The Winter Garden

February 28, 2011

“For every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.”  Whether you recognize this as a 60’s folksong by the Byrds, or as a Bible  quote from the book of Ecclesiastes,  there is certainly truth to this sentiment.


Winter in North Georgia Mountains

Much as we wish it was Spring in the North Georgia Mountains,  it is still Winter, and will be for another few weeks.   And, as in all the seasons, there is plenty to do in the organic garden.  Now is the time to be preparing the earth, spreading manure, tilling under the remnants of last year’s crops, getting ready for the busy-ness of Summer.

But, in the midst of this preparation, the person with a mind for sustainability will also be looking at planting a late Winter garden.  If you live in the same general climate as North Georgia, it is time to get certain plants in the ground: Romaine lettuce, Swiss chard,  cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels  sprouts – to name a few.  Also, onions, rhubarb, strawberries, fruit trees, and berry plants such as blueberry bushes are ready for planting while it is yet cold.

Red Onion Sets, Ready for Planting

If you are wondering what to plant NOW in the location where you live, there are two simple ways to find the answer.  One is to look up Winter gardens either on the Internet or at the library.  Many of these resources will have zone maps to help you decide what to plant when.  Another clue is to observe what plants your local hardware store or feed store is selling.  If you are fortunate enough to have a local feed store, the folks who work there have a wealth of knowledge – just for the asking – about gardening, soil preparation, organic soil additives.

Should a major cold snap occur, you can protect winter vegetables  by building a cold frame. Make it about 3 feet wide and 6 feet long and cover it with glass or plastic.Discarded windows can make an excellent cold frame.  By  putting  a hinge on one side, you can open the cold frame to care for the plants inside. Alternately,  you can can throw old blankets or burlap bags over your cold frame; when the weather warms up to normal,  remove the protective covers.   There are also hoops available commercially which are used as cold frames;  the hoop forms a canopy shape over the Winter plants and can be draped with plastic or fabric for plant protection.

So, now that you have prepared the soil, collected your gardening tools, purchased or propagated your plants,  put your Winter Veggies into the earth…  And,  just add water!

To everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under the sun.
A time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal …
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance …
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to lose and a time to seek;
a time to rend and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Happy Winter gardening; and, we look forward to seeing you at Enota!

ENOTA Retreat Campground & Eco-Village

1000 Highway 180, HIawassee, GA  30546

(706) 896-9966



Getting Ready for Spring!

February 25, 2011


If you speak with almost anybody up here in the North

Georgia Mountains, they will tell you the same thing,

“I am tired of Winter, and ready for warmer weather.”

According to the old-timers from around these parts,

it has been an unusually cold Winter.

One of the sure signs that Spring is approaching is the birth of our baby goats! We have nine kids, all born within about a week of each other. They are precious!

... some of our kids...

As a facility dedicated to education we allow visiting guests to be more engaged with our animals. We are socializing our new baby goats more with people and less with their mothers.  This will make them friendly and trusting toward our visitors.  The kids nursed from the the Nanny goats for about a week, during which time they were able to get the much needed colostrum which is only produced for the first three days and will allow them to be much healthier their whole lives; this week is also important because it allows time for a bond to form between the mother goats and their babies. The kids were then placed into another pen and are being bottle-fed.  Of course, this created more work – milking the Nanny goats, then bottle feeding the kids – but, the results are already obvious.  When the kids see the workers arriving with their bottles, they EAGERLY approach the men.  And, this is a good thing.  These little creatures will grow up associating people with food, petting, being held… just what the doctor ordered for our guests first experience with farm animals!

One-one-one attention

One on the Nanny goats had three kids – a pair of twins, plus a little runt who weighed less than half what the other kids weighed.  Momma goat rejected the runt, so this very special little goat is being cared for almost entirely by humans.  “Lil Bit”  has been bottle-fed since birth, wears a diaper when she is in the home of her caretakers, loves to be held,  and socializes with her foster parents’  cats, dogs, and chickens.

Where is your diaper, young lady?

We predict that “Lil Bit” will be the star of the farm. Our regular farm tours typically start Memorial Day weekend, but we are expecting our two cows to calf sometime in April or May so we will begin tours early this year if there is enough demand.

Other  Springtime plans and projects another day!

ENOTA Retreat Campground & Eco-Village

1000 Highway 180, Hiawassee, GA  30546

(706) 896-9966



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