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Winter is time to start garden work

The bulbs of springs flowers will soon pop out. The sleeping spring bulbs of jonquils, crocus, narcissus, daffodils, and hyacinths will soon be shooting their first spikes from the cold soil. The bulbs are safe in the winter soil and have been dormant for months so snow, sleet, ice and freezing rain will have no effect on them. When February arrives, we will see the tiny spikes of these bulbs peeking from the cold winter soil and by late February some of them will be almost ready to bloom.

Snow in winter is beneficial to the garden plot. When there is not much snow in winter, it is hazardous to the health of the garden. There is a bit of weather lore that says, “heaven help a garden that has no snow in winter.” The truth is gardens and farmland need snow because there are nutrients in snowfall and snow melts deep into the soil. Snow in winter will also have an adverse effect on wintering insect population. Snow will also generate excitement for kids who would just love a few snow days!

The Carolina Jasmine in early January. The dark green foliage and the trumpet-shaped yellow flowers and their sweet perfume are a welcome addition to the edge of the garden plot. Even in the cold of January, these fragrant flowers attract a few bees. The jasmine is tough and a flower of all seasons. The foliage can be trimmed and shaped all during the year. It is low maintenance, beautiful, and a haven for nesting birds and attracts humming birds and butterflies all summer.

Waking up sleeping lawnmowers, weed-trimmers, and leaf blowers. As winter moves on into its first month, and freezing temperatures are now with us, don’t forget the sleeping lawn equipment. It needs to be started and warmed up each week. Keep plenty of fuel in the tanks. Start engines and let them run for a few minutes. If you have a riding mower, leave the blade in disengage, and drive it around the yard a couple of times. Make this a weekly practice all winter long. It will make starting much easier when spring arrives.

Taking care of weeds in the winter garden. Some weeds survive in the winter garden including chickweed, Bermuda grass, and nut grass. The best way to control them is to pull them up by the roots and throw them out of the garden. By staying ahead of them in winter, you will have less of a problem with them when spring comes. Don’t use any herbicides or weed control — just use your two hands that God gave you!

Radish can be first garden vegetable you plant in 2020 garden plot. January’s garden soil can be very cold and if not frozen, the seed of radish can be planted in mid-January with the protection of a plant cover. Radish can withstand a lot of cold with a small amount of protection. You can choose from Cherry Belle, Cherry Bomb, Cherriette, and Early Scarlet Globe. On a sunny day in January, dig a furrow about three inches deep, apply a layer of peat moss in the furrow, sow the radish seed and apply another layer of peat moss. Apply an application of Garden Tone organic vegetable food. Hill up soil on both sides of the furrow and tamp down with a toe blade. A layer of plant cloth makes a great protective cover. Anchor it with a few planks or stones to keep wind from blowing it.

Curing winter blahs by searching for Valentines. Valentine’s Day is next month. Most shops and businesses are already well-stocked. They are filled with many choices from flowers to candy and gift cards — you can purchase gift cards from favorite stores and restaurants and hardwares. You can even purchase gift cards from supermarkets.

Enjoying the winter porch in January. Even in January, there are some sunny days that you can enjoy on the front porch in the warmth of the January sun. You may need gloves, a toboggan, a heavy coat or even a blanket. The ultraviolet rays of the winter sun will soon warm you up and the wind of January will enlighten your nostrils and give you a winter boost.

Starting the seed of broccoli and cabbage. As we reach toward the second half of the month of January, the seed of broccoli and cabbage can be in small pots or containers with some finely textured seed-starting medium. Measure out of the pots or containers and allow enough of the medium to cover the seed. Mix the medium with water to moisten it. Pour medium into pots or containers to within half-inch from tops of containers. Sprinkle the seeds of the broccoli in one container and seeds of the cabbage in the other container. Label the pots because both these seeds look alike. Cover seed with remaining medium. Use a spray bottle to moisten the seed every other day. Keep containers in a sunny location. When weather is freezing, place in a sheltered area such as a carport and cover with a towel. On sunny days, place containers in the sunshine. When seeds start to develop two leaves, transplant seedlings to individual pots or containers. Place containers in carport and keep covered with a towel on cold nights. It takes about five to six weeks for plants to be ready to transfer to the garden plot.

Mini-greenhouses for protection in the midwinter garden plot. A great way to start lettuce, broccoli and cabbage and other cool weather vegetables is to save your plastic two-liter soft drinks that are clear plastic. Cut off the bottom and place bottles over the plants for added warmth and protection from cold temperatures, snow, ice, and freezing rain. Just press them down into the soil to keep the wind from blowing them over. In early April, you can use the bottles on your first tomato plants. This will start them on their way to an early harvest.

A whiff of spring inside of the home in January. The sweet fragrance of an early hyacinth can be enjoyed during January and February in your living room, dining room, or kitchen. You can now purchase hyacinths in containers at Walmart, Lowe’s or Home Depot, as well as in floral departments at the supermarket. They come already in full bloom in the colors of red, cream, lavender, pink, yellow, and purple. Their sweet scent will liven up the kitchen and provide a feeling of spring inside.

The Full Wolf Moon of January. The full moon of January occurred on this past Friday and is still almost full tonight. After church it should be rising on the eastern horizaon around nine o’clock. If it is clear, this should be a bright moon as it shines on bare limbs, fields of past harvest, meadows with moonlight in wintertime.

Enjoying an Eldorado casserole. This may be similar to what Cole Thorton and “Mississippi” (John Wayne and James Conn) were eating at the cantina outside of Eldorado! To prepare, you will need one pound of ground round or ground chuck, one small can of Old El Paso green chilies, one eight-ounce can of tomatoes puree, one can of Old El Paso nacho cheese sauce, one large diced onion, one pint sour cream, four ounces of finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese, half teaspoon salt, half teaspoon pepper, one small package of Doritos (one cup). Boil ground round or chuck until done and drain liquid, add diced onion, salt and pepper and cook in ground mean five minutes. Add tomato puree and cook four minutes. Add sour cream and chilies. Line a 13x9x2 inch baking pan or dish sprayed with Baker’s Joy and then covered with a layer of crushed Doritos and a layer of meat mixture and a layer of nacho cheese sauce. Repeat with another layer. Top with the package of finely shredded cheddar. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Hoe Hoe Hoedown “A sure cure”- A man with a terrible cold went to the doctor. The doctor said, “You’ve got a terrible cold.”

“I know it, doctor, that’s why I came to see you.”

The doctor said, “You go home, take off your shoes and shirt, go out to the north side of the house and stand in the snow for two hours.”

“Doctor,” said the man “But this will give me pneumonia.”

The doctor said, “I know. You see I know how to treat pneumonia but I don’t know how to treat a common cold.”

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Ray Baird

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