2 months until working our outside gardens is feasible. But today on 1/4/2014, the Snarky Gardener had the opportunity to play in the dirt. I’d been soaking 4 rosemary cuttings and it was time to pot them up. Easy work as I just stuck the rooty ends into the small pots, poured the dirt in, and watered briefly. Luckily I had some starter soil and pots in the house so I didn’t have to make the treacherous trip out into the snow and cold to my storage shed. I’ll have to admit it was fun to get my hands dirty on this winter’s day. These starts are for my January swaps – the Countryside Conservancy food swap and the Food Not Lawns Cleveland seed swap on 1/25.
Another reason for my dirt play date is the box I received yesterday from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. I ordered a full set of soil blockers and wanted to see how they worked. I bought 2 blockers – one that produces 20 – 3/4″ square blocks and another that makes 4 -2″ X 2″ blocks. The really cool part is I added an Insert Set with “dibbles” to my order which will make 3/4″ square indentions on top of the 2″ X 2″ blocks. This way the smaller start blocks can be added later to bigger blocks as the seeds grow out. There was also an available single 4″ X 4″ blocker but it was a little out of my price range for now ($99 normally but just went on sale for $93.60 until March). As you can see by the picture above, I planted lavender, mint and sage. The mint and sage seeds are a few years old, so I’m dubious if they will germinate. But if they do, I’ll have more starts for my swaps 🙂
This fall we’ve had serious snow twice so far (several inches each time) here in Northeastern Ohio. While most people have not even thought about their gardens since the first freeze back in October, the early snow had me worried. Many of my fall duties were incomplete, including digging up and bringing in my rosemary herbs (they died out there last winter – sniff). Also, the fall leaves I gathered into big honking piles did not get as distributed as I would have liked. I found out this summer that some plants (lettuce, spinach, kale, turnips, peas, corn salad) could be covered with mulch 5 or 6 inches deep in the fall to “overwinter” them. Then in mid-March, you just pull off the leaves and viola, they will start growing again. Nifty trick having food producing plants when other unsnarky gardeners are still planning for the summer. Anyways, I was finally able to finish these tasks on 12/4/2013 with most of my fall babies no worse for wear.
If you look at the pictures below, you will notice some of my plants didn’t do as well by December (especially the sad Swiss chard in the middle foreground). In the back left, my mustard is going to seed, which is good because I needed more for cooking and next year’s crop. But you will also see that there’s quite a bit of green considering it’s December in Ohio. On the right foreground, my purple top turnips are looking great. I will thin these out (yum) and mulch the rest in the next week or so. Also, near the Swiss chard, you should be able to make out bright green areas near the ground. That’s my corn salad and onions, all ready to eat. We used them plus mustard greens, carrots, and kale to make a wonderfully fresh salad (again, in December in Ohio).
P.S. I don’t think “unsnarky” is a word, but with use it will soon become one.
On 11/19/2013, the Snarky Gardener attended the Countryside Conservancy Food Swap held at The Grape and Granary (915 Home Ave, Akron OH). Advertised as a monthly event to “trade homegrown and homemade items with other DIY-ers”, it did not disappoint. The Snarky Girlfriend (aka SGF) talked the SG into attending the swap two months ago with encouraging results, trading our organic herbs and greens for other things (including beer!). This time was better as we were much more prepared.
First, we needed to decide what to bring. Thanksgiving herbs (rosemary, thyme, and sage) seemed a natural and straight forward decision. The next idea we came up with was baking dog treats. These used up our organic wheat (which the SGF is intolerant of) plus we added our mint and parsley. My terrier River was a willing taste tester. I was concerned she wouldn’t like them, though that was sort of silly as she’ll eat pretty much anything. Our third idea was to put some “adult” herb infused vodka marshmallows into little jars. We made this with our basil, thyme, and rosemary a few months ago after seeing it on Pinterest. The SGF used her crafting skills to make our offerings appear more professional though I would love to get some sealable plastic bags with the Snarky Gardener logo. Of course, I need to get an official logo first. Any suggestions?
The event went well as we traded 2 jars of adult marshmallows, 3 bags of doggy treats, and all 3 bags of herbs. In return, we received bags of wheat and corn flour from Breakneck Acres, the same place we purchased the whole wheat that was used in the dog treats (ah, the circle of life). Also, we got lip balm, chocolate covered pretzels, cookies, bars, and canned goods (all homemade). All in all, not a bad haul. So now we have to come up with what we will bring to the swap next month, though I’m sure they will all have a Christmas theme.