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Spring has finally arrived here in northern Michigan; the lake is thawing and yesterday was sunny and 45. In my ongoing quest and defense against the deer hoodlums, I decided to plant the garlic and onions I would harvest for my pantry first in the southeast full sun garden. I’ve been a garden junkie for 22 years now and I’ve never planted anything edible, so I searched the web for guidance.
I found that fungal spore, or conidia and the eggs of pests such as mites to be the most common problems when growing garlic. I wanted to know what could be done to help detour these conditions organically and continued my search. I was fortunate to find some very useful organic prep and planting information along with a great recipe for success that includes Vodka…imagine thatJ at Bob and Merridee’s Gourmet Garlic Gardens website.
gardens.com/index.htm Preparing the Garlic for Planting and Planting the Garlic
Bob and Merridee write that garlic is subject to fungal diseases and pest infestations that can be virtually undetectable until they strike. Prevention is the best way to deal with them. In our experience, garlic that is soaked in certain solutions and with the clove covers peeled off have a better chance of growing free of pathogen or pest.
When your soil is fully ready to be planted, take the bulbs you want to plant and break them apart into their individual cloves (Being sure to keep each variety separate from others. Soak each variety’s cloves in water containing one heaping tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and liquid seaweed per gallon to protect them from fungus as well as give them an energy boost. Leave the cloves in the soda water overnight or long enough for the clove covers to loosen so the liquid comes into contact with the surfaces of the cloves. Garlic’s clove covers can contain fungal spores, or conidia or the eggs of pests such as mites and are best discarded rather than planted since the first thing the cloves do is to shed them, anyway. The baking soda helps neutralize the fungi. Commercial growers don't have time to peel cloves bare but gardeners do.
The cloves should then be soaked in rubbing alcohol or 100 proof vodka for three or four minutes and then planted immediately. The alcohol kills pests and pest eggs and any pathogens the first soaking missed. Every time I have done this, the treated garlic turned out better than the untreated control group. Alcohols are on the National Organic Program accepted list and baking soda is accepted under part 205.605.
I have followed every detail of the prep and planting instructions, cheers, here’s to hoping and praying I have a good garlic crop.
So it's actually kind of sad. . .my first round of hot weather seeds failed (cayenne, sun gold tomatoes, and green zebra tomatoes). IF they came up, I killed them. And what's worse, I did it with the peas and lemon cukes, too. Transplanted those guys and they withered and died. The good news with the peas is that I have them direct sown outside and they are starting to pop up out there so I won't have to worry about it. ;o)
The cukes and tomatoes I tried again (and the cayenne pepper). I've got them sprouting, but I think I killed the tomatoes cuz I transplanted them too early, I think. The Sumter cukes I started this time took off way too fast (faster than I expected), so they HAD to get transplanted. I dusted some RooTone on them and they seem to have suffered no ill effects from the transplant. . .but I did the same thing with the tomatoes and they started drooping instantly. I've got some more, so it's all good. Gardening is just an experiment, right?
The garlic I've transplanted looks good and it looks like the oregano is coming back (I didn't kill it after all!). . .and all the plants I got (lemon balm, thyme, oregano, sweet woodruff, etc) ALL look really good. I'm glad I didn't mess those up. The clippings we got look a little thirsty, and I've been watering them, so we'll see if those take. . .
I transplanted my first round of Cilantro. Thank God for easy to grow plants, or I'd be pretty depressed and surrounded by death right now. . .and I got that transplanted with no problems (so far) and the same thing with the Tokyo Green Onion. Only one of each plant survived, which I thought was a little weird, considering the amount of seeds and space they had to grow. I put the pansies in that container instead, since my mom uses those flowers for food decorating. Now she can just grab them off the sill instead of trekking out to the garden.
Outside, my raspberries are coming along nicely. Lots of new shoots and older canes. Can't wait to harvest those! Raspberries have to be my favorite berry EVER!
My strawberries are doing pretty good, too. They took nicely and I'm pretty confident we'll be able to pick enough of them for at least a really good fruit salad. ;o) Planted some tulips in front of their tire and I threw the lady bug in there for luck. . .
