First Garlic Harvest

Garlic bulbs layed out in the garage to dry.

Garlic bulbs laid out in the garage to dry.

Today, I decided that the garlic was ready to check for harvest.  A few of the lower leaves on the garlic have already turned brown, which is the first sign the bulbs are getting close to being ready to harvest. After using a garden fork to break up the soil around one of the garlic plants, I found the bulb was small but fully formed.  So I went ahead and harvested the rest of the plants.  In total, I got fifteen plants out of the original three bulbs I bought from the farmers market last year.  I plan on using most of the garlic in this harvest to plant out more garlic later this year.  I expect to get about forty to fifty plants from this.  I will only be planting the larger cloves and the smaller cloves will be used for cooking.

Irises Bloom, Plantings Continue, and the Remaining Peaches

The first Iris to bloom in my garden.

The first Iris to bloom in my garden.

I went out to work weed the garden a couple of days ago to find that some of the Irises that I received from my Grandparents in Utah are starting to bloom.  I planted these about mid-summer last year and they grew through-out the year.  Now, some of the larger plants are starting to bloom.  The whole thing is rather exciting, because I have no idea what colors I am going to get.

A line planted with radishes.

A line planted with radishes right next to the surviving 16 garlic plants.

I still have quite a bit of space in the garden, so today I spent some time filling things in.  I planted several lines of radishes and lettuce.  The lettuce mainly went right next to the flowers where I don’t have to worry about pulling up a root crop disturbing the flowers.  The radishes went into places where digging them up is not going to be an issue.  I’m trying to fill up the garden as best I can so that I can get a good harvest and also so that I can crowd out weeds.  I would be very happy if the weeds had no space to grow.

One of the peaches that survived the late frost that killed the blossoms.

One of the peaches that survived the late frost that killed the blossoms.

A few of the peaches survived a late cold snap are now starting to get large enough to actually determine how much was lost.  I estimate that I will be getting about 20 to 40 times fewer fruit from the peach tree this year.  It remains to be seen if the fruit decide to grow larger this year to compensate.  I plan to skip thinning the tree of fruit like I did last year in an attempt to get larger fruit.

The weather this year has been very difficult.  We have had several late cold snaps that keep killing early plantings and flower blossoms.  I haven’t planted a lot of crops out of fear they will end up getting killed.  The tomatoes and the peppers are still in the greenhouse.  The cold has also ended up stunting the growth of plants along with germination rates.  About the only things that seem invulnerable to the cold are the perennials, the garlic and the peas.

Not Much Happens in Winter with a Garden

I haven’t written a post in over two months, which is not something I should be doing.  Big gaps are a large annoyance with other people’s blogs and I am positive that they are following this blog don’t like it.  It is just that sometimes there is not really that much to write about, or I’m not looking hard enough at what I am doing and then writing about it.  Probably the latter.  So, time to make up some lost ground with giant post that covers the past two months…


Sad, dead tomato plants.

Shortly after the first frost of the year, the second frost came in and killed all the remaining tender plants.  There is nothing I can do but rip them up and throw them in the compost pile.  I might be able to get row covers for next year, but it is not very high on the list of things to buy.

Elephant garlic emerged in late October.

Elephant garlic emerged in late October.

I got a bit of a surprise when the elephant garlic I thought was dead decided to emerge from the ground.  Only half of the plants actually survived, the others are truly dead.

I also decided to plant some standard garlic I picked up at a farmer’s market stand.  As of my last check, 18 plants are still alive and growing very slowly in the winter sun.

The shelled and unshelled pecans.

The shelled and unshelled pecans.

The main thing that has been consuming my time is pecans.  Picking them up off the ground and then shelling them.  There are just so many of them and they are all rather small that it takes a long time to get anywhere.  It takes me about ten to twelve hours of cracking to fill up a quart jar with shelled pecans.  So far, I have managed to fill just over five quarts, two of which have already been eaten.

I had both mine and my wife’s family over at my house this year for Thanksgiving, which was both nice and very hectic.  Some of the pecans  were made into a very good pecan pie and the pumpkin that decided to grow out of the compost pile was used in making pumpkin pie.

Old bee frames I found in the attic.

Old bee frames I found in the attic.

While digging around in the attic to get the Christmas lights down, I came across very interesting two things: several boxes filled with glass jars and parts of bee frames.  I can only guess that one of the previous owners of the house was also a beekeeper and left some parts here at one point.  The frames clearly look old, but I have no clue as to how old.  I have a few frames in my hives that look as old and need to be replaced with new ones, so these could be fairly recent.

First Frost of the Year

Frost on the leaves of the bean plants.

Last night, we had the first frost of the year. I’m not too surprised, because the weather forecast had us under a frost advisory and the previous night got down to 41°F.  I’ll just have to wait to see if anything dies because of the frost.  I’m not  worried because it should be up in the fifty’s today and not get quite as cold tonight.

All the pinto beans I’ve grown this year. Not too bad for my first time gardening.

The bean harvest started and I did not report it.  So far, I’ve harvested about a pound and a half of pinto beans and there is still lots of bean pots on the plants that.  I should have a nice batch ready for picking when I get back from a business trip this week.

From everything I’ve read, it is about time for me to plant fall garlic.  The signs I’ve read about for the right time to plant is after the first frost and when the soil temperature at four inches is 50°F, both of which happened last night.  I need to look over the planting material once more before I put the garlic in the ground and hope for the best.  Worst case, I just end up planting spring garlic.


Wilted Garlic and Watering Bees

Wilted garlic that may be on its way to being ready to harvest.  Or it may just be dying

When I was checking the garden today, I noticed that the elephant garlic I planted looked wilted.  I know that I watered and fertilized the garden yesterday, so I don’t think it is wilting from lack of water.  I am slightly worried about adding too much fertilizer, but none of the other plants that I added the same fertilizer to look wilted.  What I hope has happened is that when garlic is ready to be harvested, the tops wilt and the leaves turn brown.  I hope this is the case so that I can harvest the cloves, break them apart and immediately replant to try to multiply the number of garlic plants I have for next year.  I want to work up to about one hundred cloves total.

Bees taking a drink at the watering hole.

Today has been rather hot.  Like any other animal, bees need water.  Unlike most mammals and like most insects, bees are not very good at swimming and will drown in large bodies of water.  Large for a bee anyways.  Anyway, the bees like to cluster on the algae growing on the water pump hoses.  The algae stays wet and the bees don’t drown and everybody is happy.