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When It's Too Cold to Garden...

As we approach December, morning in the garden is now a completely different thing. Fortunately, when we bought this house three months ago, I remembered distinctly how we'd moved into our Emerald City home in the fall, and little time we had before winter (and there we'd arrived in October!), and am so very grateful I went into Full Machine Mode designing and prepping both the front and back gardens as much as possible...because we've had 3 straight mornings waking up below freezing, and three more to go this week. And with the low hanging sun, it means there are certain areas of the backyard in particular that stay in pure frost because of large evergreens a few lots down from us.

Winter garden prep for us means a few key things:

1) Heated Waterer. If you've never had one, stop and get one. NOW. It's basically a bucket with an outdoor power cord, and you can just attach a long extension cord to it and snake it into your birds' coop/house. These keep the temp just above freezing so it doesn't ice over - it's not a 'heater', so it is not jacking up your electric bill and keeps your birds happily. I believe I paid under $30 for ours 7 years ago. Works just fine for chooks and ducks!

2) Foam Faucet Covers. I'm pretty sure our two outdoor faucets aren't frost-free as we'd like them to be, so I've got these $3 foam faucet covers over them as a good just-in-case that I've owned for almost two decades.

3) Old Burlap Coffee Bags as Plant Protectors. While several of our potted plants have come in for the winter and put next to a sunny window, we have a 5' ornamental ginger in an Insanely Heavy Pot that will completely disappear under the straw over winter but if it stays warm enough, it comes back with a vengeance the following year, so the bag is great for that...and a pile of extras for insulating our other pots in case of a rare hard freeze.

Beyond that, there's really nothing else we do beyond gripe that it's not spring yet (knowing full well winter solstice is still 3 weeks away)...and start paying attention to the beauty that is the changing of the seasons, the resting of the soil, the sun's angles and shadows that intrigue me endlessly on these freezing mornings, and ....

...yeah, and that our old dog absolutely LOVES the gritty crunch of the icy lawn for his back scratching - yep, at 28 degrees. What a weirdo!


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