I planted more irises by our tree in the back. . .I forgot to mark them all, so we'll be pleasantly surprised when they flower and I'll just take pics and mark them then.
Picked up MORE seeds. Planning on starting them in trays pretty soon here - today or tomorrow, weather depending. If it's nice, I'm outside.
Have a couple more existing beds to dig up and a few new beds to dig out still. . .my back hurts already!
So we're starting to see a few more sunny days and I'm starting to get more motivated to get outside and do some things. . .
A few days ago, my friend invited me to come over and help liberate some of her bluebells that have taken over her front beds. . .and being the great friend that I am, I rushed over to help her out. We barely made a dent in her bed and I had about 30 bulbs to take home! I finally got to transplanting them today. . .I had an idea where I wanted them, but didn't realize just HOW many I had until I went to start planting them. Holy cow. I spread them out all over out yard. They should be pretty when they establish themselves in the coming years. . .
The oregano and garlic container is not looking so hot. I'm gonna mix it up a little compost tea and see if that helps. If not, oh well, I guess. The sage is looking pretty perky, too. The other oregano is still looking pretty good and we've still got plenty more garlic, as you can see. . .
So yesterday happened to be the first day that I was home during daylight hours AND there was actual day light with NO snow or rain. A seemingly unique occurence for this time of year in my neck of the woods. And I kinda took advantage of it. A little bit. Then I got distracted. I blame the dog.
We had some of those mini colored Calla Lilies that started to come back up this year, so I put one of those in a pot and put that under our Japanese Maple next to our lazy frog.
I also got into the herb section of our garden and pulled out the oregano and broke that up. One half went in with some garlic (and that pot seems to be highly interesting to our cat) and the other half went into a small pot that I think we're going to bring upstairs. And I moved our Sage. I need to get in this week and thin out the Garlic,or move it around so they have some breathing room. They are a little cramped right now. . .
My mom's husband pulled out the frames from last year, and I just kind of scoped it all out. I took some before pics since the weather should hold this week so I whould be able to get a lot done.
I am going to try and put in a new 9'x9' Flower Patch in the back corner of our gate, and maybe next year put in another 3' wide bed down the length of our fence.
And then there's our walkway. I can't put anything in the ground along the walkway - between the dogs and the kids, there wouldn't be much of a chance for any plant to survive there, but I can put them in the built in beds on the left as long as they will get a long with the Maple currently living in there. Was planning on checking out some shade plants IF my seed catalog ever comes in. . .
I cant wait to harvest all the garlic!! Just thought i'd update on it, and show how much bigger it is from almost 2 months ago...
i'm thinking pasta sauce =)
It's April 29th, and yesterday we had snow...again! A week ago we were sitting on the deck. (Although that was a couple hours drive south of here) Welcome to the challenge of gardening in Zone 2.
I started this blog because today, although the snow has melted, it is raining ...and I was desperate to see what garden calendars were saying I should be doing at this time of year. Unfortunately, no one from Zone 2 was posting. Therefore, to add my two cents to the balance, I thought... "Can't garden today...might as well talk about it". As a bonus, I can try my hand at creating a garden calendar to make next year go that much more smoothly.
I have a few things growing indoors, waiting for nature to become a bit more consistent. Our last predicted frost day isn't until June 2, but there are things getting green out there, and I'm itching to get started. A family friend, Steve, from my home town has already planted his garlic, saying, "If it grows great, if not..enh!"
I'll admit, I'm saddened because this year is going to be an "Un-garden" year. We're moving! The end of May. So, it is no use planting vegetables or annuals in this yard, and there's no time to prepare a decent garden at the farm, we're moving to. So, my garden focus will be to dig out all the perennials and transplant them into temporary or if possible, permanent beds, at the new place.
Ok, now I hear hail... gotta go get my baby strawberries in.
Just a reminder to all the herb lovers here to remember to bring out your dried herbs and use them for their medicinal properties during these cold, winter months. With the sniffles going around, and the many aches and pains we might be experiencing, or even just plain old indigestion, these herbs will serve us well and remind us of why we put so much hard work in to their harvesting.
