We enjoyed many rainless days in January, allowing us to do some outside chores without rain gear. It may be winter; but, I find there is always something that can be done around our farm this time of year. Rearranging tools, finishing a few ‘fall chores’ or picking up windblown (or, more likely – golden retriever strewn) items provides plenty of options.

One tip: don’t forget to bring in that box of vases ‘temporarily’ stored behind the green house – you know: the one you are going to put away ‘tomorrow’. Let’s just say that glass full of rain water does not survive the 15 degree freezing temperatures we experienced over a few days in December. Oops! The glass recycling bucket is full! Guess new peony vases are on the spring list, now.

Yesterday, as our daughter left in the morning to workout at the gym, I headed outside to mine. I wheel barrowed the remains of our vegetable garden’s pepper plants to their resting place, down a dirt path. It started to rain and as I headed back up the incline, I lost my footing and slid about 10 feet down the slickened path. Naturally, I hit my knee on the only rock in the area. As I picked myself up and maneuvered out of that slippery predicament, I figured a gym couldn’t possibly provide this type of exercise, nor the exhilaration of the slide.

In the gardens I see slug trails where I baited earlier. Slugs love daylilies and iris and I don’t want the new growth to be nibbled. I don’t see damage to peony plantings, although I have heard from another grower that he once experienced slugs chewing off new spring peony stems. I keep that in mind and in control. There are a number of products and home remedies for controlling slugs, such as these tips from Marie Iannotti in her Slug Control In The Garden article.  

The winter months are also a great time for indoor gardening ‘chores’ as well – like browsing plant catalogs and websites for new offerings, or to revisit the ‘wish list’ plant we have in mind. With thousands of varieties of peonies and other plants grown in the world, we are sure to find a new treasure.  My peony wish list grows with little effort – all I have to do is a Google search and there they are.

Here’s to wonderful gardening this year – wishing you happiness, health and good times in 2014.

Therese

Brooks Gardens

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