It’s been unseasonably warm here for January- It’s been 25 straight days without frost! To give that some context, last year we didn’t have 25 frost-free days in a row until the 24th of May. Now, weather is fickle, so a cold snap could happen at any time. Or, we could just have a really, really mild winter. Only time will tell- so I’m going to get a jump on the growing season with frost hardy plants like arugula, spinach, and peas. I also am going to move up my sowing date of a few other things: beets, orach, and indoors- eggplant.

Last Sunday, I was able to spend some time out in the garden, so in addition to pruning the apple and pear trees, I sowed arugula. I’m slowly reclaiming part of my yard from blackberries and bindweed, so this is what my arugula patch looks like right now:

It doesn’t look like much now, but it will soon! (I hope.) Of course to get it to this point, I had to clip back blackberry vines, pull out bindweed roots, and rake off the debris. Last year I started to process by weed whacking back the blackberries and then rototilling and digging up the root clusters that I could. From this point, I’m hoping to do minimal digging, to prevent exposing even more weed seeds to light, maintain soil structure, and avoid disturbing or accidentally killing any hibernating bees or amphibians. That, of course, means that there will be a lot of blackberry clipping and bindweed pulling in my future. On the plus side, I’ve heard that every year, the vigor of blackberries is reduced to 10% of what it was before you clipped it, so hopefully this year will be a lot easier than last year. 

I also sowed some arugula using the winter sowing method- except I don’t have any milk jugs laying around, so I sowed the seeds in an old tray, and then covered that with an old unused 20 gallon aquarium. We’ll see how much of a boost that gives them.

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