It’s A Good Time To Divide Your Artichokes

It’s a good time to divide your artichokes. Fall and winter is when the plants go dormant and is the best time to propagate. I have been remiss in this regard and had five new plants surrounding an established one. Popping them up out of the ground was easy with a four tined spading fork, but I needed a shovel to dig the new holes because the ground was so dry that the dirt fell through the prongs. I was delighted with all the air pockets, worm tunnels and tiny decomposed root channels that I found in the dirt clods that came up. Keeping mulch constantly on the ground definitely improves soil texture. Mulching is the number one gardening technique for plant success, because it builds healthy soil, but I’ve started itching to turn compost into the soil to hasten it’s tilth.

The asparagus ferns have all turned tan so it’s time to cut them down. They recommend leaving two inches of stem sticking up but I don’t know why. Maybe it’s to keep you from walking on the bed in the winter. Maybe it’s a guide to how much compost you should put on. I’m very reluctant to cut them down this year because of the privacy they provide. They are a thick, tall hedge and I enjoy “sittin’ in the morning sun” , and “sittin’ when the evening comes” :). I felt compelled to cut them down before the rains came so I could get compost on the bed to trickle down nutrients to their roots. Instead I threw shovelfuls of compost into the bed from all sides and got it covered. Now I can leave the ferns for awhile. I’ve read that the reason to cut them down is to prevent the asparagus beetle and other parasites from overwintering so I’ll have to do it eventually 🙁

The birds are flying into the greenhouse to eat the cauliflower leaves, instead of eating the ones right outside the door. I couldn’t get birds inside to eat the caterpillars, but now they’re eating the leaves. The plants are taller and probably more tender than the ones in the garden, even though I haven’t closed the door yet this winter. The shelves in the greenhouse are incredibly disorganized and I realized I’m waiting for a rainy day to straighten them out. Working in the greenhouse on a rainy day is the most enjoyable gardening thing to do if you like the sound of rain on the roof. We are linear thinkers in an analog world so we miss an awful lot of what’s available to us. The “white noise” of rain prevents us from hearing all the more subtle sounds that surround us, and eliminates them from interrupting our thoughts.

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