Thursday, July 27, 2006

garden report, part 2

It's garlic time!!!

I had pulled a couple of garlic plants last week, because the stems were starting to turn brown, but I thought I'd hold off with the rest of the bed and see if the bulbs were going to get any bigger. This morning I pulled the nicest-looking garlic bulb I've ever grown, and tonight I'm going back for the rest. I should have 20-30 garlic bulbs altogether, probably not enough for the year at the rate we use garlic, but my best harvest ever nonetheless. The variety was "Music", a hardneck that was planted last October. I had also planted another variety, "Spanish Roja", that did not fare as well. I can't remember, but I think I ordered the bulbs from Seed Saver's Exchange.

The garlic was planted in a bed that hosted a proliferate growth of Yellow Pear tomatoes last year. I found out that yes, you can get volunteer tomato plants re-seeding themselves even in this cold climate; there is one Yellow Pear plant that is now flowering and producing tiny yellow pears among the garlic. Which gives me a space-saving idea to gnaw on over the winter: why not use the same bed for tomatoes and garlic? The garlic will be well on its way by the time tomatoes are transplanted in, and by the time the tomato plants are large enough to compete with the garlic, the garlic is ready to harvest.

In the next bed over, I'm getting serious zucchini envy. My secretary gave me a bag of zucchini yesterday, and I don't even have any little green ones on the way! I may have some tiny yellow ones, but usually by now it's zucchini time. My pole beans are finally starting to climb up the poles, and my Roma bush beans are flowering with pretty purple flowers. However, some of the plants look like they succumbed to some sort of blight. I got a late start with beans; the bush bean seed from seven years ago that I tried to plant did not sprout, and the Roma beans sprouted very erratically, perhaps due to the cold weather in early June.

Speaking of erratic sprouting, my carrot bed is looking pretty pathetic. I have some plants that are almost normal size for this time of year, but there was almost a month's variation in sprouting times for the carrots. Some did not sprout at all. I'm thinking of doing some fill-in planting in the bare spots to get a later carrot crop.

Same goes for parsnips, even more so. I don't even know if they're worth messing around with.

I'm re-thinking what I said yesterday about Daikon radish. Maybe if Daikons flourish, something is telling me to quit fretting about everything else, and feast on Daikons! I have found some recipes online for relish, and they are good in stir fry with my sugar snap peas and broccoli. We like grilled vegetables; maybe they would be good with a little Teriyaki marinade. I just have to start looking beyond the limited uses of fresh garden produce that I grew up with.


Tracy said...

It's great to hear about your garlic. I'm going to be putting some in for the first time this fall - also from Seed Savers - and your post has gotten me excited about it again!

robin andrea said...

We harvested our garlic about week or two ago. When we lived in Santa Cruz, we planted garlic on the shortest day of the year, and harvested it on the longest. Found out last year that doesn't work this far north. So we planted in October. We got about as much as you did. I think we'll plant more this year. Your garden looks beautiful in the morning. Nice photograph in the post below.

madcapmum said...

Deb, I've been meaning to ask you, are you the one who was going to try the sweet potatoes for northern climates? If you were, how did that go?

Deb said...

Tracy- As I recall, it felt so wrong to be planting something in October, but then it was wonderful to see all of the new garlic shoots in spring when all the other beds were empty.

Robin Andrea- Gardening is always such a learning experience!

madcapmum- That was probably me, but for some reason I never got around to ordering them. It would have been a great year for them, with all the heat we're having! The Hermit just might buy an air conditioner today...