It’s hard to believe that this is the final monthly review for 2020, the Year without End, that mercifully has finally ended. It’s strange that time has both “seemed to fly” and “seemed to stand still” throughout the months. Maybe it’s because each day was relatively the same, with no meetings to attend, no community activities, no visitors or travel. Only in the gardens did time march steadily on, with plants coming and going right on schedule, and differing chores marking the seasons. So, with the end of December achieved, here’s the monthly review:
Weather-wise, December was about average for central Indiana but with less snow than usual. I should have taken a photo, because mid-month there was a dandelion blooming in the lawn near the potager! Surprisingly, there were only 8 sunny December days, but I made the most of them. All the summer furniture was moved into the gazebo. The fairy houses and decor were stowed away in the basement; hoses were detached, rolled up and stored; pea fences and buckets stacked. The Lady Cottage got a good tidy up. Best of all, the final two berry boxes were completed and three were put to use as cold frames. And, while the stain/sealer was drying on the last two berry boxes, I stained the Lady Cottage door which badly needed it. There was some weeding done in the potager and lots of cardboard and compost added to top off empty raised beds.
There was no outdoor planting done, and no seeds sown indoors. However, the third and fourth amaryllis bulbs were planted to provide some much-needed cheer in the coming bleak winter months, and the first of the hyacinth bulbs were planted as well.
Harvest wise, it was record production for December! I’m slowly learning what works well here in central Indiana (Zone 4b or 5a, depending upon the map.) Of course the milder weather helped. Last year most of the season-end crops were dug in November, mainly out of my fear they would turn to mush. But, I learned that many of them could actually withstand temperatures in the teens and frozen ground so this year more were left into December, and some trial rows are being left into January. We’ll see if I’m sorry about that decision later on, won’t we? Fifty and one-half pounds (50.5) of produce was harvested this month: turnips, leeks, carrots, red cabbages, lettuces, parsnips, and herbs (cilantro, chives, parsley, mint, rosemary, thyme.) Spinach and kale could have been picked, but in an effort to use up the more delicate lettuces, they were left in the cold. No doubt they will appear in the January list. Last year’s December total was 13.5 so that’s a major jump. It was certainly nice to have an array of fresh vegetables for holiday meals. All of the vegetables harvested were either used as picked, or are now residing in the cool garage awaiting use.
There was no preserving done this month, other than collecting the leaves dropped from the lemon verbena plant moved indoors. They will most likely go into the teapot, although some may be steeped in hot milk and go into a pound cake later on, once all the Christmas goodies are gone.
Overall, it was a very good year, garden wise. I feel so blessed to have been able to garden yet another year, in such a lovely, productive, peaceful place as central Indiana. Now it’s time to make new plans, graphs, seeding charts, arrange notebooks and journals, and gear up to start another growing year. What new records will be made? What new crops will become success stories? What curve balls will Mother Nature throw? It’s all part of that great gamble we call “gardening!”