Some suggestions are using plenty of Garlic. This herb has proven to aid in fighting the common cold, serve as an antiviral, antiparasitic, and antifungal to our bodies. Fresh is obviously the better route, but dried will certainly work as well. Add some to your favorite chicken soup when your feeling down, or just remember to add some to many of your favorite dishes for seasonal protection.
Another favorite is Ginger. It works wonders for soothing nausea. You can prepare it in a teabag, sprinkle over your food, especially great on chicken, or add it to soup. It is wonderful.
Also, don't forget your Chamomile! I absolutely love to create my own Chamomile tea to soothe my nerves and relax me into a nice, peaceful sleep. It works to relax your muscles and has a pain relieving effect. It works beautifully to cure heartburn and indigestion as well.
Who could forget the mint family. It is perfect in tea. It will open those clogged sinuses and soothe your sore throat. If you suffer with acid reflux, avoid using peppermint though. It will work against you and open that valve that keeps your stomach acid where it belongs.
Of course there are many, many more. I just thought of these as I've been enjoying their properties lately. Who has more ideas?
Many doctors are now not wanting to give antibiotics for ear infections which is mostly good news. Here are some suggestions about what I do to get rid of them.
My mom always put a few drops of peroxide in each ear, let it bubble for awhile, put in a tiny bit of cotton and then turn our head in the other directions so it could empty. Then we would do the other side if necessary. I still do that but then follow it with drops of CBG (a liquid of herbs that calms the ear and fights the infection) or Garlic oil.
If anyone else has any herbal helps for earaches or colds, let me know and I will put it on my blog. I want to get as much cold, flu, and related stuff out there before it really hits.
Thanks, Barbara http://barbarasherbbasket.word
I harvested the rest of the garlic today. It was in the ground too long I think. Some of them had spider eggs around the bottom of the stems. I left them for the animals.
I got what I wanted and am in the process of curing them now.
I also started to gather some onion. Much better than last year. I didn't cut the tops off this time and let the energy of the plant go into the bulb. I've got some decent sized onion this year.
I only dug up 3 for now. Harvest isn't officially for another month even though the onion are edible at all stages.
I'm so excited. I found another cucumber baby in the garden. I also think I should have little baby tomatoes by the beginning of next week.
It's a great feeling to go into the yard to pick out garlic fresh from the ground. Found out that store bought garlic does grow.
My idiot self didn't use enough fertlizer while the garlic was in teh ground. So they are all really small. The largest so far being and inch high and wide. There isn't much odor either. I don't know if this is because they are store bought or because they are small.
I smell the garlic in the cut part of the stem but not in the cloves themselves.
I had to use pesticide on my zuchinni. :(
I've got cucumber beetles. The first application didn't get rid of them. So I reapplied. I will not use anymore. If the plant dies, it dies. I will try again next year. I mean hey, at least this year I got to see fruit where as last year the plant kept turning brown and dying and all I got were male flowers.
Today I dug more on my "leveling-out" project and had to re-think my plan. I ended up having to move my "junk" rock pile (the rocks that I don't like to use in the rock walls etc. due to the fact that they are too sharp, are gravel rocks, or are poky and are more dangerous then the average rock if Hannah was to fall on them). I decided to make the area bigger. Oh-boy, it's addicting! Anyway, I was able to dig 3-4 good size boulders out of the way (one was dead center in the way and Hannah plus myself tripped over it regularly, so thank goodness it's out!). I will take some more pictures when I get better visual progress since it doesn't look like much has changed since the last time I was out there.
On to my other garden endeavors, I planted the garlic I had in my cupboard and the rest of the chives (or at least I think I did, there may be a few still in the bucket though, so I will have to make sure). I dug out two rocks from an existing flower bed (why I didn't do it in the first place I don't know...hum...) and also dug out a really big rock from where I planted my cucumbers, zucchini and tomatoes last year (I was amending the soil when I came across the beast and couldn't just leave it in there even though it was quite deep.) I have quite a few rocks now to place in a rock wall area holding up the terraced areas I am building, but it's getting hard to find ones that are "nice" or kid friendly. I want to use as round as possible rocks so that they can't trip Hannah, or hurt her more than normal if they were jagged. I am hoping that my new plan will work out nicely.
