We removed the fences from the small fruit trees to pull out grass, and yesterday a deer ate most of the apples off the apple tree, along with the tops off two tomato plants.
I planted 12 corn seeds in half of the area where Heather harvested garlic today. I’m just three days later than when I started last year. I’ll plant some more each week for the next month or so as the rest of the garlic gets harvested. I love having a month-long supply of corn on the cob in late summer. Yum!
Today I harvested 130 heads of Italian garlic. It was so satisfying.
This garlic was part of Josh’s birthday gift to me in September 2022. He ordered a beautiful purple italian variety for me to plant last fall. He also connected with a friend and got several pounds of another variety (which I call the “Roberts’ garlic”). Top 10 birthday gift. ❤️❤️❤️
During the 2021-2022 gardening season, ALL of our garlic plants (and leeks) were eaten by a gopher. Because of this, I over-planted garlic last September to ensure that we not only had backup garlic this summer, but backup-backup garlic, and worst-case-scenario garlic, and apocalyptic end-of-days garlic.
My strategy has worked so far. Kinda. We still have a gopher popping up near the pasture garlic patch (with only one alliumicide so far). But the garlic patch by the front door is untouched, as is the allium row in our main garden. We even had three renegade clumps of garlic pop up under the grape vines, which is where they had been planted the previous season. Those lucky three garlics somehow evaded the Great Gopher Garlic Gorge of 2021-2022.
When we lived in upstate New York, there was an older lady in our apartment building who gave me some advice. “If it’s 5 o’clock and you haven’t started cooking dinner, start sauteing some garlic– it’ll trick your husband into thinking dinner’s almost ready.” Not sure I’m on board with tricking my husband (plus, he’s always so willing to be a part of anything I do in the kitchen), however I do believe that the smell of sauted garlic is inspiring. It’s a solid flavor base for any meal.
None of the other garlic I planted last fall is ready to harvest yet. In my very first year of garlic growing, I harvested everything the week of the 4th of July. Today is only May 26th!! Hurray for early harvests!! Maybe the rest will be ready in July. You know when it’s time to harvest after you remove the scapes, then watch for the third leaf to begin browning, and that’s when you harvest. If the first bulb you pull isn’t fully formed wait a week and try, try again.
This September I will plant more and more and more garlic. My goal is to grow the garlic under the grape vines and beneath the fruit trees. We dumped a bunch of wood chips under the grape vines early this spring (Josh almost got the tractor stuck, but he was able to dig himself out with the bucket). Hopefully the area under the grapes and beneath the fruit trees will become a happy home for my allium allies.
The Italian garlic is curing in the carport on some wire racks. Lots of airflow. It’ll rest there for about 2 weeks, then I’ll be able to braid or otherwise process my beautiful, beautiful garlic.
I love garlic. I love **everything** about garlic.
And if you’re a TL:DR kind of person, I’ll give you Josh’s version of this post:
“Heather harvested 130 garlic bulbs this morning. It’s curing on racks in the carport. She planted different varieties of garlic in several spots on our property. The other varieties she planted aren’t ready to be harvested yet.” ☺️
The neighbor’s hay got cut on May 17, way earlier than usual. I wonder if there will be a second cutting this year.
The garden is mostly planted now. Transplanted: hops, kale, peppers, and tomatoes. Seeded: beans.
Grant’s garden is also started: Old Mother Stallard beans and a couple dozen watermelon seeds.
We transplanted a rhubarb plant on the north side of the house.
The cilantro that overwintered is blooming, so we should be able to harvest coriander seed soon. Heather checked a couple of garlic plants, and they have about four plump cloves per head. Hopefully by harvest time on June, they’ll have more cloves, but they’re looking great.
Karen the sheep was late to lose her winter coat this year. She still has a small patch on her back.
The mushrooms got “planted” (or whatever the word is) today.
Heather seeded rutabagas in the garden about a week ago, and they’re sprouting.
We had another cool, wet week after the hot day. The pear tree has just finished blooming, and the apple tree is in bloom.
