What do we do with bare root plants delivered in winter? Also, edible hoop house greens!

On January 4th I ordered a red, white and blue wine grape collection from an ebay seller, thecountrygardenshop. I have no idea why they would ship them right away, but they did – I received them a few days ago. They arrived as three bare root plants, bundled together with the roots in moist chunky potting soil in a plastic zip lock baggy. What do I do with this NOW when conditions are bound to get colder before they get warmer outside?

I decided to pot them up and let them stay in the unheated garage with the potted fig and the canna Lilly bulbs until spring. Other options would be to keep them in the warm house or to banish the pots into the greenhouse, which definitely seems to be the most harsh of my choices. Planting out now, even if it’s possible, isn’t something I would try. Last spring I put a couple of grape vines out in the yard in late March and I think it was too cold for them because they didn’t make it.

It seems that my next project will be to erect a grape arbor somewhere in the yard. Mom is concerned that grapes are toxic to dogs and our dog will eat ANYTHING resembling food, so planting the grapes in the back yard may be a problem.

You know what DOESN’T mind the unheated greenhouse this winter? Broccoli raab and French sorrel! Since the cover of the greenhouse is starting to fray and the window panels flap around in the wind sometimes, I wanted to make sure my winter greens stayed nice and cozy during the colder months. I set up a covered hoop house over the in ground bed in the greenhouse and planted broccoli raab around Thanksgiving. After the first round of seedlings popped up, I over-seeded with a different variety a couple of weeks ago. Now, it’s a nice patch of greens that doesn’t seem too bothered by the cold. That said, the plants right against the wall of the greenhouse aren’t thriving, but after a foot or so in from the edge, they are doing very well.

It’s been cold and quiet outside, but I still walk the yard looking for signs of activity – especially since the weather has been so warm on and off this season. The hellebores are coming back up (pictured here) and so are the fall blooming saffron crocus! I wonder if I confused them by PLANTING them in the fall… will they bloom in spring or just come up as foliage through the summer and flower closer to the end of the year?

I put in quite a few new plants this fall and look forward to their spring debuts. There are 5 new bare root White Foam flower in the meadow strip, 5 bare root rhizomes of Tennessee Ostrich-Glade fern in the shady side yard near the may-apples and the filberts.

I suspected the native spice bush, Pond Berry – Lindera melissifolia I put in last year wasn’t doing as well as it should, so I put another one close by along with a Nannyberry (Viburnum dentatum) Plug/Seedling. The Nannyberry is a relative of the highbush cranberry, but it’s supposed to taste better. Which is good because the highbush cranberry is blech! yucky tasting! I also planted 3 American Ginseng Roots (3 yrs old) Panax Quiquefolius and I HOPE they come up this year, it will be my second try planting these in the yard.

I’m looking forward to a spring delivery of 20 Spiderwort Tradescantia virginiana which is a Hardy Perennial with Long Bloom Purple Flowers that is completely edible and supposed to be very tasty!