Getting back in the garden

We had pretty typical Wisconsin November weather this year. Several days of temperatures in the 60s followed by two in the 30s. Rain, a snow flurry or two, a little bit of sleet and the occasional dose of sunshine.

But it's December and when Sunday's weather was in the upper 40s, I thought I better make the most of it while I could. And since the garden has been almost completely forgotten about this year I took the time to do a couple of garden chores that I've been putting off.

First of all, I cleaned up the vegetable garden. It was really a mess and I never should have waited this long. I pulled out about a dozen overgrown frozen cucumbers (which one of the dogs ate and then promptly threw up on the lawn), tomato stalks, the occasional onion that had been missed. This is not good for your garden people. In fact it's a really good way to have diseases live in your soil, not to mention a bunch of volunteer seedlings pop up in places where you don't want them. I'll be paying for this next spring, I can assure you.

I was also planning on mixing in some green sand at this time, but the top of the soil was already frozen, so that too will have to wait. So do as I say, not as I do, and clean out your veggie gardens before they freeze, people!

I also hadn't dealt with the giant pot containing the Papyrus 'King Tut.' I keep this enormous fiberglass container out year round and fill it with red twig dogwood and evergreen boughs in winter, but of course it's difficult to do that when a frozen, dead, enormous annual is residing in it.

Once I got King Tut out of the larger container, you could see how big it had gotten in one summer. The smaller container next to it is actually a little bigger than the container I bought it in and I have no doubt it would have filled whatever container I put it in over the course of the summer.

As I've mentioned before, I grew King Tut in a two- or three-gallon nursery container and sunk it in the larger container and after removing it, I recommend that even more. I'm positive this thing would have taken over the whole pot had it not been contained.

Even getting out the nursery container was a trick, although I did myself no favors by waiting until the top layer of soil was frozen. I had to dig through that and through a rather laborious process of pushing, pulling, levering and prying, I finally got it out. And because I wanted to put it in the compost bin, I also needed to get it out of the plastic pot. And that's where my hori hori knife came in, because there was no way that sucker was coming off without some serious persuation of the sharp blade variety.

The nursery pot was bulging and roots were coming out the bottom.

And check out what it looked like in there. Pot bound much? Those are some serious roots. I'm surprised it didn't look at me one day and say "Feed me, Seymour!"

That's a lot of roots!

So now the pot is all empty and ready for some winter decor. And yeah, I'm a little late on that too, but it won't be the first year that I've had to drill holes in frozen soil in order to put greens and branches in.

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