January: Monthly review

spinach polytunnel compressed  A potager first!  Here is a January crop of spinach, and I picked a large bowl.  That was all I could reach from the end I could get open.  The three other sides were so frozen I couldn’t get access.  Granted one bowl is not overwhelming, but it’s the first ever January harvest for this old gardener here in the north, and I’m thrilled just to know it can happen.  I waited for a (relatively speaking) warm (20 degrees F) sunny, and still day to open the polytunnel to harvest, and hope there will be enough sunshine and growth to make another picking next month! Regardless, it was very satisfying to be able to make the first entry  of “Jan. 28 spinach…1/2 lb.” in the 2019 Harvest Journal!  I’ll definitely expand the polytunnel growing for next winter.  potager january  All in all, January has been frigid here in central Indiana, with temperatures going as low as minus 17F one night earlier in the month,  a sunny -15 daytime on Wednesday and remaining in the single digits or below zero at night for days at a time.  While this may not be cold to some readers, it is cold for this area, even in January.  Snowfall has basically been absent; just a skiff now and then, so there’s been no insulating blanket of snow to protect plants during these frigid days and nights.  If you look carefully, you’ll see that the grass is not even covered with the skimpy 1 1/2″ of snow present.  Sunshine has been pretty absent as well.  For the first time in 25 years, we’ve had to put a heater in the garage to keep it above freezing for all my canned goods stored out there, the baskets of potatoes and squash, and the braids on the allium rack.

On a happier note, the first seeding has been completed and daily checking brings  rejoicing at each new bit of green.  The hollyhocks germinated in only 5 days, with the shastas, golden feverfew, rudbeckia and gaillardia quickly following.  All of these were in the “light” flat.  So far,  nothing in the “dark” flat has emerged.  Possibly just the bit of heat from the lights made the difference.  The next seeding is scheduled for Feb. 1st so today will be a fun one!   Amaryllis bulbs were started in January, garden journals set up for the new year, and seeds organized.  Otherwise, there’s more innovative cooking to use up pantry items and reading thick books with cups of hot tea, and daydreaming than usual.  The wind howls, but in my mind the sun is shining and the flowers are blooming!  And what did I make with my bowl of spinach?  Well, half was used to make a delicious spinach frittata  spinach frittata for a dinner meal.  The other half will become a spinach salad.  January gets a hearty “Farewell” and February is welcomed with hope and excitement.




About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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13 Responses to January: Monthly review

  1. crossbuckle says:

    Yum! Frittata looks delicious. I am putting my seed order in today but wont actually start them until later in the month. Those first few glimpses of green are so fantastic!


    • carolee says:

      Yes, I love my daily check on the little green babies in the basement, especially today after 6″ of snow. I’m taking some photos, as they say it will be gone by tomorrow and next week is 50’s and rain, rain, rain!


  2. bcparkison says:

    And I thought we were cold. Goodness I don’t think we could servive in minus but of course we have done this in the way long agos. It must be an ageing thing. I once wasn’t fazed by cold now it is a different story. Nothing coming out of my hoop but then nothing has of yet been planted. The lemon tree may be ok and the garlic chives are endless but that is all. Hopefull with alittle warm up I’ll be prompted to get to work out side. In the mean time I stay in the craft room by the heater.


    • carolee says:

      I’m sure your time in the craft room is well spent! You do beautiful work. My garlic chives are mush, as are the regular chives, both in the potager’s interior border. I have a lemon nearly ready to pick, but my tree is in the basement in front of the sliding glass doors. It couldn’t survive outdoors even with protection of some sort.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Woo-hoo! Wonderful about the spinach. Even by Maine standards, your weather has been quite brisk. We have been having cold weather, too, although not as cold as you. But, we have a nice blanket of snow to help protect the plants. Will be interested in hearing how yours pull through.


  4. Great news picking spinash in January, very rewarding!
    I checked on my babies this morning and made a horrible scoffing sound, hubby happened to be standing behind me and mentioned that indeed the plants understand what I’m saying to them and I should be nicer. The scoffing was due to the fact that more sweet peas are coming up in the carnation flat….this is embarrassing to me because I thought I was being super careful, how in the world would they have gotten there with me being super careful!!!!
    We are supposed to get snow on Sunday – I’m kinda looking forward to it, but only down to 32, so it’s not going to stick around long.


    • carolee says:

      If you are fairly certain you did put dianthus seeds in those pots, you may want to gently move the sweet pea seeds out to new pots. Or, could the labels have been moved by little fingers helping? That’s happened to me more than once. Don’t be embarrassed…it’s happened in one way or another to all of us!


  5. Sharon says:

    Yay spinach. My ‘giant winter’ is not at all giant and I’ve moved into the polytunnel! Have you been affected by the polar vortex?


    • carolee says:

      It was certainly blitzing cold, and we had one frozen pipe to battle, but overall we just stayed indoors. The snow is already gone, causing some local flooding with such a fast melt but we are on high ground. Hmmm. “Giant Winter” is in my seedbox, and I was hoping it really does have giant leaves. Spinach is a heavy feeder, but grows more slowly in winter. What I’ve noticed is that the leaves are thicker in both varieties in my polytunnel than the leaves in a spring-grown crop. Do you see that as well?


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