We had an absolute beautiful day today. The "weather man" had said it was supposed to be "rain/snow mix" yesterday/today, but it was really nice. I am so worried it will all end up coming down tomorrow on our heads while we're out there doing our 1st actual easter egg hunt with Hannah.
I am extremely excited it is Easter tomorrow, just as excited as a little kid! I can't wait to see Hannah's face in the morning when she wakes up to the special surprise that the Easter Bunny brought her! I can't wait to see her searching and finding the eggs outside in the garden. Oh, I am so excited! She's so wonderfully special and I love her so much!
Hannah coloring on her eggs before we dyed them.
Today we spent time with some of the extended family (My Mother-In-Law's Brother, his girlfriend and daughter(4 years old I think), and Hannah's Great-Grandma (My Mother-In-Law's mother - Mrs. P as she is called). We spent most of the time outdoors having a "camp-fire" out in the back of the property, walking the paths we have through the woods and just really enjoying the spring weather.
She sure loves playing in the dirt!
We never have a boring week around here:
Today: We live across the canyon from a very popular area for dirt biking and this time of the year is especially popular for dirt biking. There is a dirt bike race track down the canyon from us and we only hear a little of the "noise" from it, but when dirt bikers are not using the race track (basically when there is no special event planned, so quite often), they tend to do their biking all over the mountain on the other side of the canyon. We had noticed quite an increase in dirt bike "noise" this week and had begun our yearly "tune-out". It just gets to the point we really don't notice it much, so while we were out there doing our "camp-fire" we started to notice it was much louder than normal. Hannah and I were taking a walk towards where you could see the other side of the canyon. Something caught my eye, and sure enough it was 3 dirt bikers trying to traverse the side of the VERY steep mountain with their dirt bikes. It was one of the scariest sights I have seen! They were trying to ride on animal trails, not meant for dirt bikes; the deer and coyotes use these trails. The dirt bikes are really heavy machines now days (not like I knew what they were like back-in-the-day, but I just know they're huge now!!), and it must have been exhausting trying to keep hold of them. They had to drive them instead of just push them due to the weight of the machine and the type of terrain they were on. One of the guys was extra scary to watch because he would just gun it and practically go straight up the mountain side, then slip and tip off the bike, each time we'd all hold our breaths. One guy followed the same trail as the "crazy" rider, but the other one was "smarter" (and I use the term VERY loosly, he still got himself into that dangerous predicament so he couldn't be much "smarter"!). He stayed behind observing to see how they did before he went and got himself even worse off.
The canyon....it's a long way down there!
We decided it would be best if we called some sort of authority to warn them of the possible emergency in progress. The police decided that they would come to our house to see what the situation was exactly and to possibly pin-point where on the mountain these dirt bikers were. There is a road on the other side of the mountain, but it's not close to the canyon so it would have been difficult to find them from that side of the mountain. Two police cars showed up and we showed them where the dirt bikers were and by that time we think that two of the riders were able to get their bikes up to an easier area and then came down to help the third rider with his bike. The two police officers stood out there and watched the riders until they felt that they would get out alright, but jeeze I would have thought they would have tried something more. What if they had just been watching and one of them took a dive down the canyon??? We could have done that much, watch and call if we watched someone plumit to highly likely death (not something I wanted to do though and was hoping for the best outcome). I don't know exactly what they could have done either, so really atleast they responded quickly. Once the police officers felt it was "okay", Mitchel decided to ask if he could get a ride down the property in the police car. The officer said sure, but that she only lets people in handcuffs into her car. The three kids were very happy to get a chance to see the inside of a police car. They were allowed to press the various siren and light buttons. Then Mitchel was handcuffed and Luke and Jessica (Mother-In-Laws niece) were all allowed to get in the back of the car for the drive down the road to the house. Once they got down there the lady officer let all three of them get handcuffed and pose for a picture with her. She also gave them temporary tatoos that have a mounted policeman/woman on them. The kids were so THRILLED! Hannah thought that the sirens were so neat and enjoyed seeing the police cars too.
Needless to say, we never have a boring uneventful week around here! I love living here!
Anyway, I should get going to bed, it's late and I have to get up early in the morning to hide the eggs for my sweetie-po-teetie!
