December: Monthly Review

The potager is nearly ready for winter…covered berry boxes in place, paths weeded, greenhouse tidied, and nearly all the furniture moved inside the cottage.

This post closes out the final month of 2021, the dreary month of December that would be nearly unbearable if it were not for the cheery holiday decorations, Christmas movies, special dishes (even if there is no one to share them) and maybe a gift or two under the tree. The glow of the Christmas lights , the scent of cinnamon incense in my little German smokers, a tin of freshly baked cookies and a stack of newly arrived seed catalogs certainly help to lift my spirits. The “Feast of the Seven Fishes” was the only entertaining for the month and it was much appreciated.

Yet another foggy morn. You can barely see the black tubs of walnuts that were collected that day.

Overall, December was milder than normal and unusual in that there was so very little snowfall. Rainfall was unusually high beginning on the very first day of the month and filling several more. There were many foggy mornings and cloud-filled skies. There were only ten days with any sunshine at all, and I was actually surprised when I reviewed my journal that there were that many. Happily, there were a couple of clear nights when we could view the beautiful full moon. The characteristic that would have to be used to describe the month over all was “WINDY!” I just can’t remember such windy weather in all my many years.

The only snowmen this year are made of wood! One of our few sunny days, and warm enough that the greenhouse door was propped open.

On the very few nice days that I was able to work outdoors, the mulching was finished for this year, the last of the bulbs were planted, the number of walnuts picked up for the season surpassed 18,000, outdoor decorations were put up, and the Addition Garden was finally cleaned and tidied. The deck and gazebo furniture were moved into shelter for the winter. The Lady Cottage was cleaned and organized for winter and the potager’s furniture was moved in. The potager’s paths got a final weeding, some seeds were collected.

Indoors, a lot of baking was done, gardens were mapped, seed orders made, and some drawers cleaned and organized. The seed starting area in the basement was given a cleaning, light bulbs replaced in the light stand, and potting soil moved in. Seeding trays were carried in from the pole barn and washed. The first amaryllis bulb was potted up, followed by one each week. And I learned how to use my new soil blocker. The first lisianthus seeds were sown December 10th, followed by violas, snapdragons, stock, and some perennials: columbine, delphinium, two types of dianthus, three rudbeckias, mountain mint, lemon eucalyptus, yellow feverfew, yarrow, gold moss feverfew, gaillardia, perennial scabiosa, rhubarb, lemon savory and some collected lavender seeds. The Christmas letter was written and cards mailed. There were lots of football and basketball games to watch as well, and I read three books.

There wasn’t a lot of harvesting from the potager, only 15.5 lbs, although lots of herbs were used during the month that weren’t weighed. Last year’s December harvest was over 50 lbs! I didn’t get the leeks or carrots dug, and this year the fall crops of turnips, and late cabbages were a bust. Too hot, too many bugs, and not enough watering. Both the salsify and parsnip crops were dug, cleaned and stored and there was lettuce to use the entire month. Hopefully the crops under the berry boxes will provide a few fresh leeks, carrots, spinach, lettuces and parsley over the coming weeks.

Farewell 2021. Can’t say that 2022 is off to a great start, but we’re still healthy, the seedlings are growing, and the seeds are arriving in pretty good order. It’s a quiet time for planning, reviewing the journals to make needed corrections, and reflection. The temperatures are dropping so it may begin to feel like winter, even if it doesn’t look like winter. AND, the days are already lengthening, so certainly spring is on the way! Blessings to you all!

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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9 Responses to December: Monthly Review

  1. bcparkison says:

    What in the world do you do with all of those walnuts..black walnuts are so nasty to deal with.

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    • carolee says:

      I throw them over the side of the hill for the squirrels to enjoy. They do carry a few back into the yard and plant them here and there. I mainly pick them up to keep the grass from dying, and to keep the lawn mower blades intact, and to keep myself from tripping and falling over them. It’s like trying to walk on layers of tennis balls out there!

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  2. Judith says:

    Your 2021 sounds busy and productive, despite the strange weather. Wishing you good health and good growing in 2022, whatever the year may bring.

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    • carolee says:

      And the same to you. Having the flowers and gardens to look focus on keeps me sane in these pandemic years. I guess we will all have to readjust our thinking about “reality” in these strange times.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s always a joy to tour your potager and grounds ANY time of year. Happy New Year!

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  4. Going Batty in Wales says:

    I am certainly very glad of a midwinter festival – this year I celebrated both the Solstice and Christmas because I could and I needed cheering up! It has been very mild here too – my rhubarb keeps popping up and getting knocked back so I am hoping it still has energy when Spring arrives. Daffodils are in bud in the house and greenhouse already. Whatever life throws at us we have our gardens to keep us sane and give us things to do and look forward to. Please keep sharing your plots with us.

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