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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Gardening in January

I must be truly wicked, because I have not been getting much rest lately.

I have some fruit trees on the way; two pluots- a Dapple Dandy and a Flavor King, and a new Montmorency cherry to replace the one I killed by planting it too close to the neighbor's fir tree.  So- I'm in the process of moving the dwarf blueberries from the backyard to the strip between the front walk and the garage so I have room in the back for the new trees.  But first I had to remove all of the black plastic that the previous owner left us. This is a roughly half of what was in the bed.  This guy didn't mess around- I don't know what the mil is but it's pretty thick plastic. It's all over the backyard, too.  I hate this guy.

Anyway, I got the bed prepped and three of seven dwarf blueberry plants moved.  I also got the Dublin Bay rose moved. The rose was easy, the blueberries were not.

I also replaced the grow light over the bench in the garage.  The ballast was gone on the old light fixture, and I was advised to go ahead and replace the fixture because ballasts are expensive and as much or more as a newer, cheaper fixture.  I opted for the Lithonia fixture from the local Big Box store, because it had spots for four tubes- four each thirty-two watt, four-foot T8 grow lights*. It was fifty, and the four tubes were roughly ten apiece, so ninety bucks later, I have a new grow light.

The last time I had a really kick-ass garden was the first year of my unemployment, when I had lots of time.  I don't have lots of time now, actually less of it these days, but the one thing that all that time allowed was to start my seeds early.  So lesson learned- I am starting my seeds indoors this year.

Speaking of seeds, my seeds came this week!! I wanted to get some of my seed from Franchi seeds which are sold by Seeds From Italy, but I wound up buying most of what I needed from them.   And some stuff I didn't need but wanted to try.  I'll leave the seed list for another post.   But I will tell you that the packets are fat with seed and Franchi's seeds have a high germination rate. But more about all that in another post.

I've also been working on a plant and harvest schedule, which is incredibly complicated, because I am incorporating the moon dates into it, and planting times for a winter garden as well. I am halfway through it and if I can figure out a way to post it, I will.

January is definitely not an idle time for gardening, that's for sure.

*If you've run across the whole T8, T5 thing before, it's how they describe fluorescent tubes.  It used to be all about how many eighths of an inch the tube was, so a T8 tube is one inch and a T5 tube is five-eighths of an inch.  Now it has more to do with how efficient the lamps are.  I won't bore you with the details; suffice to say that the light output of the T5 is commensurate with the extra expense, and that T8 tubes are just fine.  And that if you have a fixture with inch-and-a-half tubes in it, that's T12 and it's not as efficient as the T8.
PS- what I meant to write was that the light output of the T5 was not commensurate with the extra expense.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I always love to hear what you are up to both in your home and garden.
This is our second year ordering seeds from Seeds of Italy and have had great success with seed germination. We grow for two farmers markets and new to us this year will be a chef that has requested us to grow for him. I look forward to your post on your seed order.