January is a big month for cleanup and preparation for the upcoming season. We have been busy cleaning up, pruning ,trimming and hauling away vegetation. We started with the greenhouse, cleaning up our capillary mat for the new seedlings that we are starting. We removed the old mat, cleaned the plastic cover and water trough. We bought a new roll of capillary mat from Farmtek because we also need to replace our mat system in our propagation house too.
We cut a new piece of mat for the table and made sure it dipped into the water trough.
And then we were back in business with a new year of growing seedlings under a bank of lights and watering them through the capillary mat. Check out our video on our YouTube channel on making this capillary mat system.
Another big job is to get our test garden boxes whipped back in shape. This area is not our major growing site but a place where I can try new and different flowers to see if we would like to grow them in the future in a bigger way. These boxes were the original spot we tried growing ranunculus and anemones before we had hoop-houses. This area quite often can get away from us and get out of control, but every year we are always hopeful that we will conquer and keep this area mess free and producing some interesting varieties. We have a couple more days of work before we can call this completed and ready to go.
Another area to get cleaned up is our peony beds. We removed the old peony growth and most of the larger weeds and then laid down some tarps in between the rows to control any weeds. We have a thistle problem there that will more need attention from us throughout the Spring and Summer months. Our last step will be to apply azomite and cottonseed meal then top dress the beds with 1" of compost to mulch and smother the smaller weeds.
Its amazing, being the latter part of January and the peonies are already raring to go!
We mowed all the adjacent areas and are set to put the tarps down. We'll anchor all these tarps with sandbags. The peony rows are 100' long so we'll cut the tarps to the same length. The roll of poly weave landscape fabric is the same that many folks use with burned holes to plant through. The roll pictured is 6' wide 300'. We'll put 100' strips folded in half on each side of each bed in the pathways and leave it there till about April then we'll use the tarps else where on the Farm to occultate beds.
We also have been seeding up a storm getting our delphinium, godetia, sweet peas, and foxglove done.
We sow foxglove into 3/4 inch mini blocks and the above photo is showing freshly sprouted Dalmatian Peach foxglove. The last group seeded this week was the Camelot series. Both of these varieties will bloom this year from this early seeding. We have a biennial variety called Candy Mountain foxglove that was planted in the field last fall and needs overwintering and cold temps to bloom this late spring. Below are some photos of these babes in bloom.
Dalmatian Peach & Creme Foxgloves
After dark, we have been putting together a few apps that we need to have on our phones. We get so tired of keeping track of endless reams of paper and never having the right info handy. Farmer Tony created a few apps that now connect us to our Master Data base on Google sheets via our phones. They are so handy and convenient, the info is right at your fingertips. He did a video of his first app on our YouTube channel called Whats App with That. This is a really handy program that lets you create mobile apps that are linked to one or more google sheet spreadsheets. The other apps we use often and have created will be shared here in the future and on our YouTube channel.
Farmer Tony on Saturday Afternoon relearned a hard lesson about safety on the Farm. While he attempted to load a mower in the back of our utility cart he slipped and did a face plant nose first in the mud. Looks like he did 3 rounds in a boxing ring! It looks bad but it wasn't, just a little bloody nose to remind him to be more careful. He says he wanted to include an important safety tip in our blog this week.....
So we end this weeks episode on a more positive and forward looking thought. Until next week.......
"Anyone who thinks that gardening begins in the spring and ends in the fall is missing the best part of the whole year. For gardening begins in January with the dream." ~Josephine Nuese~