Gardening · Homesteading

December On The Homestead

The theme for December 2022 was “cold”. I am not complaining though. Cold is good, and it helps the land reset itself for the spring. You need cold hours for fruit trees and to kill of insects, especially those that are not native.

But the one thing I really noted this year was how dark it was. Yes, December is always dark-ish, since we have less than 8 and a half hours of daylight hours, but this year it just seemed so much darker. I feel the after affects of Tonga’s volcanic explosion continue to affect us, even nearly a year out. The UV Index is low nearly every day, so on the rare blue sky day, no matter how cold, I make myself go outside and get Vitamin D exposure. It really helps with your mood for sure.

The other thing is low egg production. It’s just so much lower than usual. I asked it as a crowd source question on multiple Facebook pages, and the answer is? That all the hens are producing far less than normal in the PNW. I am not imagining this slow down. The hens feel the darkness as well. Even those using supplemental lighting are seeing less eggs.

For that reason alone I will be happy to see the light return in January and February.

On a sunny day I got out to check some plants I put in the ground in fall, to see how they are faring. They are not protected at all. Just an experiment of mine. Here is a test with Green Onions (Scallions) of two ages, from summer and from fall plantings. They have dealt with the freezing quite well. I’ll probably cut the summer ones back end of winter and let them regrow to be fresh.

Another experiment, to see if it makes the winter. Spinach. If all does well, it will start growing in early spring.

With a couple days of sun, the Rhubarb decided to suddenly grow, then the chickens attacked it for fresh food. They love Rhubarb leaves.

Knowing cold weather was predicted, I covered the plants in the greenhouse with frost fabric to give it an extra boost. I am overwintering a number of our alpine strawberry plants. As an experiment of course.

We got snow in two separate storms in December. The first snow was just a dusting of icy pellets.

Winter Solstice came, and gave us the shortest day.

And more snow came.

For the island, in the Olympic Rainshadow, 6″ is a good snowfall.

It stuck around for far too long, as behind it came freezing temperatures for days. Finally it melted and the rains came. With more wind storms. Still, I prefer rain to snow any day.

It was a quiet month. Not much to do besides feeding the chickens.

Spring will be here before we know it, and the work will start.