2017 Harvest

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Every gardening year starts with pruning

After a long period of freezing below zero temperatures past few days have finally been warm enough to give us a feeling of a winters end. With the morning temperatures around zero and daily slightly over 10°C now is the good time to pay my garden a first visit after almost 4 months.
The soil looks ok and it shouldn't be a problem to prepare it for sowing next year.

On the other hand my orchard is a complete mess. Very moist summer brought many water sprouts and long windy winter made a lot of damage on the plums and cherries.

Of course apples are the biggest challenge every year. With me being very short and unable to climb every tree is a big challenge. Also I can't use a saw so I do my pruning with a bypass pruner and bypass lopper. Of course that means with big branches I have to use lots of strength to be able to cut.

As you can see I still have some twigs on top which I couldn't cut and I'll have to use my landscaper pruner which I absolutely hate using cause it is difficult to control and it takes me ages to get it in the right position.

Apple pruning takes a lot of time, it takes me 3 hours to prune one tree so I'm expecting a whole week, maybe even two to finish my whole orchard.
Pruning also leaves lots of debris that I try to reuse as much as possible. This year big branches will be used to make my fence look scary so my deer friends don't jump over and eat my vegetables.

 Water sprouts that are in good shape will be used as a support for my peppers and tomato seedlings if needed.

For next year I should learn how to use stilts, maybe then my work would be a bit easier.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

I'm a seedoholic

Over the years I've started developing a passion for seeds. For me they are not just "a seed" that gives you a nice big fruit. Seeds are the beginning of a wonderful journey through magic land called garden.

In the beginning I had a small box with few varieties of vegetables. I've sown the tested varieties that worked.

But then my mum introduced me to a wonderful new world called vegetable varieties. I started adding more seed bags, starting with few new tomato varieties, some chili peppers, few different cabbages. Soon my collection grew from one box to a box and a suitcase where I mostly kept boxes of home collected seeds.

As my collection grew I noticed that having a bunch of plastic bottles and boxes wasn't very practical so I switched to a seed organiser where I kept my seeds neatly organised in plastic .

Soon my organiser was too small and two years ago I switched to shoe boxes, one for flowers and one for my vegetables. To save space I started using ziplock bags and small paper bags.

This year I noticed that even my boxes are getting too small. I have no more room left in my boxes, they are packed.

For now I have no solution(maybe a third box) so I just stuffed all my seeds into a plastic basket I got for my harvests.

But this made me wonder how many seeds do I actually have. So I stared counting.
I ended up counting over 100 tomato varieties, around 50 pepper varieties, a bunch of cabbages, pumpkins and a whole little mountain of flowers.

The total was 415 bags with different varieties,
415 without the onions, beans and peas which I buy every year and sow without saving any.

You'd think that would stop me from buying new seeds...guess again. Of course I bought new seeds. The moment I enter a seed shop I lose my mind, I get dazzled  by all those pretty little bags and the smell of seeds and I have to get more...cause you can't start a gardening year without new seeds.

And on top of all my seed collection my friend Dewberry from Slavic garden helped to make my collection even bigger by sending me a bunch of wonderful flower seeds.

So I guess I should say Hi! I'm Leanan and I'm a seedoholic! But a seedoholic that enjoys every single minute of her seed craziness and doesn't plan to stop collecting seeds.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

January statistics

When gardeners think about January they usually imagine a month in which they take their well deserved rest.
For me that's taking snow walks with my dogs, shovelling, sleeping extra hours, gaming and reading books. All that you usually don't get to do when your days starts before sunrise and summer heat.
This January gave me plenty of time to do almost everything on my list.

As opposed to last years January that was very mild with almost no snow, this January came in hard and showed us it's full power.
We didn't have too many snow days this January. We got 2mm (0.19in) on 5th January and 26cm (10.2 in) of snow between 12th and 16th January, but because of the very low temperatures the whole amount of snow is still present even 15 days later.

Temperatures this January have been well below the average in whole country. The temperatures below zero have caused a lot of damage especially in Mediterranean parts of Croatia where frost has killed all the plants and froze the water pipes. In Croatian inland regions we are better prepared for below zero temperatures so damages were almost completely prevented but it was still hard to cope with this kind of weather.
We had periods of very cold air coming from Siberia which brought almost polar temperatures to Croatia. First major period was from 07.01 to 12.01 when temperatures were constantly under 0°C and daily temperatures didn't climb over -4°C(24F). In this period we also had our lowest morning temperatures on January 10th and 11th -18°C (-0.4F)

In whole January we had only 7 days with daily temperatures slightly over 0°C and only 2 warm days. The biggest extreme change of weather happened on January 13th when a burst of south wind lifted our temperatures sky high. In just one hour our temperatures jumped from -4°C (24F) to 14°C (57F). Two hours later a burst of north wind brought us new below zero temperatures and snow blizzard. The biggest north wind gust was 10m/s.

Of course January had to leave with style so yesterday we got 3mm freezing rain to help us get full winter experience. Lets hope February will treat us a bit nicer because we already had to get some extra heating wood.