Thursday, July 10, 2014


Melons happy after the rain

Monday night I heard the wind start to howl and it was getting dark fast. Then I heard thunder in the distance. I was praying that it wouldn't rain on us. Usually I go the other way. As a gardener I love summer thundershowers. But not on Monday night. The reason was my garlic. I had left it in the ground because of the massive rain storm we got over July 4th. I wanted it to dry out a bit before harvesting.

It wasn't supposed to rain. The predictions were for widely isolated thunderstorms. The odds that we would get hit were small. but boy did we get hit. We got about 2/3 of an inch in half an hour. So much for being dry.

When I got up on Tuesday I thought about what to do. When harvesting garlic any guide will tell you not to water before harvest. There isn't much you can do when Mother Natures turns on the spigot. I usually lay my garlic to dry out on my paths for a day, but the paths were wet.

The garlic was ready to come out and it wasn't going to wait. Some of them only had about four living leaves. Those living leaves are the layers on the bulb that will protect your bulbs in storage. And if you wait too long the bulbs start to open out a bit. So I was caught between a rock and a hard place. The garlic had to come out even if the conditions were horrible for it.

These are German Extra Hardy and they are a great storage garlic. I just hope they can store well this year too. I decided to just lay them on the soil in the morning and when the paths dry out in the afternoon I'd move them and flip them over.

For the next two days scattered thundershowers were predicted again. You just can't trust hot, humid weather. It will rain when you don't want it to and hold off when you do need the rain. At least the rest of the plants are happy with the extra water. But the garlic needed the protection of our bike shed. So once they were dry, I banged out dirt from the roots and bundled them up into eight bundles.

Each bundle has a pair so they can be tossed over the rafters. Now we won't have trouble with vampire infestations in the bike shed anymore. Or at least not for the next three weeks that it is drying.

The empty spot in the garden didn't stay empty for long. The next morning I was out early. I broadcast some mustard seed over the bed and raked it in. I'll water it every day until it comes up. I don't grow mustard for the leaves, but for the seed. Like last year I'm growing yellow mustard seed again. Hopefully in the fall I'll have enough to make mustard again. Mustard is often used for another reason too. Those nasty nematodes in the garden hate mustard. It is often used in rotation with other crops to keep it down in the soil. So if I'm smart, I'll plant carrots here next spring. Last year I was going to do it but forgot when making up the rotations. There is just so much to think about when making up rotations for the garden. Sometimes it is hard to remember it all. And this year my carrots have suffered a bit because of it.


  1. The garlic looks beautiful - hopefully the rain won't affect their storage quality too much. I'm still a couple of weeks away from harvest & can't wait to see how they did this year (last year - they were horribly small). And look at that gorgeous brick walkway - nary a weed in sight. Something for me to aspire to - although I have a feeling it will be a long time coming.

  2. That's A LOT Of garlic! Love how gorgeous it is. I pulled my early but not German Porcelain yet, also waiting for dry day. Maybe this weekend. Thanks for the tip on mustard/nematodes, I will have to try it on my carrot bed.

  3. Vampires in the bike shed, oh my! The garlic looks great, hope it dries well.

  4. Nice garlic! I wish we'd gotten some of the rain you got. The garden is quite dry again. Thanks for reminding me. I should really pull my garlic as well.

  5. Your garlic looks great! I am sure it will dry out ok in the bike shed. I love the photo of your pathway with the flowers along the edges. So pretty.

  6. That garlic does look great hanging in the shed. I think it's always dicey getting the garlic out of the ground. I'm glad you managed to make the best of the situation!

  7. Nice garlic harvest. I grow German Extra Hardy and it is a great garlic but I found it doesn't store that well. Last year the seed garlic I set aside had started to soften by November so I didn't have enough to plant the row allocated to it and had to substitute another garlic to finish the row.

    1. You must have a very different one than I do. Mine stores wonderfully for about 12 months.