Mornings have been cool and a mist has settled over the holler. Winter temperatures have been unseasonably mild for this time of year and the grass is still green. We are expecting some colder weather this week though. We have picked up a sprinkle of rain here and there for the last week or two but we are still over 16 inches below our rainfall averages for the area. So despite not hearing too much about the Midwest drought in the media right now we are far from out of the woods moisture wise. With warm winter temperatures for a second winter and a lack or rain and no snow in sight right now things are not looking good for moisture in the immediate future. O Wise One plowed our garden and we were surprised at the moisture still in our soil though. Gotta love that rich black Missouri dirt.
Throughout the year we have continually added mulches from the seasons crops along with straw from the animal pens and some goat and rabbit manures and compost as it becomes available.
Some things we chop and drop such as corn stalks and such throughout the year. It amazes us how fast they decompose.
Some crops we plant specifically to disk under to improve the soil. We disked under rows of field peas above earlier in the year and we plowed under beans that the first frost had nipped along with anything that had been added as amendments or mulches during the last year..
We know for our gardens to continue to look like this even in drought conditions such as last year we have to care for the soil as never before. Which for us means adding organic matter to our soils to try to improve the fertility and tilth of the soils.
We did very little tilling last year but rather did most of our weeding by hand, mulched as much as possible and worked the soil only to disk in green manures and cover crops.
As we go into 2013 with drought conditions remaining for the region we have to wonder what the next gardening year will bring. What this garden needs now is a couple nice snows to gradually melt and seep that moisture deep into the soil.
But for now we will enjoy the next month or two of no gardening chores and let Mother Nature do as she will. For now the pantry and our freezers are full and next year's garden is another days worry. This garden is officially put to bed for this year.
Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter