Monday, October 26, 2009

Growing Garlic

We decided to grow garlic last fall. It was simple to do and low maintenance throughout. Our books recommend getting garlic from a seed store but in November 2007 we went to the grocery and picked out a couple of nice organic cloves (the danger in either case is taking garlic home to grow that was not grown in your region and isn't as productive given certain environmental conditions). For the next 2 years we ordered organic garlic seed from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

To begin, pick a sunny space in your yard (maybe a flower bed or anywhere you can spare) and plant bulbs 6 inches apart about a month or 2 before the soil freezes. After planting cover with a layer of straw or mulch. In the spring you can remove the mulch and look for sprouts. Garlic will grow well with only moderate attention, but it is slow growing. It is ready to harvest when the leaves begin to turn brown or fall over. This generally happens in late summer but as you can see we are harvesting here at the beginning of June (probably a combination of poor soil and extreme heat). But it was worth it! Remember that the garlic will inhabit its place in the yard from Fall to late summer but you can companion plant with lettuce underneath the maturing garlic.

Here the girls are spreading our first harvest of vermicompost (worm poo) in the spot where we will be planting the garlic cloves. This was November of 2007

Jen took this picture so she would remember where the cloves were planted.
Garlic growing in spring of 2008.
After we pulled it up last week we let it sit and cure in a shady spot for about a week.
Note: Cost=3 bulbs. Payoff=30 bulbs.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall gardening 2009

We are growing a lot of the same things that we did last year but we've added lots of new stuff to the soil. Over the past few weeks, Daniel has added many bales of hay, another load of free wood chips, and a load of municipal compost to the garden. All the plants in these beds we started from seed indoors a few months ago.
Here is a batch of compost tea brewing. Daniel made and applied 2 batches to the garden so far. We were inspired by this gardener in Alaska who sells tea brewing kits and grows amazingly huge veggies. Here is the youtube video about his product--we didn't buy it but made something similar of our own.

The lettuces are looking beautiful and just about ready to harvest.

This is the biggest cabbage we've had. Still has a bit of growing to do.
Here is a bed of kale that has been hit hard by slugs.

Here is a close up. Once Daniel figured out what was destroying these greens, he started going out "slugging" after dark with a flashlight (picking off the slugs). There has been a lot of caterpillars on most of the greens so he's also been on the lookout for those guys during the day. He also sprayed some BT, an organic pesticide. A few of the transplants didn't make it but most of them are starting to come back with new leaves.
Here is a bed of lacinato kale that we've already been harvesting from. In the back of the row are the huge eggplants that are still producing. Behind the eggplants are a few small brussels sprouts that you can't see.
Here's broccoli.
Collards, sweet potatoes and other left over summer veggies.

Our weather is finally cool enough so we can enjoy a fire in the evening. It was a nice way to finish our weekend.

Originally posted October 4, 2009