Sort of success

Last night as it thundered, lightninged, and rained buckets full, I brought in the plastic pail I gather weeds in for the chickens and spread a huge garbage bag on the dining table to process the garlic for braiding. I watched two different videos on how to braid garlic and both were different, so I just did my own thing. The garlic was spread out, the dried roots trimmed and the dirty loose outer skin removed. They were sorted enough to see the sizes and braiding began. What a mess I made, but dry and easy to clean up after I was done. Every year I have planted garlic, I have planted hard neck varieties and they can’t be braided, but I ordered late last year and could only get soft neck varieties which can be braided.

It isn’t the prettiest braid, but what fun. While braiding, one of the stems had what looked like little round cloves breaking though it so I did some research. They are call bulbils and can be planted to produce small cloves that are then planted the following year, a two year process to produce bulbs of garlic.

There were only half a dozen, but I will plant them, well marked in the fall and again next fall to see how they turn out.

This morning, I dumped the compost waste from last night and tackled the onions, again filling the compost tub with tops and roots.

As you can see, the potato onion are small. Good for kebobs, or pot roast, or when I only need a bit of onion. After the bin was dumped in the compost pile again, the onions were loaded into it and relocated to the huge shelf and grid unit that Son 1 built several summers ago in the basement area that is not climate controlled, my “root cellar” in a sense.

The bottom two shelves are boards and store jars as they are emptied then filled jars as canning commences in the summer. The pressure canner belongs to Son 1 and DIL and needs some replacement parts. The top three shelves are hardware cloth with great ventilation for storage of onions, garlic, potatoes, and pumpkins. The onions were spread out at one end of the lowest wire shelf to continue curing and for use in cooking. Though I will replant a few of the smaller ones this fall, just because they are fun to watch develop, I will reserve most of my onion space for early spring onion starts.

As I evolve with my garden space and learn from my successes and failure, I learn to enjoy it more each year. This is the first year that I have tried the single leader on indeterminate tomatoes and love how they are up and not all over the ground. I realized after a couple of years that the asparagus bed was not well placed as it shades the beds on either side of it in the morning and in the afternoon as the sun moves across the sky. There isn’t much I can do about that without digging the bed out and starting over which would mean a couple of years without asparagus, so I need to use those beds for crops that mature early. This year it was peas in the spring, but bush beans are in that bed now that the ferns are tall. Tomatoes are on the west side, so they are getting afternoon sun, but I bought all indeterminate varieties and three of them ended up bush varieties and one of them is now sandwiched between a tall tomato and the asparagus so not getting much sun. Each year I grow something new and sometimes repeat, sometimes not. This year I tried soft neck garlic and will return to hard neck, already ordered; potato onions and will return to traditional onions; Chinese Cabbage, but will start them indoors; and ground cherries. Since they were just planted, we will have to wait and see.

If the heat wave ever breaks, I need to build the garden box and rebuild the one that had onions and garlic in it. The beds that will be fall garden need to be enriched and the ones that will be idle through the winter need a ground cover or at least a good thick layer of spoiled hay or straw. But again today, it is too hot! Last evenings thunderstorms cooled things off over night, but the heat and humidity are back.

Stay safe everyone. Please wear your mask. Today I went in our little local store to get a newspaper. Newly posted on the door is the sign that says “You must wear a mask to enter.” I asked the unmasked clerk if they were going to enforce it and she smirked and as well as we can. The owner and most of the customers in there were unmasked. So frustrating.

2 thoughts on “Sort of success”

  1. J > I’ve never heard of potato onion, but they look like shallots that you’ve broken apart. We grow shallots more successfully than onions, as they mature and ripen earlier, ideal for our short growing season. We’ve never succeeded with garlic. The common factor in all these is water : winter too wet for the long growing life of garlic, and humidity too high to store anything in the onion family for more tgan a month or two : so we dry, salt, freeze, pickle …! We’ve been busy with the onion tribe today – making the most of a breezy warm sunny day to harvest and pre-prepare for rainy day work indoors. Like you!

    1. Potato Onions grow much like shallots, but are stronger in flavor and keep longer. Here is a link to one source where I can purchase them that has a good description.
      If it weren’t for my non climate controlled part of the basement I wouldn’t be able to keep anything either. It is quite humid in most of Virginia in summer. I grow my garlic and onion is a raised bed which does help with the too much water in the winter. I love reading your blog and seeing your photos.

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