Monday, September 14, 2009

Fall Planting

Last weekend I decided to try some fall planting. Like all aspects of the garden, this endeavor is perhaps more experimenting than gardening, but perhaps that never really changes. I set out looking for onions but couldn't find any so settled for garlic. Settling probably isn't a good word, because The Boyfriend and I both really enjoy garlic. In any case, the nice man at Zamzows pointed me to the garlic and I picked out two handsome looking varieties: Chesnok Red and Early Italian Purple Grape (which is neither grape sized or purple--the Red, however, is purple). I also picked up some carrot seeds since I read somewhere that you can plant carrots in the fall and they'll survive into the snowy season. I even read that a good layer of snow can insulate the soil and create an even sweeter carrot. Perfect.

As I was driving home, feeling quite excited about my bag full of experiments, I realized I had no clue how to plant garlic. I had this moment where I thought I just plopped the whole bulb right in the soil. Then I realized I would have just planted the very end product I'm trying to grow. So some quick Googling confirmed my second hypothesis, that I plant the cloves individually. Yes, these are the things us novice gardeners have to Google. At least I'm fessing up.

Before I could plant, I had to dig up something to make some room. I'm not about to add a new garden bed this time of the year. I think I wanted an excuse to do so, however. I was overwhelmed by the jalapenos. I harvested everything on the four plants and promptly ripped them out. I was relieved and sad at the same time. I'd done so much to nurture those little plants but they paid me back ten-fold. Then I ripped out the beautiful, productive, and disgusting cucumber. But more about that at a later date.

With room to spare, I set about planting the garlic where the cucumber once lived. Both garlic bulbs yielded about eight nice-sized cloves. I planted all the garlic in the first bed, the Italian in a row closest to the house and the Red Chesnok in a row behind. (I mention this so I might have some clue in the spring what I'm digging up. Although, I have a feeling garlic might just be garlic to my unrefined palate.)

In the T-shaped area left by the jalapeno removal operation, I scattered some carrot seeds. Danvers Half Long carrots to be exact. I haven't seen them come up yet and they've been in the ground for nine days, along with the garlic. But that's half the fun--not knowing what to expect.

Like most things in life, I'm ridiculously excited for this planting experiment, and it's not because I absolutely love carrots and can't stand to buy my own garlic. It's mostly because of the idea of it all. Planted now, the garlic will be ready for picking in the spring. It will remain in the garden all winter, the lone guardian of our raised beds during this first winter at the new place. Planting now for the spring makes me feel like it isn't that far away and like I'll be looking through seed catalogs in no time. Winters can get hard and long, but if those little garlic cloves can make it out there in the snow and cold, I can surely persevere in my always 74 degree house.

The carrots, on the other hand, I hope to harvest in the snow. The idea of going out in December and picking something from our garden makes me insanely happy. Ultimately, I'd like to have a three-season garden, which I've been assured can happen around here. The carrots are my first step in that direction.


  1. You can put a winter cover crop in the rest of that raised bed if you want to and it will guardian your soil all winter and keep the garlic company. I think Zamzows might have had some hairy vetch and winter peas the last time i was in there.

  2. My gardening efforts are more experimental than anything else, as well, so I can relate to your endeavors!! :D I'm going to take a serious look at raised gardening following the last frost of this coming winter, though, because we'd like to become more self-sufficient. Hopefully, it'll work!!! LOL!