Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Glorious Afternoon

Today after work, it was so nice outside that I couldn't resist the call of the garden.  After a warming cup of tea, I headed outside with a bucket of garlic heads and horseradish roots.  It was time to move some enormous weeds and reclaim the perennial vegetable bed.

At the beginning of the summer, I planted a handful of Jerusalem artichokes.  They grew and grew all summer long, thriving in the rich soil where my compost pile once lived.  Now, they are topped by tiny golden flowers on seven foot long stalks.  I'm not sure how many tubers have been set, as I'm waiting for a good hard frost before I dig a handful for dinner.  Good thing I brought in my savory plant; it's supposed to help counter the gaseous reputation of "fartichokes".  I don't think I'll invite anyone for dinner on trial night, until I've seen the effects for myself! 

Next to the sunchokes, I parked my lovage.  It wasn't very happy immediately after transplant, but new little growth at the base of the long-dead stalk gives me hope that it will revive and come back next spring.  I have another little lovage that I started from seed.  Rather than plant it now, I think I will transfer it to a deeper pot and nurse it along indoors this winter, planting in the bed next spring.  It feels like a good safety measure to take, as I'm not entirely sure the current lovage will make it.

The Egyptian Walking onions took their move well, which is not surprising given their impervious nature.  I decided to plant the horseradish next to them, figuring those two weedy and invasive plants can spend their time duking it out for space, rather than taking over the entire garden.  That in itself would be hard, as I've planted them on purpose in the rain shadow of the hoop house, against the fence.  They should be too busy establishing themselves to be too much of a problem for at least a couple of years.

 Finally, I pulled up the black plastic covering the planned garlic bed.  After loosening the soil with my garden fork and pulling a few persistent weedy roots from the space, I planted my precious seed garlic:  Chesnick Red, German Red, and German Extra Hardy.  After topping it with a very thick layer of compost, my future garlic harvest should be ready for its long winter sleep.  I do plan to put flakes of straw across the whole bed, but that can wait until tomorrow.  By the time I moved the weeds I had pulled and layered compost over everyone, it was time for nightly chores: gather eggs, check the water, and hand out feed for all, and then time for my dinner and resting my gimpy leg.  I did manage to remember to close up the hoop house-- no fall plantings this year, but that's okay.  It was enough to spend a blustery afternoon in the warm sun, digging in the dirt and making sure that at least one corner of my little yard will always be ready to provide for the table.

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