Here it is December...already...and I'm just planting my garlic. Fortunately for me, the weather is just now showing its winter leanings. Outside this morning, a pretty good frost is on the ground. When I opened the door to let the dogs out and saw it, I gave a little sigh that yesterday the garlic below went into the ground.
These garlic (garlics?) are new...mostly...this year. I was pleased with my order from Filaree Farm and all but one has held on remarkably. Long-keepers are my focus now. No fault of Filaree as they delivered the garlic when I requested, which was probably back in September. They've sat in their little bags here beside me...until yesterday. Well, not exactly sat as I have caught the cats, primarily Sam, batting them around. Leo prefers to lie on top of them.
So here we go. First up is Bzenc. This one has incredible color to the cloves. One that will not easily be mixed up (as happens to me quite often). Worth planting for the color alone, wouldn't you say?
Next, Russian Red with nutty brown cloves:
Killarney Red....how many times am I going to keep trying this one?? I swear I must buy it for the name, although I did think this year, especially after seeing others, that red is not really warranted.
Softnecks have seemingly done better for me, so here's one for this year Mild French:
Another one I probably liked for the name; however, the cloves do have a light pink/rosy tint. Rose du Var:
I cannot count the times I have grown this one and finally gave up on it. However, while visiting Blacksburg (actually, my DD at VA Tech) and just happening to go to the farmers' market there...I came across someone selling these enormous heads of garlic. Naturally, I asked for the variety name and was shocked...shocked....to hear the reply of Music. So, okay, I have to give it another try....who doesn't want Music in their garden?? (the name thing rears its head yet again...)
One of the things I have become picky about with my garlic is that I no longer plant any questionable cloves. They need to be firm...you can just tell...no shrinking in the wrapping...no signs of brown whatnot, etc. So, the above cloves didn't make the grade. Plus, I couldn't help but notice...then, as I pulled the head apart...that there wasn't a hardneck...what?? Hmmm, does give one pause. I opened the other head (above) and was happily satisfied with it...see below:
I suspect the other might not have been Music after all...no matter, none were planted as they didn't make the grade. They have, after all, been sitting around here since August...
Tough as it was, I decided to limit myself to just eight cloves from each. Space is such a problem...no challenge...ha....here. Plus, the areas I carefully prepared last year which were such a joy to plant in....now have daylily seedlings as well as some reserved space for my stairs-to-be. There is some random garlic growing there and elsewhere as I always miss some....or the top breaks off and I mean to go back and dig the head out...but forget. You can't have too much garlic, I say. That left-in-the-ground garlic is growing quite well...or as well as some of it can, all crowded like that.
But, anyway, with my self imposed limitation, I had quite a bit leftover. Oh joy. Hehe. Really, though, it makes me happy.
Maybe next year, I will keep border space for my garlic...and get it planted in a more timely fashion. I did get some of the basement garlic replanted. Unfortunately, not all that I want to (maybe 2-3 more varieties plus some unknowns...not nearly as many unknowns as last year!). But, joining the new ones above are Polish Spirit, Red Toch, Inchellium Red (New Mex), Korean Rocambole, Persian Star and Ajo Rojo. Inchellium Red (New Mex) is a variety I brought back several years ago from the Santa Fe Farmers Market. Korean Rocambole came from a vendor selling up in Northern VA (farm is actually in PA) who told me it does extremely well for them. Not so for me as the gloves I had were so tiny that ordinarily I wouldn't even bother...but, what the heck, I'll give it one more chance. Ajo Rojo was the most prolific.
I harvested my garlic late this year (note for next year) and that cost me some. The New York White I had looked to have produced big heads (even for me), but it was harvested too late...boo hoo. Maybe next year, I'll look for some more.
I think when I think of non-flowers for things I couldn't imagine not growing, garlic is right at the top. It's just such a fun thing. I'd also miss terribly my chives and the parsley that springs up everywhere (I actually found one in the front yard recently!).
Two spring things that I'm determined to repeat in 09 are those lettuce starter packs and sweet peas. I wish I had more room for peas. I'll have to think about that! The lettuce was so incredibly easy and productive I can't imagine why I didn't try it before. Okay, I did try it, but in pots or planters because I was sure every bug in the world would get it. They did, in the pots/planters but were mostly absent when growing in the garden. Imagine that. I had all the lettuce (and more) that I could want up until the heat set in. And, really, there is truly nothing like fresh picked lettuce. As I probably mentioned, it was astonishing how long it would last in the fridge...which tells you something about what we buy in the grocery.
Let's see now...I still have three daylilies in pots to...hopefully...get in the ground, two pots of Bachman seedlings and some random bulbs to throw in a hole....oh yes, one box of four seedlings....Will I get them planted??? Who knows. My mind is already in winter mode, so we shall see.