Well, we harvested garlic this last Wednesday at the Master Gardening Vegetable Demo Garden. We had planted 4 varieties last fall, I believe in October.
It is now ‘curing’ on my outside table in the shade of our portal where it is protected from the rain (what rain?) or should I say, potential rain.
Curing is the process of drying out the outer papery layers on the garlic bulb and takes around 3 weeks. If it rains (lol) I will cover it with a tarp so it doesn’t get wet as that would ruin the garlic. Never get garlic wet. It needs to be in a dry, airy, shady location while it is curing.
Curing and then storing garlic allows you to extend your summer harvest of garlic well into winter… and my favorite thing about garlic is that it still stays fresh long after it’s been cured. When you harvest, don’t clean the dirt off the heads. You can do that later but never with water-just brush the dirt off the heads.
Also soft- necked garlic can be braided while the leaves are still soft, (if you like) and the heads are drying out. Hard neck cannot be braided as the stem (think neck) is too stiff. When it is done curing, I will cut off the stems about an inch above the heads and store in a cool dark place in the pantry.
As to my own garlic, it isn’t quite ready to harvest yet. How do I know? It needs to have about half the leaves die back before digging it out to harvest and I’m about 2 weeks away. I love the smell of garlic and can hardly wait to harvest my own!
Last year’s major project in my garden was framing with wood my raised beds which was great as the beds don’t wash away when it rains now. This year, with all the weeds on steroids, I decided to do something about it. I’m sick of constantly weeding my paths around my raised beds. It takes the fun out of gardening. It is part of gardening that I hate especially in a bad year. Inside the beds are good with no weeds but the paths were horrible. Janine the WWOOFer actually weeded all the paths around the raised beds. So after the paths were weeded and cleaned up, I got landscape cloth (a 20 year guarantee heavy type) and cut to fit and put it all on the paths in 2 of my 3 sections. Each section is 1000 square feet. The last section will be done as well starting today. Then I put 3-4 inches wood chips that I had Spotted Owl here in Santa Fe deliver on top of the fabric. I know some people say the cloth doesn’t work but I had it down in my giant pumpkin patch some years ago for many years and it worked great. Any weeds that come from seeds dropped in the wood chips never get thru the fabric from the top and are easily pulled and nothing grows underneath in the darkness. So I’m hoping this greatly reduces my weeding. A lot of work to save a lot of work in weeding.
Jannine (me-left) and Janine the WWOOFer (right)
Boy the universe was looking after me a few weeks ago. I was co-teaching a drip irrigation class on May 5th and one of the attendees came up to me and introduce herself. Her name is Janine (same as mine only 2 n’s-Janine not 3 n’s like mine-Jannine). Anyway she explained she was a WWOOFer. For more info on what a WWOOFer is go here. She came up to my mini-farm and was going to help weed for a few days and ended up staying 2.5 weeks! What a blessing as during that period, I hurt my good knee and was barely getting around.
She not only weeded but also put all the compost in each bed, turned it over and planted flowers and vegetables and my tomatoes, and did a lot of drip lines as well. Oh, and she would get up and feed my barn critters as well every morning. We hit it off really well and she was a joy to have around here. A new gardening buddy.
But now like all good gypsies, she has left New Mexico for greener pastures up in Colorado and off to new adventures. I always said I needed a clone, and I found her. Hopefully someday she will show up again! Thanks Janine for all you did while here!
Well now it is June 6 but want to catch up with what’s going on in the garden. All 31 of my tomato plants were planted in Wall of Waters on Friday, May 24. I had a wonderful crew-Bob, Tom and Janine (yes another Jannine!) and me. I hurt my good knee and was hobbling around so I am grateful for their help. Many thanks!
We got it done so quickly that we also planted some Italian beans by seeds, transplanted pepper plants (in wall of waters too), and transplanted some cabbage. With so much cold we’ve been having, I was happy to get them in when I could on a beautiful, warm, non-windy day. The beets and onions were planted 2 weeks before and are doing well. They could handle the cold.
Since that time I have been busy trying to get the last of the veggie garden in. More dry beans, winter squash, summer squash and cucumber seeds are now in the ground and I’m awaiting their germination. Yesterday I planted sweet potato slips. I have still have carrots and flowers to plant. Almost there!
The weather is now in the high 70s to 80 degrees- in the day and in the mid 50’s at night. Amazing how it goes from winter (last week it was snowing) to summer weather in just a few days.
Here it is May 21st and I’m now glad I waited to put my tomatoes in. I have wanted to get them in the ground since early May, but it was not to be. Last year was much warmer and I got my tomatoes in by May 6th. What a difference a year can make. Last night, it got down to 32°F and snowed. Not enough to stick on the ground but we are past the magic date of May 15th which is suppose to be the first frost FREE date here in zone 6b according to USDA. We’ve had a different spring here in Santa Fe with colder temperatures and lots more precipitation throughout winter and spring than last year.
So my babies are waiting to go into the ground in wall of waters till this Friday when it looks like this cold snap will be over. Wait. Wait. Wait. It will be in the 70s in the day and 40s at night for the next week and hopefully last nite will be the last of the freezing weather. And even though we will hopefully be past any more freezes, it still gets plenty cold for a tomato plant at night. They hate the cold. A good way to ensure they won’t get stressed or die if we get more cold weather again is by planting them in wall of waters. Here is a post on Wall of Waters 101. Meanwhile I wait—ahh crumba!
I hope my apricots will be ok. I’ve got a treeful of them right now and haven’t had an apricot harvest in 12 years! I will keep my fingers crossed that this freeze didn’t kill them. Ahh mother nature, whata ya going do?!
Bella Rosa had a great smile
Bella Rosa our little pgmy goatie
Bella Rosa asking for treats
My favorite goatie, Bella Rosa, has passed on to be with her other goatie friends. She was an African Dwarf Goat. We woke up and she could not stand and later she died in the stall. There was no drama and she passed peacefully. Ten years is old for a goat. We noticed her slowing down the last few weeks but she even ate some grain and fresh grass on her last day. I think her body just gave out.
She was very friendly and even let us dress her once a bee costume for Halloween one year. It was a child’s costume but the belt to hold on the costume was too small so I had a friend make a Velcro extension to go around her Buddha belly. Too cute!
We miss you Bella Rosa! The barn is not the same without you. For such a small creature, you leave a big hole in our hearts.
This past Friday, April 19, all the baby tomato seedlings were transplanted from the germination trays into 2.25 pots where they will stay until we plant them outside. There are 155 total tomato plants.
My main helper, Linda Archibald has been doing this with me for about 4 years and this year Tom Pollard joined us to learn how to do it all. It took us 4 hours to transplant them. Thank you folks! There were 4 tomato no shows which isn’t bad for how many we planted. It is amazing how fast the seedlings grow since it has only been 16 days since we planted seeds.
We use Moonshine potting soil from Agua Fria Nursery to grow them in-amazing stuff as everything grown in takes off really fast. So now they are off the heat mats and still inside under lights that will be 3 inches away from the tops of the tomatoes. I put the lights close so they grow sturdy stems. If you put the lights higher they can get too tall and lanky. As the plants grow, I raise up the lights with them. I will actually have around 28 tomato plants and Linda will have 59! The rest are orders. Looks like it’s going to be a big year for tomatoes for Linda! I hope she buys another freezer to store all that sauce she’s gonna be making! I’m hoping to get them out in early May again this year but Mother Nature will decide when they will go out, not me!