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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Catching Up

It is supposed to snow tonight.  At first, the forecast was for 1-3", then 2-4", then 4-8".  So Winter starts...

I spent the past 2 weeks getting the yard ready for Winter while the temperatures were till in the 50s.  Mostly small stuff like pulling out the dead tomato and pepper and corn plants.  Harvesting the last of the carrots and celery (leaves only here). 

But a few major things.  I have 2 toolsheds.  One is 25 years old and a tree fell on it about 5 years ago.  Poked a few holes in the roof.  Which didn't matter much since I didn't put anything under the leaks.  But I replaced the shelves and wanted to use them, so I slipped new shingles over the holes.  That didn't work. 

The roof needs replacing, but I didn't have the time.  So I screwed on a piece of 2'x8' plywood over the holes and caulked around the edges.  That will work until Spring when I can replace the entire roof. 

Two toolsheds may seem a lot (both 8'x12'), but I have a lot of equipment and a dislike of having to move 4 things to get at one).

I put a bag over the new metal hose reel.  The manufacturers say the powder coating should last many years, but I think protecting it in Winter will make it last longer, so why not?

I had black plastic sheeting covering the 30' round bulb bed all Summer to kill weeds and keep the bulbs dry (bulbs like dry soil).  It was pretty much used up and brittle, but I spread it out off to the side and cut it into pieces.  I folded those up 3x to make some weed and grass smothering over winter in the flowerbeds.  Come Spring, I should have no weeds to fight with when I want to plant annual flowers.

I also used some to cover the garden paths.  They are paver squares on gravel, but weeds even grow in THAT, but they won't do well covered for 4 months.  With luck, the paths won't have weeds to fight with in April.

I also pruned briars to the ground.  They thrive here with the least bit of inattention and I was very inattentive this year.  I can only do so much.  Cutting them back will cause the roots to diminish (not being fed by the leaves) and digging them out next year will be easier. 

I filled the trailer with plant debris too tough to compost (thorns seem to survive forever), and planned to bring them to the County Brush Composting site (where they can get huge piles that even decompose thorns) last Saturday (the only day they operate November though March) but I stayed up too late and is is going to snow tomorrow.  Figures...

I'll get there tomorrow if the snow fails or next Saturday.  Between 7:30 am to noon, I can get a free load of mulch in return for the debris.  I'll spread it over the bulb bed to keep down the weeds.  Actually, I think it will take 3 loads to make a 3" thick layer, but I can manage that even in cold weather.

I have 2 large pots of Snake Plants.  I took one rootball out and divided it into pieces.  The plants grow thick tangled roots and are not easily separatable, so I just cut them apart with an old serrated Ginsu knife and put the best pieces in eight 6" pots with new potting soil.  They are slow-growing and have energy reserves in the thick roots, so I won't know if they are growing until I see new leaves probably in a few months.

Meanwhile, I have another pot of them in a wide shallow ceramic bowl that I can't pull the plants out of.  I'll try soaking the pot in a large bucket for a few days, but I expect I'll have to break the pot to get at the roots.  I have a very useful plastic container 2'x3' and that will help.

I took some variegated ivy that were in small 6-pack cells all Summer and grew long stems while I wasn't paying attention.  I cut the stems of one into short sections to make more, and I set the others into 4" pots in new soil.  I may end up with a dozen ivy plants.  I'm thinking of hanging a pipe from the ceiling and supported a 6' planter box of them from it to make a "waterfall" of them.  Watering could could get drippy, so I'll need a shallow box below them.  I don't know of a product like that, so I'll have to build one.

The 6 cuttings of my original Waxy Hoya plant all seem to be rooting well, and I'll need to find a place for them too. 

Between the Waxy Hoyas, the Snake Plants, and the Ivies, I need a lot more light.  In Spring to Fall, some can be out on the deck, but Winter is a problem.  I think I need to make another light stand designed for tall and hanging plants.  Well, that will give me something to design and build over Winter.

And that doesn't count de-clutterring the basement.  With the old toolshed secure from rain (I hope, and am waiting to see), I can move a lot of stuff in there.

With more basement space free, I can get at the regular Winter project of making new starter/potting soil.  I like making my own.  It's cheaper, but I also get to make it right.  new fertilizer, and a good blend of peat moss (that I sift into powder myself), vermiculite, sifted compost, and fine sand.   It works for me and I fill a large trash barrel with it.  Which is the amount I use up each Spring.



I sure won't be bored before Spring!

1 comment:

Megan said...

Sounds like you've got enough to keep you busy Mark. Don't you find that ivy attracts mosquitoes? We've pulled ivy out around our garden for that reason.

Megan
Sydney, Australia