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All clear…

January and the field’s all clear

After a night of rain and 50°F (10°C) warmth, the field is just about clear. What a difference a couple of days can make… I took a walk. The ground isn’t even frozen—with the odd way all that snow came before a real cooling down period, the ground was insulated by the snow and didn’t freeze too deeply. It’s quite strange. Usually, during the March end-of-winter melt-off, the clayey soil is wet, sticky, mucky, sucking, and the drainage is slower as the frozen ground thaws out, but now, some areas are dry enough to till! The scene also looks quite differen—greener!—than in previous years, because I’ve left a lot of cover crops (oats, bit of rye), and there were quite of few beds of late harvest veggies caught in the first snow. There’s potentially good stuff out there: huge carrots, beets, spinach. They may be too cold-damaged to be worth a harvest, I’ll check ’em out tomorrow. And the unmulched garlic is doing fine!

Garlic beds

I’d been a little concerned about not having mulched all but one of the seven beds of garlic. No worries! The ground here is completely unfrozen, I can stick my hand in at least finger deep, and no cloves have popped. Great! The bed covered with the grass-alfalfa mulch is also looking good. The mulch is soaked and matted, and with all the green, looks like it’s about to get slimy and rot, but when you check it out, it’s just wet. It should do all right. So, I DO get a chance to mulch the rest… This is like some sort of lab experiment, where you can instantly strip away six weeks of winter and see how things are doing…

Oh, and a surprise encounter with the strong scent of fresh sage was amazing, it caught me by surprise in a light gust of wind as I walked by the sage patch (it’s just outside and to this side of the greenhouse in the first pic). Not what you expect at this point. I stepped back, leaned in, and inhaled for some more…



  1. How have your bags of mulch held up? I think I remember you saying that you had them in plastic bags in the greenhouse. I never think of collecting and saving clippings for mulch in the fall, but end up kicking myself in the spring. Also, what has all of this water done for your pond? The last photo I saw it was looking pretty shallow. We are big on water collection and your pond seems ideal (especially for winter hockey).

  2. The grass mulch is doing great. I was in the greenhouse today, the open ground area is still a foot or two deep in it, plus there are half a dozen big leaf bags full. I kicked through the stuff on the ground, expecting a hundred voles to scatter, they love surface burrowing under junk, and especially there in the warmth. But, nothing. I’ve kept the screen windows on both doors open this year for air circulation, so it’s not humid. This will probably be in today’s post, as the wind is down, the sun is out, and I’m gonna mulch!

    The pond I’m sure is fine. It’s way off at the far end of the field, not a handy spot for hanging out, especially through snow. It fills up in the winter, but the natural level is more like what’s in any of the photos where it’s not full, give or take three feet. In spring, the level slowly drops due to evaporation and, I imagine, seepage, until around June, when it settles a few feet below the edge…

    I could be a Human Web Cam, take photo requests… You’ll probably see the mulch today, and maybe I’ll head to the pond! :)

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