Tag: Garlic

June 2019 Wrap-Up

June 2019

This month has been a whirlwind! New family member, second year production on the big garden, and travel to multiple states. Most of the travel has been business related, but the end result was a very busy June 2019.

In the Garden

Highlights of the garden are the leafy greens, peas, radishes and a few early beets. But the star of the show was the garlic harvest. The heads vary in size, but at least half are what I call grocery store quality. Since the total is in the hundreds, I am set for a while. Some are still drying along the garage wall, but I have earmarked some of the early harvest for long term storage. These heads of garlic are in a burlap bag in cool storage of a basement room.

The big disappointments of the garden was a lack of maturing spinach and the small crop of sour cherries. While I know the latter is a result of the late freeze, I am not sure why I am having trouble growing spinach in the big garden. I will try a fall crop and hope for a better outcome.

In the Library

In addition to the books reviewed, I have read the latest “Brit in the FBI” from the duo comprised of Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison. The Last Second was action packed. I also read another fictionalized biography of a woman in history. Karen Harper’s American Duchess revealed much about Consuela Vanderbilt unknown to me. Much like The Only Woman in the Room, the author acknowledges that the book is a work of fiction.

Keep posted for reviews of the above. Additionally, I am reading quite a bit on the latest and greatest in kitchen and bath counter tops. I have engaged in working on a foreclosure and the house needs quite a bit of updating. Hopefully I will be able to share some before and after pictures.

Travel

All of the trips I made were to places I had already visited. However, an overnight trip to Salina, Kansas was eye-opening. Most of the time I have just stopped for gas as I was passing through on one of the two Interstates that bisect the town.  I enjoyed spending the night there and will feature this small city in a future post.

Time flies when you are having fun. June 2019 flew at supersonic speed. Very appropriate for this fifty year anniversary of Apollo 11. For those of you looking for a scholarly account of the Apollo mission I highly recommend Moonport: A History of Apollo Launch Facilities and Operations: The NASA History Series by Benson and Faherty. Fair warning, the original edition is so lengthy that when NASA re-released the book it was split into two volumes with distinct titles.

May 2019 Wrap-Up

May 2019

While May 2019 is not officially in the books, the time is nigh. To avoid two posts in one day, I am writing and posting just a bit early. Considering the number of things that have already occurred this month, an early wrap on May 2019 will not hurt a bit.

Kentucky Derby

We began the month preparing for a Kentucky Derby party. Among the recipes whipped up were a Derby Pie from Racing to the Table and Bourbon Brown Sugar Nuts from the May 2019 edition of Better Homes & Gardens. The party was a great success despite or perhaps because of the outcome of this year’s race. Our weather was perfect as we migrated to the back patio after the telecast.

Not long after the Derby, I traveled to Kentucky. I was fortunate enough to take pictures of a 300 year old bur oak. Visit the slide show at the end of this post to see this amazing tree. I have a twenty year old bur oak in my yard. The trunk is only a foot in diameter. We are quite a bit drier in our part of the country, but if it lives 300 years, maybe someone will marvel the way I did over the tree in Kentucky.

Wacky Weather

The spring months on the High Plains of the United States are full of surprises. May 2019 is no exception. Last year I planted some tomatoes in the ground in late April. But this year I suspected would be one with a late freeze. I was right. The morning of May 21 I awoke to a frost in the garden. Immediate losses include eggplant and melon. I suspect further losses. Two of the tomatoes and half the peanuts look iffy. Fortunately, most of the herbs are close to the house. A micro-climate exists in their location. Not a single basil plant was lost.

Just a few days later, spring thunderstorms brought hail and a few small tornadoes to the region. We were spared both. The total rainfall for the month was 7/10th of an inch. Steady winds of 30 M.P.H. with gusts above forty dry things out in a hurry. Watering is essential.

The Love Quilt

I am approaching the finish line with The Love Quilt. I think I will finish before the newest addition to the family arrives. But it will be close. I like to hand quilt. Weaving the needle back and forth through the layers calms me. But the process is very time consuming. If or perhaps when arthritis strikes, (Some stiffness is occurring) I may need to invest in a long arm sewing machine.

