January in New England does not bring to mind gardening, except to those die-hards impatiently waiting for the first hard melt. These frosty days January is a time where we fanaticize about gardens to come stimulated by the appearance of seed and gardening catalogues in the mail box. For us, it’s Christmas in January with gifts from Johnny’s, Baker Creek, Territorial and dozens of other companies that seed our hopes and interests in the warmer months to come.
I have given up hope for my hoop house garden as over 60 inches of snow, 20 degree weather and few sunny days in the last month make survival unlikely for even the hardiest of Swiss chards and winter greens. The beets and carrots should winter over, however. But the sweet March reward from their harvest seems far away and unlikely as another foot of snow blankets my yard.
The drifts in the back yard are over three feet making the walk to the compost heap hazardous as my leg sinks deeply down into the powder and ice as I make my way to it. There is no exothermal reaction from this pile, just a frozen mass of vegetation, like spent popsicles.
I continue to think about starting up a winter greens garden in my crawl space using shop lights and high temperature fluorescent bulbs, but every time I think about building something I am thwarted by the need to shovel snow. Today is no exception.