Planting the Garlic

I planted garlic this past weekend. You plant garlic in the fall and get a mid to late-summer harvest. It was recommended to have the garlic in the ground 2-4 weeks before the ground freezes. It’s hard to predict actual ground-freezing date, but this is probably a good time. I planted last year on October 11, this year it was October 7th, so we are close. This fall has been really cold as well so I’m thinking we may get freezing earlier than we’ve seen the last couple of years.  I planted four varieties – two porcelain garlics (Music and German White), an artichoke variety and a purple stripe variety. The pictures below will show you my planting process:

garlic 2
Here are the heads of the new garlic I ordered from Filaree Farm –  two different Porcelain varieties. They get 4-6 cloves per head. I got 6 from one of these and 5 from the other.
giant cloves
Here are the cloves – these are monsters! They are not elephant garlic, just a large non-elephant strain.
regular cloves
Here are the cloves I planted from my old varieties (from my garlic that grew this year) – the white are an artichoke garlic, and the purple are a purple stripe variety. I ordered a “starter kit”  a couple of years ago from Filaree Farm, and they sent these. (They pick the best ones for your area). Both of these strains are very good. I replanted after the first year so these came from that first re-planting. I saved the largest heads for planting and these are the bigger cloves from those.
regular and giant
Here they are together – you can see the huge difference in cloves sizes, and my old ones aren’t small! I’m excited to try the porcelain garlic but I wanted to make sure these all get planted, so I will have to wait till they grow to try them.
prepped bed
Here is the bed prepped. It only took me 10 minutes to prep because I am re-using my double-dug raised beds! I was hoping that re-digging them to replant would go quickly, and it did. (Check out my earlier summer posts if you are curious about what I did). This bed did have cucumbers this year, but now it has garlic. I prepped it here by shoveling out any weeds, and then using a pitch fork to turn the soil, throwing a little more compost in and turning one more time.
garlic in bed
Here are the rows of garlic. The bed is like 3×4 feet. I have two rows on the left of the porcelain, one row in the middle of purple stripe, and two rows of the artichoke on the right.
straw cover
Here I’ve put a thick pile of straw over the top to mulch it. I wanted to give it 4-6 inches of cover.
straw 2
Here it is again in relation to the garden.
grape vine
Here is a grape vine I planted today. It’s been outside waiting to go in the garden for awhile and I finally figured out where I wanted it. I didn’t want to bring it in for winter, so I figured I would plant it now – it got some mulch as well to help protect it – hopefully it will be ok.

If you want to check out Filaree Farm’s site, you can find them at http://www.filareefarm.com – I’m sure other places have good garlic too, but I’ve been really happy with this company. They sell heirloom organic garlic, shallots, asparagus, and other things. They have lots of different varieties of garlic and a lot of useful information on how to grow them.

I planted the 11 cloves I got of the porcelain, 14 of the artichoke, and 8 purple stripe – so hopefully next year we will have 33 heads of garlic. I love garlic and cook with it all the time – I’m excited to see how these grow!

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Zinnias and Garlic!

I harvested some wonderful garlic tonight.  Here are some pics of the harvest, and of the plethora of flowers in my garden.

garlic
Here is the garlic – it’s a little dirty still but it looks wonderful. I harvested 24 really nice bulbs.
garlic 2
This is the second time I’ve grown garlic – last time I just bought organic garlic at the grocery store. This time I ordered actual garlic bulbs. It made a big difference.
calendula
Some Calendula and nasturtiums. The flowers I planted in the garden really look nice this year.
melons
I’ve de-purslaned the melon area – there is still some growing in between the tomatoes, and I’m sure I haven’t seen the last of it here, but it looks a lot better.
sunflower top
Here is a sunflower head. This was just under my head level, so I’m sure it will get a lot taller before this flower finishes forming.
herbs and stuff
Some herbs and cauliflower.
marigold
Marigolds! I love these, but I’m really starting to enjoy my zinnias…
zinnias
More zinnias. I planted a big mix and they are really delivering this year. They are all different.
zinnia
Here is a close up of one.
zinnia 3
Another zinnia.
zinnia 2
A really nice yellow one.
flowrs and greens
Here is a nice shot of some of the greens and flowers on one side of the garden. I’m really happy with the flowers this year.
greens and flowers
Another shot showing more flowers.

Garlic, and silly roosters

I LOVE garlic.  I had never grown it before, and last year I decided to give it a try.  In the early fall, I bought some organic garlic heads at the grocery store, pulled the bulbs out and put them into the garden.  This spring I saw them growing, and they’ve grown really well. I read that you dig the garlic heads up when the leaves start yellowing. I noticed the last few days that they were yellowing, so I pulled them up today.

My garlic fresh out of the ground.
My garlic fresh out of the ground.

They were a decent size, I believe most of them were the same size as the heads I grew them from.  I cleaned off the dirt with a paper towel:

My garlic after brushing off dirt
My garlic after brushing off most of the dirt.

I read that you should leave them to cure for a few weeks with the roots and stems still attached.  I put them all together in a bunch and they are sitting outside in a shady spot on my porch, where they’ll get good airflow but not get any sun at all. I have them hung up; I wasn’t sure if my friendly neighborhood squirrels and chipmunks would try to eat them. I’ll have to keep an eye out and make sure nobody tries to steal them.  Once the leaves dry out completely you can cut the leaves and roots off. Then you can store them for later use, and save more of the bulbs to grow new garlic for next year.  That’s my plan, at least right now.  We’ll have to wait a few weeks to see how they taste.  If they are good, I’ll grow them again.  The original heads I bought had a good flavor, so hopefully these will too.

Here's my young Buckeye rooster
Here’s my young Buckeye rooster

One of my young roosters is very goofy – he’s kind of aggressive. More in-your-face every time we’re in the coop.  He has been very friendly since he was small, but now he’s always underfoot.  It’s like he always needs to follow me to see what I’m up to – as if he’s worried I’ll do something to hurt the hens or him.  He likes to peck my pant legs. He bit me the other day, but  that was because I was trying to pick him up, because he wouldn’t go in the coop at night. He seemed to be helping me round up everyone else to get them in, but then he wanted to stay outside.  I went to grab him and he bit my hand.  I got mad and just picked him up and put him inside.   I’m not sure what we’ll do with him yet.  I need to let him mature a bit and see how this personality of his develops.  If he gets more aggressive, he’ll have to go.

For a while I was hoping he was just a very assertive hen, but he’s massive, and the other day he started mounting some of the hens, so it’s now confirmed.  I believe he’s a Buckeye, and they are a rare breed from Ohio.  We’ll see.  I just have so many roosters! I have confirmed that three of my six “teenage” chickens are roosters. There are two more that I’m pretty sure are but they haven’t mounted anyone yet – they are just starting to get long tail feathers now though, so I’m 99% sure.  I have one hen out of that batch, my little Speckled Sussex. Then in the smaller chicks I have at least one, possibly 3 or 4 roosters (out of 8 chicks).  We are planning on keeping 2 or three roosters through the winter, and we’ll have to decide what to do with the rest.  We haven’t picked the keepers yet; I want to see them in all their pretty rooster glory first, once all their feathers have come.