Winter Garden Update

I’ve been doing a little winter gardening this year, and I’ve had some interesting successes I thought I’d share here:

Gooseberries:

Last year my dad had a bumper crop of gooseberries. He has three different plants, and a couple different varieties that have largely been ignored for the past five or six years.

One of his plants is a slightly less-common red variety. The taste of the berries are out of this world. I really can’t come up with a way to describe it. Gooseberries and currants, while extremely popular in the UK, are seldom grown here in the states. Both are supposed to be very easy to propogate. With this in mind, I started my first experiment in plant propogation.

I took 2-year old cutting from the gooseberry plant in September, when the leaves were beginning to turn. I cut  several 12″ pieces that had 10-12 leaves on them. I dipped them in root growth hormone and potted them.

Then I promptly forgot about them for a month. I wasn’t sure if they needed a dormancy phase so I simply put them on the floor in our guest bedroom. I completely forgot to water them for a month.  When I rediscovered them, I was fairly certain I had killed them all. However, I put them under lights and gave them water.

Lo and behold, they started to grow! All six of my cuttings made a comeback (but three got eaten by the puppy). Initially, they all looked like this:

Pretty much a dead stick with a few tiny leaves growing off of a bud. However, over the course of a couple months, they now look like this:

I’ll plant them all into the garden this year and see how they do…

Other Stuff:

In addition, I planted some habanero peppers, jalepeno peppers, and basil to keep myself occupied. Finally, I started my onions yesterday. Last year I started them in march and they ended up really weany. We’ll see if I can get a good crop this year.

I got a soil test for the first time this year, and it shows that my soils are really low on phosphorus. This could be the culprit for my less-than-awesome harvest the last few years. I’ll be putting a lot of organic fertilizer into the garden this year…

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