Thursday, December 20, 2012

Winter Solstice and more...

The Mayan Calendar ends 12/21/12 6:12 am EST.
Winter solstice has been a cause for celebration (both pagan and religious) since man's earliest days for now is when the days start to get longer. And isn't that reason enough?

This year the day has new meaning, though, since the experts tell us that the Mayan calendar, which has been in effect for more than 5,000 years, will end.

Over on the Florida Native Plant Society blog, I posted a plea to plant a tree, because when you plant a tree, you believe in the future. So if the world does not end as predicted, it will have been because all those gardeners planted so many trees that the future just had to be there for them.

Read more of this post here.

Broccoli harvest

In the garden, we've been enjoying all the cool weather edibles, particularly the broccoli. Once we harvest the main head (curd), we leave the rest of the plant in place so it will grow new, smaller curds which we'll also pick, the side curds open much more quickly than the main curd, so it's important to keep an eye on them or you'll miss the harvest window.

Eventually, when the next batch of broccoli is producing, I'll let some of these plants flower, so the mid-winter butterflies and bees have a reliable supply of nectar.

After the main curd is harvested, we also use the leaves, which are somewhat sweeter than cabbage leaves, in soups, stews, and salads.
After the main head is harvested we leave the plant in place for more curds and for the leaves.

Chasing the chipping truck

The other day this truck, a chipper and its truck and a stump grinder rumbled down our street. My old pile of arborist wood ships was getting low and it was old enough that it was mostly compost anyway. So I walked down the road and asked what they were going to cut down and grind up. It was a mature and healthy hickory, which was dropping nuts on the lawn between the house and the lake. So these homeowners thought it was too messy and spent big bucks to have it removed. Personally, I would have removed the lawn and planted native understory trees and shrubs, but it wasn't my choice.
The tree guys said that they'd be done with the chipping around lunchtime. I cleared out the rest of the old pile. About ten big cart loads later, I was thinking that the pile wasn't really all that small, but now I have a new pile of wood chips, leaves and spanish moss.  I hope that there were no bird nests.

Two days after the pile was dumped, it was hot. You can see the steam rising in the morning sunlight. The odor is almost a minty smell. The fence out here is rigged so that one post comes out and the rails removed so the pile can be dumped behind the fence. It works very well.
I've lost count of how many piles of wood chips we've received over the years. They've all been absorbed into our yard in one way or another. Here's my post on chips Follow the Yellow Mulch Road.

Coral berry (Ardisia crenulata)

Coral berry

I found some coral ardisia in a wooded area out back. Although it's a lovely plant, which produces oodles of red berries perfect for holiday decorations, I yanked it out. It's highly invasive in Florida. I don't want to be part of the problem. Here's the FLEPPC (Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council) data on this plant.

I could have used it for building a wreath, but I'd already done all the wreath building I was going to do. So it went in the trash--not the yard waste. See my post:  Recycled Christmas Wreath.

I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Greener New Year, if the world is still in tact. ;-)

Green Gardening Matters,
Ginny Stibolt

1 comment:

  1. Merry Christmas Ginny...I love the solstice and planted many trees even up into December this year as we had a warm fall.