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Hodgson Biologic
2 Klarides Village Drive
Box 205
Seymour, Connecticut


In Connecticut's
Naugatuck Valley

Winter, Early 2013

Winter, Early 2013
Tea Garden in Winter
I find it best to take gifts from the earth as they come to me, and try not to dwell too much on why they are here, now. Though that is my natural tendency, less gets done that way. So here we are.

The past few days have been above freezing, daytime temperatures above 7C (45F). How is this a gift? It is a great favor, because right around the time I needed to get a number of garden tasks done before the snow and freeze arrived, I came down with a rotten cold, had other commitments to meet, and several inches of snow fell. Then the temperatures dropped. They dropped quite a bit. Okay, enough whining.

The list of things to do included getting compost and soil bagged up and into a shelter that would keep it from freezing so that I could use it for wintersowing and late winter seed starting indoors and getting the front tender perennial and garlic beds thoroughly mulched.

This break in the weather has allowed me to catch up on a number of those tasks, and I am grateful, and I feel like I have received a pardon.

The ducks and I have enjoyed this morning. The mulch I prefer to use for the garlic is enriched duck pen bedding. It contains nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and trace minerals, carbon, some nice fibrous material, and is alive with beneficial bacteria and fungi. It draws beneficial macro invertebrates like worms to the garden. It is a treasure!

I would urge everyone to consider having a few special pets, like ducks, chickens, rabbits, goats or sheep. They are work, yes. They require a certain kind of infrastructure and care. Yup. Learning curve is steep. Agreed. It may not be the way to go for you. But I would say that unless you consider it and discover that it would be harmful to you or the animals, or if it would be violating an ordinance in your town, you may be unnecessarily missing out on an extremely satisfying addition to your gardening, and to your whole life.

I purchase feed and bedding, and the ducks turn them into fertilizer and enriched mulch. Their enriched bedding attracts worms and other beneficial animals, adding to the ducks' intake of protein and the quality of the soil. And the ducks are fun. They are friendly, and curious, and enthusiastic. I cannot remain blue in the company of ducks. This time of year, that is another blessing.

So, before I head back out to the garden to get a couple more things done before the "wintry mix" tonight and the plunge in temperatures heading our way, I want to say thanks to those who read these very occasional newsletter posts.

And remember, in New England we can garden all year long!