Planning the December Garden

Saffron Crocus poking through the first snow.

After teasing us all week with dark skies and drizzle, our first snow arrived this morning. This is my favorite part of winter, the short days and opportunities to enjoy candles and lights, the excitement of opening the drapes and seeing the first snow, the unbridled enthusiasm of all the neighborhood children at the possibility of sledding. Having tucked in the winter beds, my energies this month will turn to growing herbs, greens, and bulbs, and maintaining my indoor fruiting plants and orchids.

Preparing for My First Farmers Market

Mock-up of my farmers market booth.

I am taking the 2022 Year-Round Gardening Calendar and my gardening postcards on the road this weekend to the Durango Farmers Market. This is my first market and since I do not have the seniority of other vendors, I have been given a space outdoors. The forecast for tomorrow from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM starts at 16 degrees and climbs to a balmy 29 degrees F. In addition to the calendar and cards, I had grown some Ziva Paperwhites to sell at the market.  They will never survive these freezing temperatures, so I have decide to turn lemons into lemonade and show off some of my year-round gardening skills by building a mini-green house with my daughters' fort building kit, some 6-mil plastic, a terra cotta pot, and a candle.

Ziva Paperwhites Labeled for Market.

The frame of my make-shift greenhouse that will be covered in 6 mil plastic. The terra cotta pot will radiate the heat from the candle to keep this space warm enough so as to not kill the Paperwhites...maybe...I'll update you as to how it goes.

I had not intended to sell the Paperwhites initially; however, I have decided Ziva Paperwhites are the cilantro of the flower world--either you can't get enough and want to bury your nose it the beautiful blossoms or it smells like cat urine (at least to me). Not all Paperwhites have this problem. Ziva is particularly pungent, so to market they go as they are still incredibly beautiful and some people like the way they smell. Next year I will try a different variety.

Ziva Paperwhite blossoms are so charming and if they were not such an affront to my olfactory system I would add them to my regular rotation.

My husband is going to come and keep me company at the market and the kids will spend the day with my sister, so there is the silver lining of sharing warm drinks and conversation with him, uninterrupted by our lovely children. I think the Swede in him is excited to try out all of our winter wear to make sure it does the job. I on the other hand will be looking forward to a hot toddy at the bar at 2:15.

The Winter Plant Wall and Plants as Art

Colorado is a naturally sunny place and I joke about getting seasonal affective disorder (SAD) after one day of cloudy skies. My plant wall as art installation is my winter passion project. For whatever reason, the months of January and February always feel excruciatingly long to me and growing anything at all lifts my spirits. This in particular will be fun as I can successively plant and rotate beautiful flowers and herbs to beat back those winter blues.

If you are interested in creating something similar using the floating shelves, 16 x 3 planter, rectangular planters, or white round six inch planters, your purchase will go toward keeping the lights on for this blog.


The Winter Herb Garden

I will continue to grow dill for our Christmas Eve Yul Bord and the new basil, thyme, and oregano are poking their heads up in the AeroGarden.  I have two more 16 x 3 planters to fill with herbs for fresh winter flavors and plan to get chervil, chives, lovage, and salad burnet going next.


One week's growth!

Other Projects

  • Throughout our many moves, my mom and stepdad took care of my orchids and house plants. They did an amazing job and recently brought these home to me. In particular, I missed my four orchids, each having significance to me: my first mothers day gift as a new mom, another that my oldest chose when my second daughter was born, a third that I bought for my mom when she had surgery (she gave it back to me) and a fourth that I know I love but cannot remember why until it blooms again to jog my memory. The plant wall as art will house these and my other winter bulbs this winter.
  • My sister gifted me her hydroponic grow wall and I will do an exclusive post on our progress next week. We sprouted some seedlings over the past two weeks and she planted the sprouts this week. I am hopeful we can grow all of our greens this winter!
  • The Meyer Lemon is blooming and I will be doing my best to give love to the avocados, fig, and lime tree so maybe just maybe they do well enough to bloom this year!

The List of Minimal Chores on My Gardening List for December:

  • Sharing my love of gardening and calendar at the local farmers market
  • Succession planting indoor winter herbs
  • Supporting the health of my indoor fruiting plants that have been suffering some neglect
  • Continuing to force bulbs indoors for winter blooms and my own learning about the best methods
  • Planning for spring in my garden planning journal
  • Playing in the snow with my kids
Two sleepyheads looking out the window after the first snow.

A two-hour delayed start for school resulted in an hour of packing down snow in the corner vacant lot for a banked-turn sledding hill.

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