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. 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 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.