We transplanted celery in the garden. It’s our first time trying to grow it. We also transplanted leeks.
We transplanted kale today on the south side of the house. We’ll see if it gets too dry this summer. “It’ll be fine, it’ll be fine,” Heather says just now.
I’m enjoying harvesting dandelions this year. We didn’t even have to plant them, and they’re one of the first harvests of the year.
It has been a very rainy month, but then yesterday was a high of 88°. The plum tree is done blooming, and now the pear tree is blooming.
The onions are growing really well. Heather planted a few more a couple days ago.
Today Heather transplanted cabbage, and she seeded some bush beans. It might still be too early for beans, but we’ll see.
Three artichoke plants survived last summer and through the winter. I finally mulched them with a thick layer of wood chips. Hopefully that will help them out this year.
Heather started parsley in trays a month ago, and it finally sprouted (parsley takes a while). She also has a bunch of lettuce starts waiting to be transplanted.
Heather planted potatoes on March 18.
This season has been cold and wet, and we think our about two weeks behind normal. I’m trying to pay more attention to the environment than the calendar to know when to plant things. Our plum tree is finally blossoming, and dandelions are starting to bloom. The pear tree and the young fruit trees are still at bud stage.
Heather planted peas yesterday. She also transplanted kale from the cold frame to the open air garden.
The onions are taking root and starting to grow shoots.
We’ve been slowly harvesting “perpetual spinach” (a type of chard) from one of the cold frames. I’ve also enjoyed harvesting the abundant dandelion greens.
Grant and I spent a couple hours spreading wood chips to double the size of his garden.
Heather and I planted about 10 feet of onions on row 1 of our garden.
We have a second cold frame now. This one has an auto-opening top based on the temperature.
The weather was cold and snowy in the second half of February.
I did winter pruning this week. Aggressive on the grapes as usual, lightly on the pear and plum, and almost nothing on the young fruit trees we planted in 2019.
We cleaned up the garden and put on a layer of wood chips today. And I gave the lawn its first cut of the year.
We also built a cold frame out of an old window we removed from the house and some scrap wood.
I had to split the tractor again. The clutch pressure plate levers all broke. Weird. I was quicker at it this time, though. It’s running nicely now.
We were fortunate to get another load of seasoned firewood, so we’ll probably end up using maybe two cords this winter. We’re using more now that we have more. We have lots of green wood to cut and split, including some humongous chunks of maple. That’s great wood for burning. We’re also gradually figuring out how to manage fires in the woodstove. It seems like it’s best to get it up to a high temperature (600º F) before switching the bypass damper and activating the catalyst. Otherwise, it smokes.
We’ve checked out a couple farmers markets last weekend and today to see what kind of produce they’re selling this time of year so we can improve our year-round gardening. Leeks, garlic, onions, potatoes, kale, radicchio, and a great find: January king cabbage.
Heather planted garlic all over the place last fall. It’s looking great so far.
Lots to catch up on:
The garden was later than usual this year but quite productive. We had days in the 80s into mid-October, so the harvest kept coming. I picked an ear of corn a day for dinner for about two months. Heather made lots of pasta/pizza sauce and salsa with the tomatoes and peppers, and salsa verde with the green tomatoes when the frost came. Heather planned a second crop of potatoes after harvesting the first, and she got a great second harvest.
Grant’s garden in the pasture was a huge success. He just covered the issue head with lots of wood chips during the winter, then planted in late spring. He had lots of corn and zinnias, and he was harvesting melons into early November.
The deer finally discovered our garden a few weeks ago. They’ve decimated some of the greens that we would like to harvest through the winter. I guess we’ll have to come up with some defenses.
Heather has planned a bunch of garlic, boy in the garden and next to the pasture. We’re going is not concerned by gophers again next year.
It looks like the commercial hazelnut harvest was good this year. They harvested the orchard behind us at the end of September and made a second round in mid-October just as the rain was coming .
