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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.


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