And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
– Genesis 1:14-15 KJV
My apologies for no “Robin Tuesday” or “Willow Wednesday” posts this week, but the past few days have been full of illness and body aches, and the Deck Farm has preoccupied a good bit of my time. Mr. Awesome came down with a nasty stomach bug Monday and spent Tuesday and Wednesday recuperating. I’ve either been having a touch of the flu myself or a wicked Fibromyalgia flare. But enough of what has been going wrong. Today is a special day in my new gardening year, the end of Solar Winter in our area!
In Four-Season Harvest, author Eliot Coleman refers to the period of the year when there are ten hours or less of daylight as “Solar Winter”, or the “Persephone Days”. This is the period of the year when plants grow the least, even under cover. After doing a web search it was fairly easy to determine that in our area, Solar Winter lasts from around November 8 to January 31. That means today is a new beginning!
Now, as Coleman is quick to point out, there is a big difference between Solar Winter and what the thermometer says. In our area, February is traditionally one of our worst months for low temps and generally nasty weather (not to mention illness), and that can often last well into April. Looking at the weather forecast, we aren’t supposed to get above freezing for the foreseeable future, so I’m not going to be starting my tomatoes and cukes any day soon. But I do have the majority of my cold hardy crops and annuals started, and Lord willing, between the garage setup and cold frames, they will survive to see more pleasant weather (one of the great perks of container gardening, you can haul your crops inside if you really want to!).
I have to say, this has been one of the most pleasant winters I’ve had. The Garden Antsies haven’t been nearly so bad this year, thanks to Coleman’s book and what I’ve tried to implement into my gardening program after reading it. I haven’t had much by way of Garden Withdrawal, praise God. I’ve done a lot of reading, and I’m learning a lot. I’ve been able to add a number of things to the Deck Farm that make me more excited for this year than any of those past. Jesus has been good to us, and I feel incredibly blessed.
So what now? Having done so much for the Deck Farm in January, I’ll admit that February is looking rather dull. But I can read. And blog. I can sow a few more things, and above all keep an eye on what I’ve started to see if it was worth it to start it all so early, and pray that God will give us the best garden yet.
The day is thine, the night also is thine: though hast prepared the light and the sun.
– Psalm 74:16 KJV
Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, The New York Public Library. “An analemma, shewing by inspection, the time of sun rising and sun setting, the lengths of days and nights, the beginning and end of twilight …” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1786. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/f2b72690-857c-0132-40ce-58d385a7b928