I Had A Burn Pile In The Garden

I had a burn pile in the garden yesterday and it was great. Bright orange flames can really cheer me up. The whole garden became more festive as I gathered up sticks. Instead of hauling my bush and vine trimmings down to the creek all summer, I piled them up in a corner of the garden. This saved a lot of walking, which is getting more difficult for me. When the rains came I threw a piece of plastic over the pile so the sticks stayed bone dry. Smoldering fires from wet material are a pet peeve of mine, because it adds unburned smoke pollutants to the atmosphere. It seems like a smokeless fire is less harmful to the environment. Burning wet leaves is incredibly unhealthy and wasteful. I’ve seen piles smoldering all day long.

One of my sons sent pictures of hoop tunnels that he made out of cattle panels, six mil plastic and binder clips. They look so good that I don’t want to transplant my “babies” out into the harsh mid February climate. I’ve got five foot long wire tunnels with bird netting on them and some clear plastic so it will be easy for me to cover them. The temperature dropped into the teens last night, and some of my spring plants sprouted. The clock is ticking. I don’t always transplant out to hoop tunnels but this year I will. It seems like the best way to encourage rapid growth. I’ll have to keep a close watch on the high humidity in them, and open the ends up during warm days, so it will be more labor intensive than usual, but I can’t let him get ahead of me 🙂

Three nights of temperatures in the teens have put an end to my overwintering cauliflower fantasy. I’ve never been successful at it but continue to think it can happen. Row covers might be the answer. Maybe with global warming it can happen, but not in my lifetime. They made it successfully through the first round of cold nights by folding their leaves over the newly emerging crown, but this time their leaves drooped down around the plant exposing the center leaves to freezing temperatures. I grew frozen cauliflower again 🙂 The morning frosts do add an enchantment to the land. Having everything silhouetted with white adds a contrast to the shadows. You notice things that you didn’t recognize before. It’s like when snow covers a junk pile and it looks like a work of art 🙂

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