Wednesday, February 21, 2024

my winter garden

Four rows are planted in my garden.  Even though we got a bit of snow Friday, the dirt is dry except for right in the rows that I watered with plastic watering cans.  There are peas, spinach, and parsnips.  Oh, and I found some lettuce seeds (really cheap ones) of various kinds last Saturday and planted those.  Seeing the rows reminds me there's a possibility that it might rain more this year, and if it does, the garden will prosper. 

"If ifs and ands were pots and pans, 
We'd have no work for tinkers' hands."

I've tilled practically the whole garden to get rid of the ground-level weeds.  It makes me feel like it's spring.  Of course the more I till the garden, the dryer it gets.

In case you think spinach can't survive in winter, I have evidence to the contrary.  I planted some spinach last year in September.  As usual, we were in a drought.  And it was too late to expect the spinach to mature anyway.  But the few seeds that managed to survive and grow a bit gave me some plants that continued to grow; even several days of zero temperatures failed to kill it.  Below, this is what my September-planted spinach looked like yesterday.

Every time I go to the garden, I grab a nice healthy leaf and eat it, hoping Gabe, my dog, hasn't peed on it.

This is the one I ate yesterday.

The amazing thing is that the tender leaves are now slightly sweet, and are the best-tasting spinach I've ever tasted.

I have great faith that the lettuce will be fine, as well as the spinach and peas I planted a couple of weeks ago, if I can keep them watered sufficiently.  I've never had success with parsnips, so we shall see what happens there.

Here's what parsnip seeds look like:

I planted the seeds on a very windy day; they are so light, I had a problem with keeping them from blowing away as I planted them.

We'll have mostly 50's, 60's, and 70's for two straight weeks.  That isn't good, because all the fruit trees will think it's time to flower and then we'll be hit by cold weather that will kill the blossoms.  During the last three years, I've become a believer in global warming, although it's nothing I'd argue about, simply because there was crazy weather long before I was born.  But in mid-Missouri?  In February?  Yeah, probably.  

This Missouri river-bluff hill we live on is nothing but wind-blown, very sandy soil, so it doesn't hold water well; it can rain two inches on Tuesday and I'll be using the tiller on it two days later.  On the bright side, we have no rocks in our soil, unless you count the Indian arrows and spearheads.

Here's a little poem from my self-published book:


It's Hope that orders garden seed in winter's snow and rain.
Although the world is frozen, Hope can see it born again!
It's Faith that plants the tiny seeds, when spring has not arrived;
The seeds look dry and dormant, but Faith whispers, "They're alive."
It's Love that tends the growing plants, and prays for rain and sun.  
Love hopes and weeds and labors till the garden season's done.
When I work in the garden I'm reminded, row by row,
That hope and faith and love together make the Christian grow.

Now abide faith, hope, and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.  I Corinthians 13:13


  1. The fruit trees are the ones I worry about the most too with weather like this. Our fruit crop last year was pretty sparse overall though we had one apple, one peach and one pear tree escape the early frost and thus if felt bountiful even though the other dozen didn't bear any fruit.

    Maybe in a week, or perhaps two, we will probably put some cold weather seeds in the ground in our new garden.

  2. I absolutely LOVE parsnips! A neighbor I helped with gardening had a perennial patch of parsnips. They, like spinach, taste even better after spending time in the cold soil. I would extract from the patch the ones she deemed ready to eat.

  3. Anonymous11:27 AM

    I didn't realize that stuff would still grow or be planted in the winter. Amazing spinach leaf!

  4. That last comment was me. I don't know why it came through as anonymous.

  5. Anonymous7:25 PM

    I still have my copy of your book that you gave me

  6. I love your poems. I don't know who "anonymous" is in the previous comment, but I too still have your book of, "Poems That Ryme" that you sent to me when Danny passed away. It's sitting on my old desk top where I have always kept it. It means the world to me and I thank you for caring at a time when my world turned black with grief.

  7. Anonymous5:53 AM

    I love that poem! Beautiful! Yes, many here are getting super worried about pastures and hay production. We got about 5 drops of rain this morning for the "rain" they had predicted. Rebecca H

  8. I didn't realize you published a book of poems! You are really talented, my friend! My thoughts have turned to gardening, too. Noyhing makes me so happy as a thriving garden to pick through! Maybe an organized She shed would come in second place, though.

  9. I can't believe your spinach survived the cold. That is amazing! I have always loved spinach.

  10. Hope Cliff is better.


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