The design of the next quilt is complete. So, I will begin the process of cutting and piecing once I finish the current project. The next is a challenge because it is two sided. The quilt design will need to be an allover pattern.

Garlic and Greens

The garden harvest for May 2019 consisted of greens-multiple types of lettuce- radishes, onions and garlic and garlic scapes. I have a bumper crop of garlic. I have only dug the ones in the front flower bed. But I have begun the process of drying and curing. Using the garlic scapes as an indicator, most of the bulbs will be ready the second week in June. I have never before had such success with garlic. The raised row garden concept is incredible. If you have not read my review of the book by Jim and Mary Competti, click here. My yields have increased exponentially. I love their website as well, Old World Garden Farms.

Reading Highlights

This month my reading focused on various blogs and websites I follow. I find first-hand accounts of what works in the garden quite helpful. But I also like to read blogs from around the world. Since I live in a rural, isolated area, the online community of bloggers keeps me connected.

On the book front, look for this Friday’s review of The Black Ascot. I loved this historical murder mystery. My gardening took a backseat Memorial Day because I spent hours reading this Charles Todd mystery. Definitely a page turner! Enjoy the slide show.

 

 

 

IN THE GARDEN-1st Garlic

IN THE GARDEN-First Garlic Harvest of 2017

In all honesty, this morning’s harvest was triggered by finding the headless, tailless, remains of a snake in the garden last night. The markings were similar to a bull or rattlesnake but because of the condition I am not sure which. It is quite possible the lawn mower did the creature in. Although Sophie the Hunter Cat could have been involved.

Nonetheless, the finding spurred the need to clear out a patch of weeds in an area where I had plopped some garlic last fall. There was also a volunteer purple potato plant in the mix. This area of the yard really isn’t in the garden. Instead it is in sort of a no man’s land between the yard around the house and the lot.

This distinction plays a role. The lawn is kept mowed by my spouse. The lot is my territory. Buffalo grass prevails in the non-irrigated lot, so it is green for about six weeks in the spring and brown the rest of the year. The Bluegrass/other mix watered by the sprinkler system needs constant mowing. No man’s land sometimes receives water from the sprinkler system on windy days.This particular spot has very sandy soil and a history of much failure. No fewer than four trees have met their demise there. A small Blue Spruce was planted last spring as a memorial and hasn’t croaked yet so maybe things are on the upswing.

Last year I had quite a few purple seed potatoes and I popped some in the area about a yard away from the Blue Spruce thinking having both there would spur a reminder to water. Last fall when I harvested the potatoes I was surprised to find that area had the largest. So, having little success with garlic bulbs getting any bigger than the clove I planted, I thought I would give the patch a try hoping for an outcome similar to the potato.

This spring a volunteer potato plant emerged alongside the garlic. Unlike some gardeners, I relish plants that come up on their own. I live in an area classified as semi-arid. The average rainfall is in the low teens. Unfortunately this decade has had multiple years of under 10 inches and two years below 7 which makes it a dryer time than the Dust Bowl Years. Thus, if a plant can make it up on its own I believe it has an extra hardiness factor and deserves to live.

The past month the garden needed to be hardy due to an absentee gardener. No man’s land was thick with weeds about 18 inches tall. Perfect territory in my mind for a snake. So this morning, I turned on the hose full blast in case another slithery critter was taking refuge. Two rabbits bounded out but no snakes.

Along with pulling weeds, I harvested the garlic and the potato, although the latter probably could have stayed a little longer. I am happy to report that the garlic actually looked like garlic. The potatoes were a bit on the small side. More the size of new potatoes.

The nicest surprise was a baby oak tree. One of the critters that inhabit my yard must have dropped an acorn off the oak I planted 20 years ago. The oak is one of handful in this area, since oaks just don’t grow here. Applying the aforementioned hardiness theory, I plan to let the oak grow and transplant in a few years if both trees are still surviving and one needs to move.

In the picture, the garlic apart from the others was also harvested this morning but out of a proper garden spot. It is a different variety as you can tell from the coloration. Altogether the yield was just over 9 ounces. The purple potatoes weighed in just under 2 pounds. Not bad for an early harvest off a volunteer plant.