I am always amazed that anything in my yard, let alone my garden makes it through our zone 3 winters! Especially on those years when winter starts so early. Like it did this weekend.
After listening to many forecasts warning of the upcoming blizzard my husband and I worked like crazy Friday morning getting the last of the hay in the barn, checking water trough heaters, getting stock in places where they could be fed easily, putting away yard furniture, and of course harvesting the garden. I leave the carrots in the ground covered with mulch and dig them up through out the winter. They stay very sweet. I left the beets, hoping that they will do the same? The pumpkins and tomatoes really needed a couple more weeks to ripen and my flowers were gorgeous….ugh. Oh well, into the house everything came and hopefully will continue to ripen in sunny windows?
This was the scene the next morning!
I apologize for the fuzzy image…it was just a little chilly holding the camera in the 20 mph wind!
The poor raspberries under all that snow. With all the leaves still on the trees and bushes the snow has smashed everything. The chickens however, are snug in their little house.
Ok, so back to the garlic. October is the time when I usually plant garlic. Not because I can’t buy suitable garlic and it would take a lot of space to grow all that I use. But, I plant garlic mainly for the scrapes!
These adorable curly things called “scrapes” sprout up from the garlic bulbs around the first of June for us. The flower on the end is a seed pod and if left alone will seed a bunch of new little garlic bulbs.
The scrapes have the most wonderful mild garlic flavor and can be used like green onions. Saute’d in butter and used on bread, baked potatoes, or in eggs, they are amazing! You should cut most of them off because they hinder the growth of the garlic bulbs.
Now, the little garlic bulbs that result from the seed pod breaking open are wonderful too! They will lay over the winter and sprout in the spring. They look just like a green onion and can also be used like them. You can leave them and they will produce more garlic. The scrapes are bigger and are available earlier in the spring.
If you are going to plant garlic this fall you will want to buy it from a garden supplier, not the grocery store. The garlic bulbs/heads sold in the grocery stores are usually treated so that they won’t sprout. Organic bulbs are really the best way to go!
In mid October, find a spot in your garden for a permanent garlic bed. Start with a couple of heads with 6-8 cloves or bulbs. in each. Plant them 6″ apart with rows 6″-8″ apart. Using a stick or dowel approximately 2″ in diameter, push a hole into the soil. Place the garlic clove into the hole with the pointed end up ( much like planting tulip bulbs). Cover with soil and water lightly. Add a layer of mulch several inches deep and go sit by the fire the rest of the winter!
After the last frost of spring remove the mulch. Soon you will have scrapes to “spice-up” your life!