The Garlic Grew (and) Lovley Lillies

Since veggie growing real estate is at a premium around here, I decided to go ahead and pull the four garlic plants that survived. I planted so many cloves last fall and they all started growing before the hard frost hit. I thought that was a good thing, but in retrospect I guess not. Out of more than 25 (if I planted four squares) or 50 (if I planted 8 squares) cloves only the four survived.

There they are, the four lone survivors. They’d grown a couple feet tall, but were kind of flopping over and the leaves were starting to turn brown. Time to go.

The stem on the first one I pulled broke off at ground level, and I had to dig for the bottom. Imagine my surprise when I dug up a fully formed bulb.  Not a single scape grew on any of the garlics, but they all had formed heads.  Since I bought these from the grocery store, I’m guessing they were the soft neck variety.  If they’re soft neck, I picked them at the right time, which is when the leaves start turning brown.  If they’re hard necks, I picked them early, which you’re supposed to pick them after the scapes emerge.

At any rate, I give you the 2009 garlic harvest.06-18-09 (7)

Despite losing over 75 to 90 percent of the bulbs I planted I’m going to say I successfully grew garlic.   This fall I’ll try to time my planting a little better so they don’t put on so much top growth before it freezes for the winter, and I’ll have to find a place to plant them where they won’t be in the way.  The roots are pretty shallow…maybe they’ll do well in a bin.  At any rate, I’ve got the rest of the summer to figure it out, and I expect to have better luck next year.  I’m seeing visions of a two-foot long garlic braid.

As for these, they get to sit around for awhile until they dry.06-18-09 (8)(that’s a little clump of dirt on the one on the right, not a hole)

I also put the spinach out of its misery (forgot to take a picture for Garden Blogger’s Death Day), and will let a volunteer tomato that’s growing there continue to grow.

The lilies are blooming away…06-17-09 (2)

I planted the original two bulbs in the fall of  2006.  Every year they get taller (they’re almost 5 feet tall now), have thicker stems (the biggest is about a 1/2 inch diameter), and each stem has more blooms (11 is the most I’ve counted).  They’re not finicky either.  I transplanted one of the small, scraggly plants into the container with the cucumber that I thought was a squash, and it’s going to bloom soon.

 As far as the rest of the yard:

  • Still harvesting tons of lettuce
  • The June bearing strawberries are close to being finished and they’re putting out runners.
  • The raspberries are swelling up, but no color change yet.
  • One of the broccoli plants is starting to head.
  • The kale is finally starting to grow, so I transplanted five of them into the spot that had the mustard greens.  I’ve still got about four plants in one square.  Haven’t decided whether to move them or where to move them if I decided to.  They can only grow so big if they’re grouped together like that.
  • The same for the collards.  I’ve got them planted five to a square, and now they need more space.
  • I have a couple of clusters of blueberries, but they’re the same size they were a month ago.
  • The tomatoes are growing fine, but I can see my Free Cycle supports aren’t going to work as well as what I had rigged up last year, so I’m going to have to re-do the tomato supports.
  • The potatoes in the raised bed are still being eaten.  The ones in the bin hidden next to the garage are still showing no signs of damage.

06-18-09 (3)

I still can’t find any bugs, but they’re obviously there.  I mixed up some garlic/pepper spray, but it’s been so rainy lately.  I’ll keep spraying and hope for the best.

Anyway, that’s it for now.

Happy Gardening!!!!




  1. June 20, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Cheryl, those lilies are gorgeous! Do you happen to have a name for them?

    I’m ready to dig out my garlic, too. I have pulled two so far, and they were 4 oz. and 3 oz., and that’s plenty large for me. Besides, they’re rather ugly in the garden now. I was surprised to see they are forming little cloves up on the stems. I pulled off three from one plant and gave them to my neighbor for her salad, but I’m wondering if maybe I should use the rest of them for seed. I’ve never had my garlic do that before.

    Lettuce is pretty well gone here, and two “accidents” have kept me from planting more. I gotta get on that!

