Friday, October 29, 2010

Planting the Garlic

I had a few days off from work last week allowing me to putter around the garden and accomplish the final garden cleanup before winter. As I pulled out the peppers and eggplants, I pondered on the best area to plant garlic.


I used one of the 4x4 SFGs to grow garlic last year and thought it worked really well to have an entire bed devoted to one crop since the watering and fertilizer needs were the same. Once the garlic was harvested, I was able to plant the bed with fall carrots.

I decided to keep the planting of garlic all in one bed once again, so that eliminated four of the six SFGs because they still had some fall crops growing in some of the squares. This left only two beds to choose from for the garlic. I picked one and added some compost, some fertilizer, and leveled off the soil.

The garlic seed came from the largest bulbs from this year’s harvest of Romanian Red and Purple Glazier. Romanian Red produced larger bulb with larger cloves and have a mild garlic flavor. The Purple Glazier produced smaller cloves but had a more intense garlic flavor. 


I used a scrap piece of 2x3 and marked a line every 6-inches. I actually marked along the walls of the bed as well so I could keep everything straight. These marks will fade over time.


I measured and plotted the holes for the garlic spacing them 6-inches apart and 4-inches deep (making sure the tops of the cloves were at least 2-inches beneath the soil surface). 



Rain was predicted, so I let mother nature water the garlic bed to settle the soil. This bed will later be covered with a 2-4 inches of shredded leaves to provide some extra insulation for the winter:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Harvest Monday: October 24, 2010

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone can share links to their harvest for the week. It’s fun to see what everyone is harvesting from his or her gardens in different areas.

I had a few days off from work last week allowing me to putter around the garden and accomplish most of the garden cleanup. Each morning we woke to a light frost blanketing the ground and a chill in the air.

The garden is almost empty now, but there were a few small harvests this week:


I was thrilled to see the carrots have sized up quite nicely:



The tips of the carrots are a bit squiggly from penetrating through the raised garden soil into the native soil beneath. Most are around 8- to 10-inches long. I have never had much success at growing carrots until now.

Some of these carrots were eaten fresh, but most were used in the first beef stew of the season. The beef stew also included potatoes, garlic, onions, celery, and herbs from the garden.

Speaking of herbs, I also harvested a bunch of Thyme to dry:


The tomatoes that were harvested earlier this month continue to ripen a little at a time.


I sort through them each week to pull out fruit that shows signs of rotting and the ones turning red to finish ripening on the counter. Once ripe, they are washed and frozen for later use. Last week, I had three gallon sized freezer bags full, this week (thankfully) there was only one. The remaining green tomatoes have been reduced to fit into one paper box.

Be sure to visit Daphne’s Dandelions to see what others are harvesting this week.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Little Frosty

We had a wee bit of a frost over the past couple nights. I was ready for it and harvested all that was left in the garden a week ago. So anything that is still growing I consider a bonus. Not everything was affected by the light frosts, but the zucchini, summer squash, and basil are finished for the season.

So what is left growing in the garden?

Carrots seem to be doing very well. I usually have a difficult time growing carrots, but these are looking quite good:


The lettuce is loving the cooler temperatures. We had warm temperatures even into September. Some of the earlier lettuce plantings bolted in the heat, but the later transplants seem to be doing ok:


Parsley, both flat leaf Italian and Curly are still growing strong. I have dried some and will harvest and freeze a little more this weekend:


My attempt at growing Pak Choi and Chinese Cabbage wasn’t much of a success. I’ll have to remember to use a row cover next time:


The Heritage Raspberries we planted in the spring seem to have adjusted well in their location and are still producing a few berries. I can’t wait to see how they produce next year:


The green tomatoes that were harvested last week are ripening a little at a time. I am washing and freezing these for now to be used over the winter months for soups, stews, sauce, or salsa:


Believe it or not, the peppers were not affected by the frost and are even still blooming. I may be able to harvest a few Jalapeno peppers this weekend:


I am looking forward to the final garden cleanup this weekend. The lawn and paths in between the garden beds are in need of one more mowing before the winter. I also will be planting garlic once I decide where it should go.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Harvest Monday: October 3, 2010

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone can share links to their harvest for the week. It’s fun to see what everyone is harvesting from his or her gardens in different areas.

The thermometer read 36˚F/2˚C as the sun rose early Sunday morning. Our first frost is imminent and was predicted to occur early Monday morning, but we escaped frost free. It is just a matter of time now. The weekend was devoted to preparing for the end of the growing season for the year.

Most of the tomato plants were pulled several weeks ago, but the San Marzano tomatoes growing in the Square Foot Gardens (SFG) were still healthy and producing so they were allowed to grow until first frost. This weekend, I harvested most of the large green and partially ripe tomatoes and trimmed the plants down to the ground. I was surprised to end up with 4 paper case sized boxes of tomatoes. I am not sure if all the green tomatoes will ripen, but I am certain some will.


The rest of the peppers were harvested, there were a few Jalapeno, Bells, and Anaheim left:



A few Zucchini, some small Cayenne peppers, and one Carrot that was pulled up to check the size:


The Purple Trionfo Pole Beans that I am trying to save for next year’s seed were pulled and spread out to finish drying in the basement:


Another batch of tomato sauce was made and canned; herbs were snipped, washed, and dried in the microwave or dehydrator; and one more batch of pesto was made and frozen for later use.

I welcome the end of the growing season. The garden has served us very well this year. Weekends have been busy cooking, canning and freezing each weekly harvest. The freezer and pantry shelves are jam-packed with the garden’s bounty to be used over the winter months.  I am looking forward to a break from gardening for a little while. The upcoming weeks will be busy with final cleanup of the garden, raking, shredding, and composting leaves; and stacking wood. Winter will be here before we know it.

Be sure to visit Daphne’s Dandelions to see what others are harvesting this week.