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Gardening in winter- Outdoors

It may seem like there is not much to do in winter. That you can sit back and relax until it is time to get busy planting in spring. The opposite is actually true. I feel like winter is the busiest time for me, but perhaps that is because it is unpleasant work most of the time. When you do not have a high cold tolerance going out in freezing weather just sucks. You might be wondering what I could possibly have to do. Other than the animals, which require more intensive and hands on care when it is cold, plants need winter love too.

This winter has been rather stressful for me actually. This is the first winter with the orchard trees and a bad one as far as temp, wind and lack of moisture go. Our windbreak/tree line is in bad shape. I’ve been watching conifers die all over the place but I was hoping mine were established enough to persevere. They aren’t.

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Dying pine20150228_150925 20150228_150928 20150228_150930 20150228_151026

The tree line did help keep snow. That makes me happy!20150228_151031

We went out on March 1 to see how things were surviving. I think it is safe to say none of the black walnuts have made it. Between my lack of attention and rabbits, they all died. The fruit trees are looking very good though. The swales have done a very good job of collecting what snow we get. I bent a branch back on every tree just as a bit of a test and all but 1 appear to be healthy. The bubblegum plum that struggled last year does not appear to have made it through the winter. I suppose I won’t know for sure until spring.

The grapes, who knows. I made a lot of mistakes with the grapes. I planted them wrong, they caught every disease they could and then I pruned them badly and transplanted them worse. I have more grapes coming this year and I am going to do a lot better by them, I hope.

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Helpers20150228_151507

Bend test20150228_151813

This tree….the wind just keep blowing it over.

The blackberries I’m unsure on. They did really great last year but they are looking a bit rough now. I’ve fenced them but the wind and rabbits keep getting through anyway. I can tell they’ve been really chewed up. I’m interested to see how they spring back.

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I enjoyed seeing snow collecting not on our entire driveway but just in the swales we put in last year. Very refreshing! My little helpers enjoyed this trek outdoors as well.

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This is a low spot in the driveway and you can see the collection basin, full of snow, as well.20150228_151219

Driveway snow in swale20150228_150410

This is a water collection basin behind the house. It isn’t well done and has lots of hills of dirt. Our son loves that part of it.20150228_150402

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Enjoy this view of the only time she actually walked while we were outdoors. I keep telling her I gave her legs….20150228_150346

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