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If you have garlic.. like I have garlic…oh…oh…

garlic1Well, it’s that time of the year again. Or actually, it would be that time of the year in several weeks except that with the hot and extremely dry weather we had this summer, the garlic (as you can see from the photo) basically gave up the ghost and went ‘toes up’ (as we say here in the country) about 2-3 weeks early. We were trialing the two ‘winners’ from last year (Susanville and Vietnamese Red) against three ‘new’ varieties, Music (which actually we’ve grown before), Premium Northern White (which around here is the standard garlic grown by market gardeners) and Early Italian Red. Well, the growing season threw us and the garlic bulbs a complete fluke — hot and incredibly dry from the spring through frankly this weekend, when we finally got some concentrated rainfall for two days. (more…)

Purple peppers and other garden notes

dead garlic Although we really are coming into our gardening season where the veggies are really starting to produce, produce, produce, there are a couple of things which are starting to wind things down.

Like this bit of plot at the back of one of the garden beds. Well, this looks pretty pathetic, doesn’t it? This, my friends, is garlic ready for harvest. It is the first of four varieties that we are trialing here at Chez Siberia (because if it will grow here, it will literally grow anywhere), Susanville. Now, in the catalogs, this is referred to as a ‘mid-season’ garlic, but it’s died back very early here. This growing season (and for garlic, as you recall, we planted the cloves last fall, so the growing season went through the winter and our very chilly and wet spring as well) has been very challenging. Although the garlic was under heaps of snow during the winter, it still was extremely cold (minus 27 degrees F. a couple of times) and we got a couple of late frosts in the spring. So, we are very curious to see how all of the garlics handled the non-perfect growing conditions. (more…)

E-scape to the wild side

scape If you do your shopping at farmers markets or even perhaps a fancy local grocery, you might be seeing these particular items now or in the near future. They are called ‘scapes’ and are a clever by-product of growing garlic. (more…)

Garlic: Music wins again

Last year, at just about this time, I dug up the garlic and we discussed how to pick which garlic and which cloves to save to plant in the fall for the next year. How to choose garlic for seed

And I remarked in that post about how fantastically the variety called ‘Music’ is. And you can get it here: Music
Garlic varieties

Not that I don’t think there are other great garlic varieties out there. What grows well for someone in Missouri might not grow well for us here. But I can tell you that after another horrific summer (and this time it was not wet, dry, hot, wet. We had a horrible dry winter), this variety came out like a champ. As a matter of fact, we had very little snow this winter, so even though the cloves had a bit of growth in the fall, (and we actually had plenty of rain in the fall), they were uncovered all winter long and then went into the spring with no moisture in the soil. The spring was dry too and then we went into June and July up here with practically no rain at all and super high temperatures – the hottest July on record.

So, the garlic was stressed in a major way. And I could certainly tell the difference when I compared the other garlic that I grew in the same bed. Same bed, same soil, same growing conditions, same amount of moisture. Music won again. Big juicy bulbs with huge cloves. Very impressive performance given the heat and drought stress. The photo at the top is a “Music” bulb that I partially uncovered to take a photo so that you can see just how big and robust it is. That bulb was about 3″ across at the bottom. I can’t recommend this variety enough.

What to do with volunteers?

Volunteers in a vegetable garden come from several sources: The odd tomato that went bad, fell to the ground and was forgotten over the winter. The random potato or potato piece that had enough of an eye and potato left to sprout again in the spring. The onion set that didn’t grow very well and was missed in digging up the bed and has sprouted again this spring, hopefully to have better luck. (more…)

Not over ’til it’s over: Fall Garden

So, we’re halfway through October here at Chez Siberia. We’ve had a solid week of nightly frosts in the low 20s. Real ‘scrape off the windows on your car’ mornings. So, for a lot of people here, gardening season is officially ‘over’. If they’ve been efficient, they’ve ripped everything out, thrown it on the compost (except if they had blight on the tomatoes, in which case, they burned all the old plants and then disposed of the ashes), have been raking up the leaves to turn into compost or leaf mold. Game over. (more…)

Garlic Update

As you might recall, Aunt Toby found some lonely little lost forgotten garlic plants last year and scrubbed out a little area and planted them.Second chances And promptly forgot them until they came back up in the spring. One of the wonderful thing about garlic is that they really are like potatoes, since you can’t see exactly what is going on; you have to just keep them weeded and watered and hope that you get something good when they are ready to dig up. (more…)

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