Category Archives: Gardening

Woo Hoo The Garlic Is Planted

It’s hard to believe that a whole year has passed since I last wrote about having the garlic planted. This is something that I blog about each year, mainly so I have a record of when we planted, how much we planted and how the weather was.

If you are curious about how we plant garlic you can check out this post from 2016.

Relying on the 7 day weather forecast it’s always a gamble, but I must say that our plan came together quite nicely this year. It was Wednesday, a week prior to planting, that I looked at the forecast and noted that we had a nice weekend coming up and temperatures were suppose to remain good through the following Wednesday, October, 14. Monday night was supposed to bring rain followed by dry days Tuesday and Wednesday.

It would have been prudent to plan our garlic planting for the weekend, as my husband suggested, but I really wanted to have the kids over for a picnic since I didn’t know when we would have the chance to do that again. We decided to roll the dice and wait to plant until Wednesday. Monday and Tuesday were prep days. On Monday My husband tilled up the ground where we were going to plant and I began splitting the seed bulbs into cloves. We had rain, as predicted, on Monday night, but Tuesday was warm and mostly sunny giving the ground a chance to dry up some. I finished splitting up the bulbs on Tuesday.

It was shortly after 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday when we made our way to the farm to begin planting our 2021 garlic crop and it was right around 5:30 when I said “WOO HOO! the garlic is planted,” followed by a short prayer “Lord please bless our efforts.”

In that 3 1/2 hours we planted nearly 1100 garlic cloves. The soil was moist and loose making for ease of planting, but having to continually chase chickens out of the area, so they didn’t dig up the planted garlic, slowed us down some. We also lost some time when I had to take the boys home after Ranger decided to run though a patch that we already had planted. After all the garlic was in the ground we enclosed the patch with a temporary plastic fence that will deter chickens and dogs and deer that may be wandering in the area.

Today I am even more grateful that we planted the garlic on Wednesday since we had rain again on Wednesday night and on and off on Thursday. Friday and Saturday were dry but the rain started again last night, continues on and off today, and is in the forecast for each day in the 7 day forecast.

It may seem odd but I have begun to think of garlic planting as the beginning of our growing season – almost like the New Year – something to be celebrated. Perhaps next year we’ll have champagne and fireworks. LOL.

For anyone who may be considering growing garlic next year, in northern parts of the world now is the time for planting. Garlic takes about nine months to grow and we try to plant about 6 weeks before the ground freezes. This gives the garlic time for it to establish roots. Ideally the garlic will not sprout green leaves before the freeze comes, but in past years when we have had this happen the garlic did not seem to be damaged by the leaves freezing.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

Garden Meals – Eating Well

Despite not following some of the gardening strategies that I had mentioned earlier this year, like planting by the moon and companion planting, our gardens have produced abundant crops. For the last several weeks we have been blessed to be enjoying meals prepared with fresh home grown vegetables. We are thankful to be eating well.

Some of the meals we’ve enjoyed include:

Yesterday’s DinnerBeef Stew (with home grown potatoes, swiss chard, celery, tomatoes and garlic)

Thursday’s Dinner Pepper Steak over White Rice (with home grown bell peppers, tomato and garlic)

Wednesday’s Dinner T-bone Steak, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Acorn Squash and Sautéed Swiss Chard. (with home grown potatoes, garlic, squash, and Swiss chard)

Eggplant Parmesan

Stuffed Cabbage

Spaghetti – with home made/ home grown sauce

Corn on the Cob

Green Beans with Garlic Butter

Swiss Chard

Cucumber Salad

Tomato Sandwich

Banana Pepper Poppers

All this, my friends, is why we do what we do.

The Banana Pepper Poppers are one of our favorite side dishes. They are easy to make so I decided to share the recipe. (Please note that I am one of those cooks who does “a little of this and a little of that” so the amounts do not need to be exact. Feel free to put the word “about” in front of each ingredient listed.)

Banana Pepper Popper Recipe

6 – 3 to 4 inch banana peppers

4 ounces cream cheese softened

1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

three strips of bacon cooked and cut into bits

a few shakes of crushed red pepper (optional)

bread crumbs (optional)

Slice peppers in half lengthwise and remove stem and seeds. Place in baking dish. Mix together the cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, bacon bits and crushed red pepper. Fill each pepper half with cheese mixture. Sprinkle each pepper with bread crumbs (optional). Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 30 minutes (until peppers have softened). Enjoy! 🙂

Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator they are even good eaten cold.

Are you eating any in season vegetables?

Do you have a favorite seasonal recipe you would like to share?

Mid-Summer Garden Tour

We will start the garden tour in what we refer to as the main garden. This garden are is our largest and is part of our back field. In addition to annual vegetables that we plant there it contains 4 apple trees, our blueberry patch and for the last several years our strawberry patch.

Lets see how some of the annuals are doing there. This year it is mostly corn, pumpkins and squash growing there. There are also buckwheat that has mostly gone to seed and sunflowers that have not blossomed yet.