  2. gardengoodies said,

    June 20, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    I’m pretty sure they’re called Asiatic lillies. If not, they’re Stargazers, but I think the Stargazers are the ones I bought and never got around to planting. I bought a three-pack from either Alid’s or Family Dollar and planted in the spring. They didn’t look like they were doing too much, so I dug up two of them and put them in the back yard. The ones in the back yard get much more sun than the ones in the front yard, but the front yard lilies are holding their own.

    I was so surprised to see the garlic cloves. I just weighed the one that the top broke off and it’s only 1.2 oz, but it’s still the size of anything I’d buy in the store, so I’m happy, especially since this is my first time growing it.

    The lettuce keeps growing and growing and growing. I’ve actually pulled some out by the roots, but it hurts my heart to do it.

    • June 20, 2009 at 7:01 pm

      I just wrote a long reply, then clicked out of the window. Duh.

      Wrote another reply, but something went goofy with your comments page, so I’m not sure if you got it or not. I’ll try once more and hope I’m not doing doubles!

      Anyway, Stargazer only shows as a pink variety, while Asiatic has multiple colors and multiple bloom times.

      I have a lily in the shade garden (it wasn’t a shade garden when it got planted). It does nothing, I don’t know why I haven’t moved it. I can’t even remember the color.

      • gardengoodies said,

        June 20, 2009 at 10:17 pm

        Technology…you gotta love it.

        If I’m remembering right, the one I didn’t plant was pink, so these must be Asiatic. They’re pretty forgiving too. The one little scraggler that I transplanted maybe as much as two weeks bloomed today.

        I don’t cut the stems back once they bloom, only the part with the bloom stub. And these get plenty of water because my neighbor has a hole in her downspout, and whenever it rains that areat gets extra water.

        Those that are in the front are planted under an evergreen tree. They’re all growing sideways searching out the light and they don’t get a lot of water but they’re still blooming.

  3. June 20, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Hi there! It’s Toni in Wyoming.

    I love lilies! They sure are pretty.

    Sorry to hear about your Garlic loss… but it is a garden adventure… every year, right? What you pulled looks really good! Enjoy it!

    • gardengoodies said,

      June 20, 2009 at 10:28 pm

      I wish they were repeat bloomers like the Daylilies.

      I’m going to forget how many garlic cloves I planted and just say that 100 percent of the garlic grow in 2009 produced bulbs. I’m happy with what I’ve got.

  4. Liisa said,

    June 20, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    OK I have garlic envy. I don’t think mine will look that good when I pull them in July.


    • gardengoodies said,

      June 20, 2009 at 10:44 pm

      I’m sure they will. You’ve got a pretty green thumb.

  5. engineeredgarden said,

    June 20, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    Cheryl, those lilies are absolutely gorgeous! I wish my wife would let me plant stuff like that…..5 collards to a square is really congested, maybe you can move some of them? The damage to the potatoes looks pretty bad, might have to use some pretty aggresive pesticides to get them under control. I spray mine with spectracide, and have no damage whatsoever.

  6. gardengoodies said,

    June 21, 2009 at 9:04 am

    Whatcha gotta do is go to the store and buy her a bouquet of flowers with some pretty lilies in it. Make sure you leave the receipt where she can see how expensive they are, and then casually mention that you could grow them right in the yard and have a bunch of them for free and how they’ll multiply over the years.

    Those collards were looking so sickley when I planted them that I just wasn’t going to waste a whole foot of space on them. Then I was thinking if they grew I’d get the leaves while they’re small and tender. I checked the lettuce yesterday and a lot of it is bolting (after many days of rain and a few days of hot weather). So, I’ll either eat small collard leaves or transplant them when I pull the lettuce. The peas have slowed down too.

    I think we’re going to have a little dry weather. I’m going to try to be religious with the garlic/pepper spray and hope that works. I really don’t want to use the chemicals yet. We’ll see.

  7. Dan said,

    June 21, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    I can’t wait to harvest my garlic. The leaves are starting to brown on the bottom so I will be pulling them soon and replacing them with leeks. Your lilies look great!

  8. gardengoodies said,

    June 21, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    Thanks, Dan. Leeks sound interesting. I’ve got seeds around here somewhere. Now I want to grow some leeks.

    I’ll be looking for your garlic pulling post. I’m sure yours will do better than mine did.

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