Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wintering Over Plants

It has occurred to me that I totally suck at over-wintering plants. Other than the seedlings that will inhabit the greenhouse around about February, my plants are really asked to do very little. Grace my home with natural greenery (or yellowery or brownery as it so happens), and freshen the air a bit. See, the air gets a bit dusty and stale from the wood stove....
When these plants spend the late spring and summer outside, they are subjected to balmy breezes, highly humid air (with lots of rain) and 16 or so hours of sunlight.
Then I bring them in because I can't stand the thought of them freezing outside and dying a long, slow death due to the severity of our winters.
So what so I do? Bring them in and subject them to bone dry air, temperature fluctuations of 50-1,0000000. (When the wood stove is blaring) and no rain to speak of.

Well, I could water them, but I forget....

So, overwintering plants doesn't work real well for me. There are a few hardy survivors. The Boston Fern that lives in the bathroom (not a lot of light, but plenty of moist air), and there's another big plant in there too, from my dad's funeral 4 years ago, that I don't remember the name of. Umbrella Tree? Don't know.

Then there is the Cinnamon Basil that I forgot to bring in, that is now encased in ice on the back deck, yeah, that one is a goner. The rest live in the kitchen and living room by windows, and the wood stove and have to live on meager rations of water and a once over with the vacuum cleaner to remove dead leaves. I'm just not good at it.

So what has been happening in the frozen North lately? Same old, same old, a lot of firewood has been cut, stacked, brought in, burned up, and brought back out in the form of ashes. This ash goes in the garden.

My chickens (numbering at 17) are hanging in there, fighting the good fight. In the winter, they don't lay a lot of eggs (like maybe 3 every 2 days), but if I have any hope of bringing more eggs into my life, they do need to be fed (and watered - these I do remember to water). That and once a week or so I let them out to roam in the yard. They find goodies under the deck and in the barn that supplement their feed. I get them game bird blocks, which is a large block of salt, minerals and seeds, corn, wheat... and they also get suet blocks to help with warding off the cold. That and water. Fresh water is pretty important to them in the winter.

Then there's the gals in my knitting club who regularly send home "scraps" for me to give them. I think my chickens like my knitting club better than they like me. That's ok, I can live with it.

They have finished their molting (the inside of the chicken shed looks like something was massacred and feathers are quite deep).

Back to my plants. They are fairly hardy, they don't ever die, just give up hope of ever seeing water again and go into some self induced hibernation. Anyone wanna volunteer to come water my plants?
And what's up with the aloe? Aloe is not supposed to grow in a zone 3 climate, but this thing thinks it can conquer the world! It needs to be re-potted (again), but it is already in a pot larger than what I can lift and it keeps reproducing. Probably has something to do with the dry, hot climate in the cabin. Yeah that's it. My cactus don't seem to mind my neglect either.

I should probably put "water plants" on my list....

Life is good.....

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