Corn and pumpkins growing together.
The pumpkins play hide and seek.
This should make a nice pumpkin pie.
Hubbard Squash.
Looks like a perfect apple.

Then we move on to garden three. This area is in the front of our property and this is our first year using it as a garden. My husband started planting strawberry runners in there last summer. Then in the fall we planted garlic in there. In the spring this is where he planted many more of our annual vegetables. Lets have a look.

Pumpkins out of control.

These pumpkins which are planted with corn have grown through a row of sunflowers and are now climbing out of the fence.

Sweet corn with melons to the left.
Bush Acorn Squash
Watering the Squash

During the dry season, when it is a challenge to keep things alive and productive, we look for innovative ways of watering. This year my husband used zip ties to attach the hose to this long 1×1 board. He could then reach areas that he is not able to get to otherwise. It’s not a perfect solution but will buy us some time until the rain comes.

Up Front – Green Tomatoes. Green Beans in the Second Row
Beets and Swiss Chard
Eggplant
Calendula
Our First Cucumber

For several weeks we have been enjoying the fruits of our labor. Thus far we have eaten Swiss chard and beet greens, green tomato, banana peppers, beet roots, and green beans (with garlic butter). We also picked our first cucumbers and they are on the menu for today.

Do you have a garden this year?

Do you enjoy fresh locally grown produce when it is in season?

The Garlic Is Harvested

Each year after the garlic is harvested I let out a big “WOO HOO!” and my husband and I each sigh in relief because it is such a laborious task. This year, however, the harvest went so quickly and easily that I thought it hardly worth a mention.

For the sake of keeping a record of it I decided to write about it anyway.

250 Garlic Bulbs Harvested July 10, 2020

We harvested the crop on Friday, July 10. It was hot and humid in the morning when I got started, but I thought it would be good to get it out of the ground before the rain and storms, that were predicted for later that day, arrived. I began digging the bulbs up like we normally do but quickly discovered that the soil was moist enough that I was able to pull the bulbs out without breaking the stems. This saved much time and energy. After 40 minutes or so I had about 1/3rd of the crop harvested but my body was telling me I needed to get out of the sun.

We decided to go home for a break and lunch. Then, despite the fact that it was raining, my husband returned to the farm that afternoon to finish the harvest. While we ended up getting a decent rain that day we did not get any of the storms that surrounding area experienced. After my husband harvested the rest of the garlic he bundled and hung the bulbs that I had pulled earlier. Later that evening I bundled the rest of the bulbs that he had pulled. We ended up with around 400 bulbs total (our smallest crop ever) and plan on saving at least 150 bulbs for seed to plant in the fall.

The garlic is now hanging upstairs in the barn where it will cure for at least three weeks before being cleaned.

NOTE: For anyone thinking about growing garlic, in the U.S. now is the time of year to start looking for seed garlic. I have never seen seed garlic it sold in stores or garden centers but an internet search should produce many options. In northern parts (colder climates) fall is the time of year for planting garlic (about 6 weeks before the ground freezes). Then it should sprout up in the spring around the time the daffodils and other bulbs start sprouting.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

The War On Weeds

In any war it is important to have a strategy and that includes the gardener’s “War On Weeds”. I don’t think it is possibly to have a garden that is perpetually weed free, so I don’t know that it is possible to truly win the war. I am going to share some tips, though, that might help you win some of the battles.

The Plan Of Attack

We have learned over the years that pulling weeds when the soil is moist is the best approach. When the soil is dry the roots are reaching deep into the earth searching for water. This makes digging them difficult and pulling them next to impossible. When the soil is moist the roots are relaxed and can be pulled out much easier. Weeding in the morning when the soil is moist or after a rain will make your work much easier.

Keep Your Enemy In Check

Most plants will reproduce by forming flowers or seed heads. In order to keep the plants from multiplying (often exponentially) remove the weed before it forms flowers or goes to seed.

Know Your Enemy

Being able to identify the type of weed and how it grows can be most helpful in ridding it permanently from your garden. Plants that are annuals and are pulled or cut before they go to seed should be gone for good. Other plants that are biennial (taking two years to mature) or perennial (come back every year) will need to have their entire root removed otherwise they will continue to grow back. Some perennial’s, like Canadian thistle and sow thistle, have roots systems that run horizontally under ground. When the shoot/plant is pulled and detached from the horizontal root it will, in a quest for survival, send up several more shoots. (A loosing battle.) However cutting the shoot/plant at ground level will deprive it of the ability to perform photosynthesis. That particular shoot may grow back and need to be cut another time or two before the plant (root) dies.

In the past we have had much success in getting rid of thistles from lawn or field areas by mowing the area throughout the summer. This year as I weed my prayer garden I am on a mission to eradicate thistles, so I am cutting them with the intention of coming back once a week to cut any that are starting to grow back. Wish me luck!

Happy gardening! 🙂