I hope that everyone has had a wonderful Easter weekend and that they are getting lovely spring weather! Happy Gardening!
Well, it was overcast and partly sunny on and off today. Hannah and I didn't get out and do much. We basically went out for a bit of a walk and then fed the horses for my Mother -In-Law.
We spent quite a while over at the Mother-In-Law's house visiting and helping her create an email address. She's pretty computer illiterate and I have to teach her how to do the same things over and over. It's okay and I really don't mind, but it's hard to find the time when I have my little 2 year old stinker running around like a hurricane! It takes me twice as long to teach her and it's hard for her to concentrate totally while "Hurricane Hannah" hits. Anyway, it took us a long time to get even the simplest thing like making her a hotmail account accomplished! But we did it! Yes! But.....later this evening my Mother-In-Law called and said that something weird came up when she tried to log-in, so who knows. I will have to check it out tomorrow!
Hannah played mini hockey (basically indoor hockey) with her Uncle Luke and his friend Connor (both 12 years old) for a while and she just loves spending time with them. It's so neat to watch her interact with her young uncles (12 and 8 years old) and to see them interacting with her. Kids are so much fun to watch how they play....
Above: The three musketeers, Mitchel-Hannah-Luke, 2 days ago while it was super nice out. So nice we even broke out the popsicles! Hannah just loves hanging out with them (she's wearing a head band that Mitchel put on her, she was so proud that she got to wear it!)
Sorry there isn't much on here about gardening so far...but here ya go:
My seedlings are doing alright, nothing "new" with them. The tall zucchinis I have been talking about are okay, tipping over like Gay Lynn (giggelynn) mentioned might happen. I just hope that I don't lose them. The cucumber seedlings are still button cute. Tomorrow I need to plant my Grapefruit seedlings/sprouts before I end up killing them (they are still in the baby food jar I started them in).
I am planning on trying to plant some of my garlic. I bought some garlic and it's gotten older and I thought why not try to plant them. My gardening book says that there can be some success from store bought garlic cloves. So, experiment #1 we'll see how it works out! If anyone has any suggestions/experience with starting garlic from store bought garlic.
Another thing I have to get around to doing is planting my bulbs that I have. They are summer bloomers so I am pretty sure that it's an okay time to be planting them (well, as far as my "research" is telling me.
Bulbs I have:
Chives: I have just regular old chive bulbs from my Mother-In-Law's garden that she pulled out last summer (they wintered over with just the dirt they were pulled out with and sat into a pot). They are starting to sprout so I need to get them in the ground. They grow actually really well even in my clay soil and I do like the look quite a bit, especially when they are thick and full.
Gladiolas: I bought some bulbs from Home Depot last fall when they were getting rid of their bulb selection. They are red. I think. (They are put away in a "dark place" and I haven't seen them in a while).
I have VERY little knowledge of growing bulbs, but last year I decided to try my hand at it. I bought some crocus (still does anyone know how to spell this one in the plural form?) flowers, 2 tulip pots (flowering) and 2 pots with 1 hyacinth in each - to brighten my spring. I planted them all after they died off. I am happy to say that ALL of them are poking through the ground. I originally thought that one of my hyacinths was not going to come in, but when I checked yesterday it had started to come through ever so slightly! I still need to make sure I planted them properly so I have alittle research to do in the next few days so that I can make it right after they die off this year. I will be sure to post pictures of them when they bloom.
More tomorrow, I have to go to bed! I really need to continue my recuperation since I am feeling noticeably better today! I sure hope that we don't have an icky day tomorrow. I should probably check the weather report to see though.
Have a great Easter weekend!
For the past month most days it's been heavy downpour. Usually I don't mind the rain except for the fact that it let me know that my garden is on a slight slope and the bottom half of the garden was under water with my garlic being flooded in the process. It's still alive amazingly enough and we've dug a trench to keep most of the water out but we are seriously going to have to rebuild the garden when it gets warmer out. Maybe do it in a box garden fashion.
I wish I knew I was going to run into this sooner.
I planted all the garlic the other day. Yay!!! Hope it does well.
I got some flagstones to makes paths but it wasn't enough. Maybe 20 more stones. In the spring we will put up a fence.
