Blog posts from May 2010

Time to harvest garlic!

May 31, 2010

If you're in Texas, and you planted garlic cloves cloves last October, now is the time to harvest. Typically, you'll want to stop watering garlic two or three weeks before you harvest it. When is the perfect time to harvest garlic? Well, honestly that comes with a bit of experience. One indicator that you can use, but it's not foolproof, is to harvest once the foliage starts to die back. By mid-May (in Texas) you should start pulling some soil away from the base of the plant to inspect the bulbs. You'll want to see fully formed bulbs with a complete tunic/sheath (push your fingers down into the soil to feel the bulb). Bulbs should not be splitting.

Garlic
My common garlic, which I harvested yesterday, is just perfect. Really nice sized bulbs with fully formed cloves and a nice sheath. I've got quite a haul this year. Once you harvest your garlic, you'll need to let it "cure" for two or three weeks. After you lift the plants from the ground, wash the soil off the bulbs and the roots, but leave both the roots and the foliage on the plant. You'll want to either hang them in a place that is warm with good air circulation to dry, or spread them out in your garden or on some newspaper to dry. The nutrients in the leaves will move down into the bulb and the sheath will become dry and papery. This helps the bulbs store for much longer periods. Here in Texas, with our intense sun, you're best to dry your bulbs out of direct sunlight or they will scald.

Garlic_Elephant_flower 

I probably let my Elephant garlic go a little too long - I could have harvested it a week ago. It has now gone to flower. A few of the bulbs have started to split just a little, which just means they won't store as long. But most of them look pretty good.

Elephant_garlic

You'll notice the little "bulbils" attached to the bulb. These are basically baby bulbs or seed bulbs. You can pop these off the bulbs and replant them right now for your next crop of garlic next spring. For common garlic (and you can do the same with Elephant garlic) you'll want to pick a couple of bulbs that have nicely formed cloves as your "seeds". After curing, you'll store these bulbs in until fall. Then, you'll split the cloves up and replant each one just like you did this past October. Or, you can eat all your garlic and just buy new seed bulbs!

Elephant_garlic_bulbils

Poor Einstein…she’s been henpecked, literaly…

May 30, 2010

So my little Houdan, Einstein, managed to get some string wrapped around her leg last weekend. I discovered it last Sunday after my husband came in and said she was hiding from the other birds behind the feed bucket. The string must have inhibited her from getting around normally or eating. Because she looked weak, I guess the rest of the girls ganged up on her and pecked at her. I separated her into her own coop this past week to give her a break. 

Einstein_sick 

Einstein_Phyllis
But she still looked sad and wasn't eating much, only drinking. Her buddy Phyllis went in to see for for a little bit. So cute.

Einstein_cage
Last night I checked her crop, but it felt normal, checked and cleaned her vent..no egg impaction. I gave her a bit of flax oil but this morning she was the same so we went ahead and took her to a vet that specializes in birds. Apparently, the stress of getting ganged up on by the other gals and not eating caused her to have high bacteria levels in her GI tract.

Einstein_swallowing 

This is her swallowing some of the antibiotics and baby bird food I'll have to feed every day. Poor thing...Hopefully we'll be able to get her healthy again over the next week or so and can then reintegrate her back into the flock.

Phyllis has gone broody…

May 28, 2010

For the last few days I've found Phyllis squeezed into the laying boxes with the other gals while they are trying to lay. This evening I found her sitting on all the eggs! So, I do believe my lovely Polish has gone broody on me.

Phyllis_broody 

Phyllis_broody1 

Phyllis_broody2

She did not want to move! I had to pick her up to move her, lol

Phyllis_eggs
So that's where all my darn eggs are!

Purty Peaches…

May 27, 2010

My young 'Harvester' peach tree is absolutely loaded down with peaches this year. The cold winter and chilling hours received really help set a lot of fruit. Unfortunately I never got around to thinning the fruit so they are mostly the size of apricots. Next spring I MUST get out and thin them on time! I may even pinch off flowers on the early maturing ones. Spring is just too darn busy for me!

Peaches_2010

The Succulent Project, Stage 2

May 27, 2010

We used a very simple trim, but I'm already thinking of some funkier alternatives, and sourcing some more deep, detailed carving from our Antique scrap dealers. Now, while these were being completed, the cuttings from Friday were waiting patiently on the drying screens, fully calloused and ready to go:

via terraingarden.typepad.com

I LOVE their succulent boxes!

Organic Gardening and Farming Magazine

May 24, 2010

Ogfm_cover
I've started writing articles for a new digital magazine called Organic Gardening and Farming Magazine. It's an on-line magazine and you can sign up for a free subscription and then you'll register with the site. Lots of interesting articles and content from writers in many different climates and no ads. The first issue has articles about starting organic compost, natural pest control, starting herbs from seeds, long lasting perennials, soil for growing vegetables my article on growing roses organically, and more. I still need to read through the whole issue, but it should be interesting!

Rough Earth Snakes in the Garden

May 23, 2010

This has been a bang up year for snakes, at least in Texas. I'm a herp enthusiast so I'm always happy to find reptiles or amphibians in my garden. I've had so many snakes this year it's been crazy! These are Rough Earth snakes. They are usually mature at about a foot to 14", are non-venomous and totally harmless. They love living in gardens with cultivated soil because their primary diet is earthworms.

Snake_rough_earth 

Unfortunately for the snakes, my biggest (and meanest) chicken Eunice has quite a talent for rooting out their nests and swallowing them whole! But, lucky for this little one, he/she was in the front yard and can go back to rooting around in the flower beds all it likes.

How do you like your ‘Sapho’ tomatoes?

May 21, 2010

Sapho
Soooo.....How's it going for all you folks that planted the 'Sapho' tomato? Would love to hear if it's meeting your expectations on production, flavor etc. Do tell!

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