Winter Evening Garden Stroll

The Live Oaks at Dusk

A day off is joyful. Somehow, even in my wiser years, a day off from work still feels a bit like playing hooky. I went with that feeling today. I planned to spend the day preparing for the arrival of family and friends for the weekend. We are celebrating the holidays together for the next few days, and there is much to be done. Meals to prep, sheets to change, things to shine. I didn’t do any of it today! We will work that out tomorrow. Today, I got a cute haircut, had my toes done, sat outside under the gazebo for awhile, and walked through the garden at twilight, camera in hand. Join me!

I am most excited about my crop of Christmas garlic. It was planted at least a month late, but it is looking fantastic. This is third-generation garlic from our little farm, grown entirely organically. Prior to planting, I soaked it in Moo Poo Tea overnight, and that gave it the energy to burst with life once planted in our rich soil. For more about the benefits of feeding your garden organically, visit my friend and heritage rancher, Annie Haven .

Christmas Garlic

The collards are beautiful, and the recent freeze we had will only enhance their sweetness. The collards are an excellent example of intensive planting, which is done in raised beds with enriched soil. This healthy crop is growing in a 4X8 raised bed.

Southern Collards

When I left the hens to clean up and fertilize our no-dig beds last fall, they left behind a little broom corn seed, which surprised me by sprouting. I love surprises in my garden. Unless it’s an armadillo. Instead of weeding the broom corn out, I left it to sprout, and now we have a little swath of grain in the garden. We used some of the seedheads in bouquets. The rest of the broom corn has been feeding our hens. Again. What a fun example of sustainable gardening!

Broom Corn courtesy of our hens, the Spice Girls

I am a fan of kale, both in the garden and on the table. I had not tasted kale until I started growing it a few years ago. Now it is a staple in our winter garden and in my kitchen, where it enhances soups, stews and side dishes.  I grow several varieties, including this curly blue specimen. Kale is very easy to grow, adds beauty to the winter garden, and is a powerhouse of delicious vitamins and nutrients. Alongside it is a planting of Romanesco broccoli, and I am waiting with anticipation to see this gorgeous broccoli’s Escher-like whirls emerge as it matures.

Kale and Romanesco Broccoli

Strolling through the baby grove of fruit trees this evening, I noticed the new olive tree, with its slim, silvery leaves. I have a particular affection for this little tree. We planted it on Thanksgiving day, with all of our family and friends taking part in the planting. The city kids especially enjoyed a chance to dig, to plant something, to anticipate growth. I don’t think any of us will forget that day, and if we do, we will always have this tree to remind us. Some Thanksgiving in the future, I will be serving our olives, marinated in fruity oil, sweet garlic and rosemary.

An Olive Branch

I finish this post feeling grateful for a day of respite. It is good to slow down for a few hours every now and then to reflect, rest and remember what is important. Have a wonderful weekend!

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