This Year’s Garlic

Today, I finished the garlic preparation for the this year’s harvest. I cleaned and braided 26 softnecks (and had another 11 heads that were split or not braidable) and also cleaned and destemmed 26 hardnecks. So overall, I harvested 63 heads. That should last me well into next year. However, I just realized that I forgot to save the biggest heads for planting this fall, so I need to cut four large heads from the braid prematurely. I will also save the four largest hardnecks.

The back of the braid
Cleaning hardnecks.

Glass Gem Corn

Picture from Baker Creek catalog

Today I planted the glass gem corn seeds my neighbor had given me. First time growing glass gem corn. It is so pretty! I planted four seeds each in two wide containers on my back porch and will plant the rest (maybe ten seeds) in my plot, although I do not have much hope for those because of the rampant rodent problem in our city. I am hoping the seeds will germinate and the corn on my porch will be protected from the birds.

Dahlia

I cut my second dahlia today. It is a gorgeous one (not sure what kind, it is neither one of the three varieties I ordered back in the spring), and I paired it with asparagus and mint.

I also harvested a ton of Swiss chard, three carrots (apparently only the yellow ones have made it so far from my rainbow carrot mix) and some tomatoes. Still growing are eggplant, some zucchini, leeks and the winter squash as well as much more chard and kale. There are also still a few tomatoes on the vine. All the seeds I sowed about a week ago (radish, arugula, fall greens) and the beet transplants have come up. Fingers crossed the bunny will leave them alone.

Braiding Garlic

My teenager insisted that I wait with braiding the garlic until she got back from a trip. So I did. She pleated both braids that now hang in our pantry. Overall, I harvested 51 heads of garlic this summer, which should take us well into next spring.

33 softnecks braided and 18 hardnecks in the wooden bowl
(including a couple of softnecks with “broken necks”)
Stocking up the pantry

Garden Work Day

Fall bouquet – dahlia, Jerusalem artichokes, parsley flower, pokeweed

We had our fall work day in the community garden this past Saturday. We mostly weeded, cleaned and got the garden ready for winter. There was a big patch of Jerusalem artichokes in the flower bed we adopted and we needed to take them out. Some of them came home with me and made it into this small bouquet.

Parsley
These are the last green beans. (The bell peppers and the black hot peppers are from another gardener’s plot who recently moved away)

Advent

This morning, I foraged in my own backyard for materials for this year’s Advent wreath and came back upstairs with grapevine, thuja, yew and spent spirea seed heads.

I soaked the grapevine for about an hour in the bathtub to make it pliable and then tied it into a wreath.

 

Garlic

Two weeks ago, I harvested most of my garlic. I had planted a ton of softneck garlic last fall, but I realized in the course of the spring and summer, that I had a few hardneck volunteers popping up in clusters all over my garden. Those came from plants that I had forgotten to harvest last year or where the stalk had broken off and I had not dug up the bulbs. They produced several small heads very close to each other as they all came from the same garlic head. Garlic right after harvest

For curing, I normally spread the garlic in a single layer in the sun for a couple of hours, just to dry off the dirt. I then gently rub off the dirt, leaving the skin intact and hang the garlic to dry in a ventilated place. A cool place would be ideal, but that is really an illusion for the humid, hot summers here in the Northeast.Dried and cleaned

I found that our back hallway is a fine place, especially in the cool summer mornings and evenings. The hallway connects the kitchen with the back porch and we usually leave it open, even during the night. I leave the garlic there to dry until the leaves and stalks are very papery, about two to three weeks. Then, for hardnecks, I cut off the stalks and store them in a basket in the pantry. This is my first year growing softnecks and my first attempt at braiding garlic (see above). Space-saving drying places -1Space-saving drying places -2

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