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.

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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!!!!



Pass the Peppers, Please

I still don’t have as much time to play in the dirt as I’d like to, but I’ll do a couple small projects when I can. Someone was giving away pepper plants via Freecycle the other day and I had another light bulb turning on moment. I need to plant my garlic, I don’t have any space to plant the garlic, the weather is cooling down, bell peppers don’t do well in cool weather. Why not Freecycle the bell pepper plants.

So, I dug up the plants, put them in individual plastic bags and posted them on Freecycle. (I potted a couple, but the rest went into the white plastic bags).

The post read: “Inspired by another Freecycler’s offer and with some free time to work in the yard, I have dug up my bell pepper plants to free up some space to plant garlic. If you are interested in trying your hand at over-wintering bell pepper plants, this is for you. The plants are already dug up and are in plastic bags. You will need a large pot (probably 12 inches in diameter). They range from two feet to three feet tall. You have enough time for the plant to become acclimated to a new pot before it gets too cold and needs to be taken in. I would suggest researching “over-wintering pepper plants” on-line to get more info.”


The timing was great because a fellow Freecycler who is a community gardens coordinator is doing a workshop on container gardening. Voila, more FreeCycling magic…perfectly good item that somebody finds a use for. I’ve got another lady that said she wants to give it a try, so she’ll get the two in pots.

I’ve already got some growing in pots which are the ones I’ll share with my mother-in-law and bring inside. They’re loaded with flowers and baby bell peppers. And since I don’t have to repot them, I don’t have to worry about disbudding the plant.

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I’ve also potted a few of the parsley plants to see how they’ll do inside. They didn’t miss a beat when I potted them. No leaf wilt at all.

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And now for some good news/bad news. The good news is that the cantaloupes have five cantaloupes growing on them. The bad news is that I don’t see how they can mature before they get frosted. But they are cute, aren’t they?

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Happy Gardening!!!