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LAST PLANTING OF 2017

LAST PLANTING OF 2017

The week of Halloween is when I do my garlic planting. It is challenging to find the perfect place to plant my garlic taking into consideration that you need to rotate crops, the sunniest spot and of course fertile, loose, well drained soil. My small vegetable garden area is on the west side of my house. Only about ten feet from the house. Which means the house casts a big shadow most of the day until mid June. High Summer it gets as much as 10 hours of sun. This is the only chosen spot available that my hubby and I agree on.

I separate the cloves from the big bulb and use only the largest cloves for planting. You could use all the cloves but the smaller the clove planted, the smaller your next year’s bulb harvest will be. LARGER CLOVE, LARGER BULB HARVEST. Place clove 4” deep, tip side up, flat root side down and about 5” apart. Cover with soil. Water them in.

Here in Wisconsin, zone 5, I put about 10” chopped leaves and grass clippings as a mulch. Garlic might grow and show its greens. Don’t worry it will be fine and come back next year in Spring. Around the end of May I push aside what mulch has not decomposed, exposing the new little plants. As the plants get bigger I push the mulch back around the plant. The decomposing leaves and grass clippings are feeding the worms and the worms are feeding the garlic. WIN, WIN. Worms are happy and so am I. :0)

2017 garlic harvest was GREAT. Even got to eat the ‘garlic scapes’ (garlic going into bloom). YUMMY! I used mine in stir fries. If you don’t want to eat the scapes, you still need to cut them off. If you leave them on and they go to flower, your garlic bulbs will be small. You want all the plants energy to go to the blub, not to making flowers.

So if you want to give it a try, do so with confidence. You can just purchase some ORGANIC garlic and plant away.

PREPPING PLANTING AREA FOR POTATOES

PREPPING PLANTING AREA FOR POTATOES

PREPPING PLANTING AREA FOR POTATOES

Rotating where you plant your vegetables is very important to ward off disease. I am lucky enough to have the area to do a 3 year rotation. I plant my potatoes where I had my compost pile the year before. Last year was the first time I tried this method and it was the best harvest I had ever had.

Last year I planted my potatoes the first week in June. After the last frost date. This year I am starting my potatoes in April. Way too cold and wet for potato planting in Wisconsin, zone 5. BUT this year I put up a little hoop house and black plastic on the soil to warm this area before planting. I will be planting about 12 ‘pieces’ of potatoes, which have at least 2 ‘eyes’ on each piece. I will allow them to ‘callus over’ before planting. I will write another article on how I ‘chit’ potatoes. I will cover the newly planted area with a ‘row cover’ and the hoop house over that. This double protection should keep the potatoes warm enough to grow. If the sun ever comes out, I will have to vent the hoop house. I do this by opening both ends, allowing air flow. A hoop house temperature can rise very quickly into the 90’s -100F if the sun is shining. How do I know this? I have FRIED many plants forgetting to vent the hoop house. Live & learn.

I will write updates to keep you posted on how this experiment of planting potatoes early is going. Don’t forget to sign up for my forum. The blog (here) and the forum have separate ‘to join’ areas. You might like to check out my video on this potato hoop house.

HAPPY GARDENING!