Gotta Garden

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Garlic and Other Thoughts

Now that Thanksgiving has gone by (it was very nice; hope yours was also), my attention can be directed back into the garden. This temperate fall weather has been such a help to me; I hope it continues. I'm still trying to sort out where the rest of the still-unplanted-daylily seedlings will go. It's looking more and more like I may just take them in their boxes and put them against the side of the house and surround them with bagged leaves. There will be space there because on Dec. 5th, the non-Bradford-but-actually Redspire Pear will come down. Pruning will be done on other trees and the snowball viburnum and struggling lilac will come out (hence the space). I'm actually pretty excited about this tree removal. For a couple of years, I've talked about it, but now that it is really going to happen, I'm awash with possibilities. I can extend gardening space where the tree was (no more stinky blooms in spring; no more branches rubbing against the house; and, no more roots under the house creating problems) and the thoughts of that will keep me going all winter.

But, really, what is on my mind right now is garlic. I happened upon Bifurcated Carrots' wonderful posts and pictures of garlic and spent quite a bit of time looking at all the varieties. Some, I recognized...others were exciting new possibilities. Over the years, I've gown many different varieties, but didn't keep notes or spreadsheets or even pictures. Now, with my new attitude, I thought I'd show you some of what I'm planting this year.

The above garlic is all from my foray into DC to a farmers' market. It was a bit disappointing that the Music variety didn't keep well (enough) but then, I've had issues with it myself when I've grown it in the past. Some don't keep as long as others. The Georgian Fire and the New York White kept the best of those. Well, it's not a fair view, exactly, as I did mean to plant them sooner.

I failed to take pictures of my own garlic, but none of mine have the huge cloves most of the purchased/ordered varieties have. My basement garlic has held very well. Last year, I found some Burgundy garlic that I had forgotten about...and it was still viable after a year! Since I haven't really been very patient with my garlic, I'm hoping to see larger cloves as they acclimate to my garden.

Below are the garlic varieties that I ordered this year (I just can't help myself!):

Only one variety, Polish Hardneck, didn't keep well of those I ordered this year. Since, I thought I would be planting it in Sept. or no later than Oct., I don't blame the garlic.

You might have noticed that I have Georgian Fire that I ordered, Georgian Fire that I purchased at the farmers' market and some Georgian Fire that I grew. It will be interesting to see how they all compare.

I suppose I'll always have a good sized unknown section. It can't be helped with my cats enjoying the garlic...tags get removed and displaced (in the garden, during curing and in storage). This year, though, rather than eating or tossing them, I'm letting them (the garlic, not the cats) have their own little section. Kind of an Unknown Known section (my unknowns) plus a few Unknowns that I purchased or saved from garlic that I purchased to use (who knows if it was treated or will grow...we shall see). Then, I'll move into a section of my local purchased varieties (testing my theory that they should do better). Next, mine from last year and I'll end with purchased varieties that I can't seem to help but buy each year. I like pouring over the catalogs and deciding. And, I like getting packages.

After the garlic is settled, I still have the daffodil bulbs, but I think that will go fairly fast. Then, amazingly, I'm down to the end of the pot ghetto. I have some odds and ends (which may or may not get planted), a clematis and some hostas that will get planted in an area I've been working on (weather and time permitting...hostas seem to hold over pretty well).

Then....I can just concentrate on mulching and getting things ready for winter (a first!)....maybe it will really happen! Ha. There is still the garage waiting to be cleaned out, so I can't get too excited.

I think I have plenty of bagged leaves and my neighbor gave me permission to rake the leaves from under the cherry tree (four bags already, at least one more still to go), I think I'm set there. If I had somewhere to put them, I'd love to collect the bagged leaves I see appearing on the street now for tomorrow's trash pickup. Such a waste, but I haven't anywhere to store them...

Update: Since I wrote this in draft, I am happy to tell you that all of the garlic I intend to plant is in the ground. Hooray! In case you're interested, the varieties are: Ajo Rojo, Bavarian Purple, Burgundy (Probably), Chesnok Red, Georgian Fire, Inchellium Red (New Mex), Korean Rocambole, Lorz Italian, Music, New York White, Persian Star, Polish Hardneck, Polish Softneck, Red Toch, Unknowns (Many!), and Western Rose. I'm hoping for a great harvest next summer!

I also (yea!) have planted all but five varieties of the daffodils, some tulips, and a few other small bulbs. If the weather permits, I'm hoping to get the rest of those into the ground tomorrow.

I'm pretty excited as once everything gets planted...even if I haven't gotten everything mulched...I can still do that with colder weather. Of course, I haven't forgotten those plants in the ghetto...and sigh...all the daylily seedlings. I'm looking forward to starting this year's crop of daylily seeds...maybe next month!

The beautiful fall colors are rapidly fading. Here's Sam Cat enjoying the view:


Barbara said...

I'm many different sorts of garlic! I even didn't know that there were such a lot of. Up to know I just planted "garlic", not knowing of all the varieties. Is there a big difference in the taste, or when cooking?? I'm going to find out whether we can buy also other sorts here in Switzerland...
Thank you for this interesting post!

kate said...

I don't know how you can keep all the different varieties separate. It is a cool skill to have (to me, the throw-everything-into-a-basket sort).

If I remember correctly, we once saw your downstairs storage system - or maybe I'm just imagining it! You are amazing at how much you accomplish.

Your photograph of Sam Cat with the leaves in the background is wonderful.

And so is your story ... I hope you're getting lots of writing done!!

Kylee said...

Oh there's the Max look-alike! :-)

I planted Hardneck 'Music' this year. It's the first garlic ever for me. I planted it in mid-October as I was instructed and it came up just a bit (an inch or so). That shouldn't hurt anything, should it? I know my alliums do that, too, and they're fine.

Love those red varieties!

Patrick said...

You've got nice pictures too, and you're growing several varieties I've never heard of.

Probably the reason you sometimes get small bulbs is because it's not yet acclimated to your garden. After a few years of successive planting it should grow bigger. Also to grow larger bulbs, be sure to eat the small cloves and bulbs, and save the larger ones for replanting.

Thanks for the link and mention.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

How lucky you are to be able to buy so many different kinds of garlic GG. I, on the other hand, was unable to buy any here. The garlic for sale was either very expensive or it had crumbled to a fine powder.

Sam looks gorgeous with a background like that and he knows it!

A wildlife gardener said...

I'm so ignorant about all the different varieties of garlic. I didn't know so many existed.

Love Sam...such a beauty :)

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