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Posts Tagged ‘planting’

It was something we decided on a whim, but planting garlic seems to be one of the best choices we’ve made for our garden.

Our first harvest of garlic from the garden.

Our first harvest of garlic from the garden.

Although a few either rotted in the ground or were dug up by squirrels, we ended up with almost two dozen bulbs. Four of those are elephant garlic, which are actually closer to a leek than garlic, and each bulc is about the size of a baseball.

The elephant garlic also had about a dozen little “thingies” growing on the bottom. They look like really hard, tiny cloves and a bit of research shows their often called “bulblets” or “korms.” We can replant them, but it will take two years for them to form into a full bulb. It’s worth a shot anyway.

I think the hardest part of growing garlic will be saving the nice cloves to make sure we have enough to plant next year. We’re not experts, but here’s the basic process of growing garlic:

 

1. Plant in the fall. One clove will produce a new bulb. Plant them pointy side up. We were probably a bit late by planting in early November, and this year we’ll aim for October.

2. In the spring, the plants emerge and leaves can get fairly tall. Our elephant garlic was probably about 3 feet.

3. Some varieties produce scapes, and you can cut those off (don’t let them flower) to use in cooking. We made a really good salad dressing from it. I’ll post that recipe later.

4. The garlic is ready when about half the leaves get brown/yellow and flop over. Don’t pull from the leaves, but rather dig up the bulbs with a trowel or small hoe.

5. You could use it right away, but if you want it to last all year it needs to cure. To do that, hang it in a cool place with decent air circulation for a couple weeks. It might take longer depending on humidity. Make sure to leave the leaves and roots intact.

6. After it has formed a papery skin, lightly rub off the dirt, trim the leaves to the top of the bulb (a little bit should stick up above the bulb) and trim the roots almost all the way down.

Our garlic hanging in the basement to cure.

Our garlic hanging in the basement to cure.

So far what we’ve used has been phenomenal. It tastes so much better than store-bought garlic and will definitely be a staple in our garden for years to come.

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This is a great idea. I might try this when we plant some of our smaller seeds. Thanks to the Looking Out From My Backyard blog for the tip!

lookingoutfrommybackyard

We recently returned from a nice getaway to sunny Arizona. Not that our Colorado winter had been too bad this year, but there is something about walking through the department store in February in Arizona and seeing beautiful petunias and marigolds on the shelves. Got my spring fever in high gear! I spent a good portion of the 14 hour drive with my nose shoved firmly into a stack of seed catalogs.

Anyone who has ever planted a carrot seed or a petunia seed, for example, will testify that these seeds are TINY! More than once, I have taken a tweezer and carefully picked up the seed to place into a waiting peat pot. At my age, you need bright light for that!

Since I use block planting in my raised beds, I saw a post that should just make my “tiny seed planting” a bit easier! It is a…

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Our lettuce looked promising when we transplanted it.

Our lettuce looked promising when we transplanted it, but it hasn’t grown much bigger than this.

As some of our space cleared from summer vegetables that stopped producing or died, we were really excited to plant our fall garden. Peas could go where the cucumber was, lettuce could take over the first bed, Brussels sprouts and broccoli could fill in wherever they’d fit. It was a great plan, or so we thought.

We should have known that when multiple sowings of lettuce, spinach and broccoli seed never sprouted that it was probably a bad sign. I assumed we hadn’t watered them enough, the seeds were bad, something. So we decided to try to start everything in pots and transplant where needed later.

This part worked wonderfully. We had lots of baby lettuce and almost a dozen Brussels sprouts plants.

The peas we planted in place started to sprout and grow. It looked promising.

But looking promising and being productive are two different things, and our fall garden excitement quickly turned to disappointment.

The lettuce transplants look great, but they aren’t any bigger than the day we put them in the raised beds. All the Brussels sprouts either wilted or had their leaves chewed by something. And the kale we tried to grow in a pot? Knocked over and spilled everywhere –probably as a result of the squirrels trying to bury acorns wherever they can.

While it was unfortunate we couldn’t keep the harvest going into the cooler months, we’ll try again next year. And we hope, with a little more planning, we’ll have a fantastic fall garden.

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seeds

The seed packets for this year.

I spent some time at one of our local garden centers last weekend and stocked up on seeds for the coming season. Having everything ready to go as the weather warms up makes me excited, and it felt a little like Christmas.

Also picked up another pair of gardening gloves because one always seems to go missing. Maybe our garage with gardening gloves is like a dryer with socks.

Finally, I grabbed a garden claw to help break up the soil, a small hoe to tear up the grass/weeds by our raised beds and another trowel. Ours always seem to bend and break so I spent a little more to get one that is a little sturdier.

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A couple weeks ago we planted most of our vegetables in the garden. Several hours and a few garden centers later we had our plants and herbs.

Everything is in it’s place, now it need to be planted. Peppers and eggplant in the front, tomatoes in the back.

It took a while to weed and prep all the beds but we managed and everything looks great!

Our garden is around the detached garage — we have two 4 by 6 raised beds in the back and four 4 by 4 beds along the side. It’s a perfect location because the back faces south and we get a great amount of sun throughout the day.

Last year, we didn’t rotate any of our plants, which might explain why our vegetables didn’t do so great. We switched it up this year and have everything plotted out a little differently.

Here’s our planting plan, starting in the back beds and moving around the side:

• Tomatoes – Romas, regular slicing ones (early girl and better boy) and grape, two plant of each.

• Peppers – five bell pepper plants, two jalapeño, one Anaheim and one mild banana pepper. We also planted two eggplants in that bed.

• Peas – these are winding down and we will plant cucumber and squash in that bed soon.

• Green beans — the Kentucky Wonder pole beans did great last year so we are trying those again. Still undecided on using a trellis or poles.

• Herbs – two parsley plants, cilantro, thyme, oregano, chives and two sweet basil plants. We also want a Thai basil but haven’t been able to find it this year.

• Lettuce and brussels sprouts – we planted a few different varieties, red and green looseleaf, butter crunch and another variety I don’t remember. Our broccoli was eaten by squirrels so we planted some brussel sprouts at the back of the bed.

Let’s hope everything does well this year!

Bed for the beans is prepped and ready. We’ll plant squash and cucumbers where the peas are now (back).

Matt is planting the brussel sprouts at the back of the lettuce bed.

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