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Getting my garlics in

Nathan Baker • Oct 21, 2018 at 4:00 AM

Want a plant in your garden that’s more effective against the blood-sucking undead than Buffy? Want to create some distance between you and your friends by enhancing the potency of your breath and body odor? Try garlic!

I bought a few heads at the garden store a few weeks ago and dropped a couple of rows of cloves in the ground shortly after. With only natural watering from the sky, nearly every clove of the standard variety has already sent a shoot up above ground!

I’m assuming the other variety I planted, Chinese pink, is just a slower grower. None of them have peeked yet.

Growing garlic is new to me, but using it isn’t. Just about every dish I make in the kitchen starts with a couple of minced cloves tossed in a pan with some olive oil.

That’s why I thought I’d give it a shot and give my raised beds something to do over the winter.

Garlic is extremely cold tolerant, and normally is planted in the fall for an early summer harvest. It’s also not bothered by very many pests and can be planted very close together for a high yield.

What drew me to it was the apparent ease of growing. “Just set it and forget it,” to borrow the immortal words of telemarketing pioneer Ron Popeil.

Of course, I say that as I’m at the end of the growing season with a single measly Hungarian black pepper to show for it. The Hinkelhatz peppers, an heirloom variety from Amish country, I got a few more of, but just enough for a single jar for pickling.

Next season, I’m going to have to up my pepper game. Send me tips if you’ve got ‘em.

The star this year after my pole beans — another easy to grow veggie — was the zebra tomatoes.

Though the harvest started late because of my own foibles in starting the seeds, I still have about a half-dozen ready to come of the vine before the potential frost expected soon.

I’m so impressed with the appearance of this tomato that the taste hardly matters, although it’s very good.

The outside is red and green striped, but the inside is a deep crimson, not quite as dark as a Cherokee purple.

Another surprise I discovered a month or so ago was two shoots of ginger I’d planted back in the spring growing quietly in one of the shaded flower beds at the side of the house.

I tossed a few fingers of ginger in the dirt on a lark to see if it would grow, and all but gave up on it when it had not sprouted a few months later. Lo and behold, here were two delicate stalks about a foot high peeping at me when I went out to mow.

It’s a tropical plant, so the winter will likely not be very kind to it. Depending on how cold it gets, it could go dormant and start growing again in the spring, or it could be completely killed entirely. We’ll see.

As always, if you want to shoot me some growing tips or rail on me for torturing these poor defenseless plants, feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected].

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