We started using our woodstove in mid-October when weather abruptly turned from hot to rainy. (Then the rain went away again, but the cold stayed.) We have less than we would like for this winter, but it is enough to make a difference. Plus, when we get installed upstairs in mid-December, we hope that will help a lot. We bought a catalyst for the woodstove, and we’re gradually learning how to use the stove efficiently. We should have plenty of wood for next year, though. A lot of it is pine, and I wish we had more hardwoods, but it’s all free, so we’ll take it. We have probably split and stacked about two cords so far, and we still have those big chunks of pine to cut and split.
Speaking of splitting: I’ll probably have to split the tractor again. The clutch is slipping, and I’m guessing one of the springs on the clutch may have broken.
This week a tree service dumped off some huge chunks of pine. We’ll use the wood for heating next winter (2023-24). We probably have about one cord of seasoned wood ready for this winter. We don’t know how much we’ll use, since it will be our first winter with a woodstove.
Here’s our entire plum harvest for this year:
But the blackberries– wow! It’s a bumper year!
The pole beans are late but looking really lush:
Wacky summer. 3/5. Would not do this again.
We had a really slow start to summer in May+June with super cold + wet weather. Then this past week (last week of July) has been 7 days of 100.
Our rag-tag garden is producing, and I’m keeping my expectations low.
The neighbor’s hay was cut yesterday, a few weeks later than last year. I’ve heard this is a bumper year for hay. If my allergies are any evidence, I’d say it’s true. The neighbor’s fence took a bit of a thrashing yesterday, too.
It’s July 3rd and our peas are producing like crazy. Everything else is just struggling. We’ve had a few days of strong sunshine, but many days are “Seattle gray”–meaning it’s 100 percent cloud cover in the morning, burning off to 80 percent cloud cover by 3pm.
Honestly, I don’t know if we’ll get tomatoes or beans this year. If we do, it will be a miracle–and I don’t use that word hyperbolically.
I planted the last batch of corn today. I think it might be too late, but we’ll see.
Gophers ate my garlic. A lot of it. Maybe it was one lone gopher, maybe it was an underground army of gophers. I don’t know, but I do know that I was planning on a massive garlic harvest this year, and that dream is now writhing on the ground like a half-dead burrito.
Over the past few months I have watched gophers systematically take down bulb after bulb in my precious garlic patch, taking out half of my elephant garlic, half of my hard neck garlic and half of my soft neck garlic.
Gophers are extremely hard to exterminate with a pellet gun–I’ve tried. They only pop up for a few seconds before heading back down. It’s really a game of crazy luck to be able to see a gopher and have time to open the window, load and aim before the furry garlic theif goes back down. I’ve done it once in my lifetime, and I earned the respect of everyone that my husband told the story to. “The day Heather shot a gopher from the kitchen window.” I faked modesty whenever he told the story, but I was dang proud and still am.
This morning I looked out the window and noticed two more stalks of my elephant garlic were sideways. I went out to survey the damage, when I noticed a burrito-sized animal writhing a few inches away from a freshly dug hole near the elephant garlic.
It was a partially-alive gopher–with an aching belly full of my garlic, no doubt. I poked it with the fallen green stems left over from its elephant garlic bulb feast. It continued to squirm. It was awful. I felt bad for its suffering, but still had time to deliver this powerful, embarrassingly loud speach, that hopefully struck fear and dread into the hearts of nearby sub-earth dwellers (and unfortunately, a few people walking by):
“YOU SHOULD NOT EAT MY GARLIC. THAT IS NOT A NICE THING TO DO. THIS IS MY GARLIC AND I DON’T WANT TO SHARE IT. YOU ATE SO MUCH, AND THAT IS PROBABLY WHY THIS TERRIBLE THING IS HAPPENING TO YOU. DO NOT EAT MY GARLIC.”
And so, I publicly issue this warning to all sub-earth dwellers: Let the words of my impassioned, bold speech echo in your ears, and share these words with your fellow ground dwellers, your children and your children’s friends, since you probably won’t live long enough to meet your grandchildren.
The Owner of the Garlic