December Harvest

There were a few chantrelles in the woods still calling, so a foraging we will go! It was a late season this year, also minimal. I’ve written more reflections on the weather and mushroom cycles in previous blogs. It was truly marvelous to find these fungi treasures!

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December is not usually a time of lush greens, but thanks to the cloche, there are a variety of succulent vegetable bliss. After such success with overwintering greens, I added other cold hardy crops like peas and chard into the mix. Kale seems to bounce back quickly after frosts, though I am cultivating some in the cloche.

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The one critical point about winter gardening this year is my lack of utilizing the greenhouse more efficiently. It’s a great growing space, but the cold temperatures at our elevation require heating to maintain growth. This challenge is easy enough to remedy using compost and animals, but I’ve not built a system yet, and am still questioning even the placement of the green house.

The front and kitchen gardens are wonderful, and the cloche design could expand. This takes the pressure off needing greenhouse space for the winter vegetables. Perhaps turning the greenhouse into a mini barn set up, complete with chickens (or rabbit), manure compost system; and raised start beds. That’s the kind of demonstration space for a small scale gardening systems Leafhopper Farm is all about.

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On a festive note-

Holiday greens are an old tradition in the dark winter times. Coniferous decoration brings color and pleasant smells into the house; along with light, from candles to electric string lights of today. There is indeed a celebratory feeling in decking the halls with boughs, or in this case, a young cypress tree. This cultivar will find its way into the farm’s tree nursery. Right now, it’s small branches are holding up symbols of goodness to brighten the cold nights and short days. Fungi and octopuses dominate; all decorations, which usually hang modestly above the stove in the kitchen. In this time of sticking close to the hearth for warmth and comfort, gratitude to all the gifts and thanksgiving we share.

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