I got productive and planted every single tulip, crocus, and daffodil bulb I've had hanging around for the past year. I'm sure some of them are dead but you never know.
I finally got my garlic in so I will be planting in a couple of weeks. I have garlic bought online and garlic that I saved from the store. I will separate them so I can figure out if store bought really does grow and if so then I will no longer buy online.
Yay for Autumn. I love this time of year. I love the smell of the trees and the air and the foods that come with harvest and I especially love Halloween. I can't celebrate this year because too many people have requested time off for that day and since I am a manager that means I work.I look forward to when I don't have to work nights anymore and I can enjoy my very few holiday of the year that I actually celebrate.
Today is real hot, 94* but we have been having a breeze all day. I haven't felt real good the last few days, I'm wondering if I'm getting an ulcer. Anyway I did get a few things done, this morning I picked another batch of green beans to add to the gallon bag I already had cleaned an cut. I gave a partial bag to my widow neighbor this morning along with a few new potatoes. Wound up with 14 pints of green beans.
Yesterday coming home from Macon along the roadside I found some yellowish orange ripe wild plums so DD an I stopped an picked a few. These make some pretty jelly. So today I made some plum jelly.We were down to our last jar. Although I did have to add some of my red plums to make a full batch/recipe, it turned out good. I still have enough juice to make another batch but I only had 1 box of pectin. I didn't realize I was so low on pectin or the canning lids. So hopefully sometime over the week end I'll be able to get some more.
I got my garlic cleaned up that I had curing in the greenhouse on the tables. Separated them into large, medium an small heads. I'm so pleased with this years crop, some nice large heads for a change. I usually do ok growing garlic but this time they out did themselves. I will definitely be saving some of those larger heads for planting this fall. I really believe that is key to getting those large heads. I've read about it plenty of times but just never really had ones big enough to matter b4.
I'm still inching away at the Ga. Thumper grasshoppers, they have moved to the veggie garden. I have them down enough now I just step on them when I see one. Getting ready to get the last batch of bean outta the pressure cooker then going brim fishing.
I really wanted to put in Walla Wallas today but the soil is still 'dirt' so I went to the local Home Depot and got some 'emergency cow poop', came home and I dumped about a bag and a half between the two spaces.
At this very moment I am reading a book called 'Cubed Foot Gardening' by Christopher O. Bird. Well, I really like what he has to say. So, I am doing an intensive seasonal rotation garden. Going through it I decided to ignore the packets suggestions (I know! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING???) Either way, I looked through our last frost, possible first frost...and found that for some reason (Ring of fire? Could it be the volcanoes? Hmmm...maybe ;) ) that our growing season is actually LONGER then where I grew up in NC! Maybe a month or so longer! Wow.
So, I planted! I planted the Walla Walla's that I was going to anyways, but also planted the smooth leafed Olympic spinach according to the 'cubed' ft design. Spinach is kinda tall so it gets the north side of the garden all over! Then I put the onions in front of the spinach to fill the area on the north side. On the south side I planted all the lettuces and some onions. I put the butterleaf and greenleaf through my newly opened area and then a 'garlic rectangle' and early radishes. So, assuming things work the way I have been reading, both online and in the book, and from what I saw last year....I should have solid green in about a month! wOOt!
Next week? Cold Frames based out of the containers that our greens come in.
I shall plant the tomatoes, I have Brandywine and my cross breed black prince/brandywines from last year, and some cherry sweets :D
It turned out to be a nice day today, perfect for digging in the dirt. My 2 yr old gson spent the night with us friday night, which is becoming a wonderful habit here lately that I don't mind. Anyway we got out an planted the elephant garlics, tuberoses, Garden Wonder Dahlia an Mick's Peppermint Dahlia that I had bought from the Atlanta Show, then we had to feed the chickens before I took him home. It was a good day. Tomorrow I need to try an get the red onions, shallots an Jersey Giants planted. Can't decide where I want to put those, in the veggie garden or mix them in some flower beds. I may split them up an put some in both just to see where they do best at, now that I know more about them they may do ok straight in the ground. I'm hoping to work on getting dead out of the roses tomorrow to an cut back the last of the lantana. So much to do out there don't know where to start.