Garlic Braid

I cleaned and braided my softneck garlic this afternoon. With only 13 heads, this is the smallest braid ever. But those heads are big. But then, I still have four heads from last year’s harvest. The braid will hang in my pantry for storage. I will consume my hardnecks first, plus four or five smaller (and “injured”) softnecks that did not make it into the braid. I also saved the two largest heads separately as seed garlic to go in the ground in late October/early November. The hardneck garlic is still just hanging in the back hallway. I want to give it a bit more time for curing before I clean it and put it away as it has been very hot and humid these past few weeks.

July Update

Spaghetti squash, Black-Eyed Susan, Thai basil – from the communal flower bed

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been harvesting a lot of zucchini, kale, herbs and flowers. I even donated two zucchini to our new donation basket, which we attached outside the garden gate. Today, I harvested the first two cucumbers, which I intend to pickle. My tomatoes are all still green, and sadly, the bunnies keep eating the baby winter squash :(. The basil is thriving, I might make the first batches of pesto very soon. Everything is doing well, we have had a long heat wave and a few crazy thunderstorms, so the gardens are lush.

Cherry tomatoes from the communal flower bed.

Garlic Harvest 2024

This morning, I harvested my garlic. It was a good week or two earlier than in previous years, but it seemed ready. An empty-nester now, I grew less than in previous years and harvested 19 softnecks and 12 hardnecks. I will leave them on a tarp to dry for a few days (on my back porch out of the sun) and then brush off the soil and hang them in my back hallway to fully cure. After they have fully cured (in three to four weeks), I will clean them well and braid the softnecks and destem the hardnecks. I will use up the latter first as they do not keep as well as softnecks.

Update: The next day, in the late evening, I cleaned them lightly and hung them to dry. There are four bundles, the two shown below are the hardnecks.

Hardneck garlic left to cure

First Zucchini

I harvested my first zucchini (zucchino?) yesterday and turned it into a roasted vegetable goat cheese pizza. I roasted broccolini, red bell pepper, red onion, Brussels sprouts and zucchini, and spread those on a garlic bechamel. Topped it all with goat cheese and fresh mozzarella. (Recipe from the cookbook Eat Delicious). The pictures do not do it justice. It was delicious!

Garden Plot Clean-Up

Garden plot after weeding and mulching

This morning, I spent a couple of hours weeding my plot and spreading salt marsh hay that I had left over from weeding the outside garden bed and fertilizing and mulching it earlier this morning. The outside bed is now pretty much all set until the fall, when I am hoping to get spring bulbs in the ground. I mulched that bed heavily, hoping to suppress the weeds. Fingers crossed.

Outside bed after weeding and mulching

My plot is now ready for summer. The zucchini are coming in, the first tomatoes are showing up on the vine, the leeks have recovered, the winter squash is spreading, and the garlic is almost ready for harvest.

First zucchino of the year
I am loving my calendula border. So many different flowers.

Communal Garden Bed Progress

Zinnias and daylilies

It has been about a month since we started planting the new communal garden bed outside of our community garden. The area was cleared in early May, the Southwest Corridor Park crew built the garden bed border, and we spread compost. Planting for this season is now pretty much completed. We mulched the left side of the bed (native perennials) and the blueberry bush (very accessible on the very right of the bed close to the path) with bark mulch and will now mulch the rest of the bed with hay. We fertilized once and will fertilize a second time in the next few days. The plants are coming along nicely, even though we had to relinquish some plants (mainly kale, but also Zinnias, marigolds and other flowers) to the resident rabbits.

The blueberries are starting to ripen
There will be lots of tomatoes
Daylily border at the fence
Shadier left side of the bed planted with mainly native perennials (New York aster, goldenrod, coreopsis, bluestar) but also dahlias, calendula, marigold, annual asters and creeping thyme.
Right side of the bed, more accessible for people as it is close to the walking path. Planted with a blueberry bush, lavender, sage and Black-eyed Susans as well as annuals: tomatoes, chard, squash, basil, hyssop, marigold and many dahlia, zinnias and daylilies.
Calendula (pot marigold)

Red Currants

The red currants are ready, so I harvested around 4 cups this morning. Cleaned them (which despite using the speedy fork method seemed to take forever) and froze 3 cups in a Ziploc bag to be turned into red currant crumb bars later. None of my kids are in town at the moment, so I will make the crumb bars later this summer. I will enjoy the remaining currants macerated over yogurt or ice cream, or eat them fresh.

Cleaned and ready to be frozen …
… and the stems are ready for the compost

There are still tons of currants waiting to be harvested. I will harvest and freeze more in the next few days.