THE SECOND SEASON IS HERE

THE SECOND SEASON IS HERE

It is hard to believe, but the second half of the gardening season is happening right now.  It seems that the older I get, the faster the time goes.

My usual indicator is the garlic patch.  We harvest the garlic scapes in June.  When the leaves of the garlic plants start browning in late July, it’s time to pull those suckers.

THE GARLIC PATCH READY TO HARVEST

I typically harvest the plants and give them a few days to dry out.  Then I cut off the stems and roots and polish off the dirt on the garlic heads with a towel.  It is slow work, best done with some good music in the background, a cold beer within reach and the company (and help) of friends and loved ones.

HARVESTED GARLIC DRYING OUT

GARLIC ALL CLEANED UP AND READY TO STORE

Why do I call this the “Second Season”?  Good question.  Harvesting the garlic sets in motion a new round of gardening activity.  Now that the garlic is harvested, it is time to plant the fall carrots in that plot.  Harvesting and replanting will be repeated several more times as the various onion varieties come to harvest.  I will start seeds of red beet and golden beet, many more carrots, and more green onions.

As this is happening, some of my hot weather crops are beginning to bear fruit.  We have recently harvested three zucchini and two eggplants.  In addition, we now have some lovely jalapeno peppers.  The cool weather crops are now giving way to the sexier hot weather crops.  The happiness factor is trending upwards.

A SHOT OF ONE OF MY FRUIT CROP BEDS. ZUCCHINI ON THE LEFT WITH EGGPLANT AND SWEET PEPPERS TO THE RIGHT. INDETERMINATE TOMATOES IN THE REAR.

HERE IS A CLOSEUP SHOT OF THE ZUCCHINI PLANTS.

CHECK OUT THESE BAD BOYS. THE VARIETY IS CALLED “MEATBALL.” EACH CLOCKED IN AT ONE POUND..

So far, it has been a pretty good gardening year.  Here’s hoping the “Second Season” is just as satisfying.

All the best in life and gardening,

Greg Garnache                                                                                                                         gcgarnache@gmail.com

 

Garden Journal – 4th Week of September

Garden Journal – 4th Week of September

Weeding the Carrot Patch

The carrots that I planted at the end of July in the planting bed where the garlic had grown are doing well, but were in need of some TLC.  Weeding the bed was overdue.  After twenty minutes of weeding, I can report that the carrot patch is “lookin’ good”.  We will begin thinning/harvesting baby carrots soon, so I really wanted to make sure that the crop didn’t have to compete with the weed population for nutrients.

CARROTS PLANTED IN LATE JULY

THE CARROT PATCH WEEDED AND ALMOST READY FOR THINNING/HARVESTING BABY CARROTS

Harvesting Butternut Squash

This week, I noticed that our one squash plant was beginning to show signs of dying back and the fruit had turned color from cream to beige.  Time to harvest.  I was amazed that there were 15 fruit on the one vine.  Believe me when I tell you that the squash plant was neglected all Summer except for watering and occasional applications of fish fertilizer.  The variety that I grow is called METRO PMRwhich I source from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.  Can’t say enough about Metro;  strong disease resistance, great production, minimal effort.

METRO PMR SQUASH HARVESTED FROM ONE PLANT

METRO PMR SQUASH HARVESTED FROM ONE PLANT

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Garden Journal – 3rd Week of July

Garden Journal – 3rd Week of July

It’s hard to believe that nearly two weeks have passed since my last post.  We’ve been in travel mode; first to New Orleans to see our new grandson Theo and then out to the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts for some culture.  Needless to say, I came home to a vegetable garden in need of some love.  Thankfully, most of the love involved harvesting.

Garlic Ready for Harvest

Before we left for New Orleans, the garlic plants were beginning to look like they were ready to be pulled.  I noticed traces of browning on the leaf tips.  When we returned from our trip the garlic patch was definitely ready for harvest.

BROWN TIPS ON GARLIC PLANTS

THE GARLIC PATCH READY FOR HARVEST. NOTICE ALL THE BROWN TIPS.

One of the first things I did when we returned from our trip was to pull the plants and let them dry out a bit in the sunshine.  After a couple of days I cut the garlic heads from the stems with a pair of pruners and trimmed the roots off with kitchen scissors.  I then wiped off the dirt with a towel and separated the heads by the number of cloves in each.  Most of the heads had five or six cloves.

My ultimate goal is to set aside the largest heads with the largest number of cloves to use as my seed stock this Fall.  The smallest heads of garlic will be used first for cooking.

RECENTLY HARVESTED GARLIC

NEWLY HARVESTED GARLIC SEPARATED INTO 4, 5 AND 6 CLOVE HEADS

The Hot Weather Crops are Starting to Rock

We came home to cucumbers, peppers (both sweet and hot), zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant.  Some of our heirloom tomatoes are beginning to produce.  As expected, “Black Krim” is one of the early arrivals, as well as “Black Ethiopian” and an early “Rose” tomato.

OUR HARVEST BASKET ON THE FIRST DAY OF OUR  RETURN FROM VACATION

OUR HARVEST BASKET ON THE FIRST DAY OF OUR RETURN FROM VACATION

BLACK ETHIOPIAN TOMATOES

BLACK ETHIOPIAN TOMATOES ON THE VINE

Last year, I received some eggplant seeds from Italy as a gift.  We are growing the same variety this year with great results.

ITALIAN EGGPLANTS

ITALIAN EGGPLANTS

Walla Walla Onions Ready for Harvest

After three months in the ground, the Walla Walla onions were finally ready for harvest, just in time for making salsa.  These mild white onions have been a favorite around our house for the last ten years or so.  We are talking “Vadalia” mild.  Do you want to add some “rock-n-roll” to your burger?  Try a nice thick slice of Walla Walla.  They are also great in salads.  Walla Walla onions don’t store well so we will try to use all of our harvest before the end of the summer.  I also enjoy making a simple cucumber and onion salad  using the Walla Walla onions.  In addition to the Walla Walla’s, we also grow red onions and a yellow storage onion which both need a couple more weeks in the ground before harvest.

WALLA WALLA ONIONS

OUR WALLA WALLA ONION HARVEST DRYING IN THE SUN

The Tomatoes are Doing Fine

One of the advantages of being away for a week was the impact of a week’s worth of growth of our tomatoes.  Many of the plants grew at least a foot with some growing 18″ or more.  Some varieties are just beginning to produce ripe fruit.  We are three weeks away from our annual “Tomato Lovers’ Dinner”, which we offer as an auction item at our church.  I’ve lined up a professional photographer to shoot this year’s event and will devote a couple of posts to this event.  We start off with a tomato tasting.  This is the adult version of kids in a candy store.  Doing a tomato tasting is a blast.  People love trying new tomatoes and are surprised at the different taste notes that each variety displays.  If you grow a variety of  tomatoes, especially heirlooms, think about doing a tomato tasting for your friends.  Trust me, you will become a hero.

BLACK ETHIOPIAN TOMATOES

BLACK ETHIOPIAN TOMATOES GROWING ON THE BACK OF THE SUNSHED

I would love to hear from you.  How are your tomatoes doing?  What varieties do you have?  Have you seen any signs of disease or the dreaded tomato horn worm?

All the best,

Greg