Thursday, September 23, 2010

Keeping the vampires away: Fall garlic

 This is what happens when I ask my farm-boy hubby to take pictures while I'm planting garlic.  He picks me flowers to wear in my hair, and then proceeds to take a close up of me instead of the garlic.

 Trust me, I do have garlic in my hands, ready to plant.  Last year was my first attempt at planting garlic in the fall.  I found a "seed" bulb at a local Earl May store.  From what I've read, you can try to plant regular garlic from the grocery store, but you'll have more success with bulbs that are specifically for garden planting.

I was thrilled when the garlic shoots popped up from the ground in early spring, adding a bit of green to my garden.  I was looking forward to harvesting the garlic this summer; that is, before my husband decided to Roundup the back half of my garden, where I planted the garlic, to combat the creeping Charlie that literally is creeping in from my neighbor's yard.  The few bulbs I did save where pretty big, however.

So I wanted to give garlic another try this fall.  I ordered garlic bulbs online from an Iowa garlic farm, 2 Sisters Organic, which was recommended to me by, of all people, a glass blower who I interviewed for a story.  He plants garlic in his front yard every fall; so much garlic, in fact, that his wife says their yard looks like "Medussa's hair" in the spring.  Now that's a garden!

Planting garlic is a lot like planting tulips.  You break the bulb up into cloves, then plant the cloves -- root side down, pointy end up -- in the soil, then cover with a layer of soil.  My hubby took a few photos, but it was a little too sunny to get the full effect.

Not sure if you can tell, but we are blessed with amazing black soil in Iowa.  That's why the corn grows so good here. (It grows so good, in fact, that we send 25 percent of our Iowa corn to hungry people overseas.  We're not just America's bread basket, we're the world's bread basket. But I digress.)

While my hands were already dirty, I planted a few radishes.  I love this variety from Renee's Gardens.  They grew beautifully this spring.

And I'm pleased to report that the buttercruch lettuce I planted in mid-July is a delightful success.  I think the fall lettuce looks better than the spring crop.  This lettuce was partially shadded by my climbing cucumber vine during the heat of the summer, so I think that helped its growth.

 Oh, and my goofy husband lined up the last of my cucumbers on the deck.  I'm so proud of this crop.  I can't believe how good the Mrs. Pickler cucumbers performed this summer.

How did your garden grow this year?  Have you planted any veggies for a fall garden crop?

1 comment:

  1. This is the first photo I have ever seen of you Teresa, I always thought you would have dark brown hair! I am thinking of planting garlics this year as we have never tried it before. Our garden is still full of tomatoes, but did very well this year. We were overrun with beans but had fun inviting things to make with them.


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