Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mapping Garlic

Planted garlic a little later this year: in the ground on the last day of September. Added a bunch of compost (including worm bin compost) and dug it in deep. Last year, this space grew zucchini, dill, sage and marigolds.

Unlike years before, none of the seed garlic is from the grocery store. (I’ve planted the cheap basic garlic in years past: they grew wonderfully, and often are larger and tastier than the stuff in the grocery store.)

I bought three heads of seed garlic this year: Rocambole Garlic, also called German Red Garlic:
“Flavor is strong, hot and spicy. Keeps moderately well when properly cured and stored. Can be grown in mild climates; however, develops better quality and size where winters re cold. Color will become brighter if it is stressed by too much water.”

(Source: Irish Eyes, via the Red Barn.)

I also planted two heads of Elephant Garlic:
“(Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum) is a plant belonging to the onion genus. It is not a true garlic, but actually a variant of the garden leek. It has a tall, solid, flowering stalk and broad, flat leaves, much like those of the leek, but forms a bulb consisting of very large, garlic-like cloves. 

The flavor of these, while not exactly like garlic, is much more similar to garlic than to leeks. The flavor is milder than garlic, and much more palatable to some people than garlic when used raw as in salads.”

(Source: last year's Elephant Garlic, which was grown from a head I got at a grocery store [WalMart].)

We rather like the big stuff. We roast it (the garlic snob version is bake it under a water-soaked clay pot), and spread it on bread. 

I’m concerned about losing track of what went where.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Lessons Learned from the Summer of 2014

    Organic Beefsteak tomatoes
  • Maybe be less ambitious with the blog. Admit it: growing stuff is more fun than writing about growing stuff. 

  • Tomatoes: Don't grow 9 varieties next year.
    2014 Winners:

o       Chocolate Cherry (purple cherry tomatoes)
Part of the Basil Hedge
o       Sun Sugar (yellow cherry tomatoes)
o       San Marzano (indeterminate cooking tomatoes)
o       Cherokee Purple (an excellent slicing tomato)

  • Don’t get carried away with kale. (6 – 10 plants; plant spring & fall)
  • Don’t get carried away with basil.
  • It’s cool to use (some) veggies in the flower beds.
  • Stake up the sunflowers!
  • Scarlet Runner Beans.
  • Plan on arched trellises: more stable than poles.
o       Beans
o       Peas
o       Cucumbers
o       Squash
o       (Maybe grow sunflowers through the trellis? 

  • Be more intentional about
o       Carrots
o       Lettuce
o       Beets
o       Spinach

  • Do less with:
o       Corn: don’t waste the time.
o       Squash. Maybe just Hokkaido and Pattypan.
1.6 pound tomato (Brandywine)
o       Don’t bother with Armenian cucumbers: hard to grow, not real impressive results.
o       Nasturtiums: they want to take over. Plan accordingly.
o       Marigolds: specify the smaller size, and plant sparingly.

  • Change how I use the greenhouse:
o       No melons in the greenhouse (a pain to pollinate)
o       No cucumbers (a pain to pollinate)
o       Only 1 tomato plant in the greenhouse, or even better: none (they don’t need greenhouse & they take a lot of space.)
o       Peppers are good for greenhouse (easy manual pollination)
o       Starts and such are real appropriate in the greenhouse.