It was a warm winter and quite dry, though not as dry as the winter of 2014 is turning out to be. We lost few plants and realized dormant plants still need water. This winter we are watering our dormant plants as we have only had one or two significant snowfalls. Here in Nevada we depend on snowfall for our water. The winters of 2013 and 2014 are shaping up to be the warmest and driest on record. So while the Midwest and East Coast are going through record snowfalls, out West we are in the midst of a drought and warmer than normal temperatures.
2013 was Year Two of our urban homesteading project. We built two new raised beds, added some decorative features for flowers. The vegetables we planted included yellow squash, Japanese eggplant and pumpkins. Here's what we learned about these plants. Squash bugs love yellow squash and pumpkins. Last winter was not cold enough to kill off the squash bug eggs, consequently, our squash and pumpkins were over-whelmed with squash bugs this year. Since the most effective organic way to combat squash bugs is to pluck them off and throw them in soapy water, we were over-whelmed as well.
On the bright side, the Japanese eggplant did well. It's purple flowers look great in our front yard along with sunflowers and other flowers we planted. The herbs did well, though the basil I planted this year was not as prolific as the ones I planted in 2012. On the other hand, my pickling cucumbers were extremely prolific producing more then I could handle.
Our tomatoes suffered from an early heat wave while they were flowering and didn't produce as much as last year. What they did produce was very tasty. Finally, the strawberry bed increased in size, but it too suffered in the heat and production was less than last year.
We covered the front yard in decorative rock in late fall. Since then it's been too cold for any major work in the front yard as it gets very little sun in the winter. Come spring we will be adding some wine barrel halves to increase the amount of plants and flowers we grow as well as adding decorative items, such as a bird bath.
Also this fall we picked up eighteen gallons of wine juice which has been fermenting in our basement since then. We will bottle the Pinot Grigio in February. The Cabernet and Old Vine Zin will be bottled this spring. While we didn't get any cherries from our friend Griff this year, we did pick up a flat of cherries during a visit to California and made more cherry brandy and bourbon then we can drink.
This winter we are going to concentrate on the back yard. The plan is to incorporate inexpensive raised beds with a mexican style patio and fence. However, we have a lot of cleaning up to do. Hopefully, we'll get the garage painted this year as well.
That's the re-cap of activities at Full Circle House for 2013. I'll try and get monthly updates out during 2014.