Sunday, November 7, 2010


I am so excited!  I've been researching gardening since I have a backyard now, but everything just seems so complicated!  I see words like micro-climate, and mulch and compost and I scratch my head!  Everyone who speaks at the meetings I've gone to just seems like those kinds of labels are words everyone should know.  I work for a vineyard management company, so I do know the word compost, but I don't know much about what it is made of usually, or how to use it.  I just order the stuff and that's the extent of my involvement with it.

Honeybees.  I've been learning a lot about honeybees lately, too.  I got interested because I know how important pollination is for gardening (at least I know THAT much hee hee!).  So I've gone to meetings about honeybees, too.  I just recently bought the dvd "The Vanishing of the Bees".  It's a wealth of information no one who is anyone even wants to look at!  It's disconcerting and energizing at the same time!

Anyway, one of the meetings I went to recently was focused on garlic.  I had missed the whole spring and summer gardening season, and now everyone is talking about winter crops.  Again, lots of very detailed information that seems to somehow build an insurmountable wall has come flying at my brain and my brain just wants to give up and shut down!

There I was, standing at the table where they were selling garlic bulbs for planting.  There was a bunch of the normal, run-of-the-mill white garlic you buy at the store.  Then in this other box, there was this gorgeous, flayed-out looking bulb of garlic that had a reddish purple hue on the outsides of the cloves.  "Thai Fire."  It was calling my name.  All I could do was just stare.  I wanted it.  It was the last one, and that darned character trait of sharing that my mom drilled into me was going to prevent me from buying it for myself!  This woman walked up and saw me just standing there, staring at this beautiful plant.  "Can I help you with anything?" she asked.  I said, "Oh, no, thank you.  I was just looking at this purple garlic.  It's just amazing!"  "Well, why don't you get it?" she asked.  "Well, it's the last one, and I'm sure someone else would like to have it," I said.  She said, "Just get it!  You know you want it.  It's the last one, and you're right: someone else WILL take it if you don't.  You'll wish you had, and it's only one dollar more than the other kind."

She was right.  So I bought it.  I bought the mysterious, fantastic looking bulb of garlic like no garlic I had ever seen before.  A few different people I talked to while I was there just said to put it in the ground with the root side down and watch it grow over the winter.  I was going to plant it the next Sunday, but the ground was too hard.  I decided I would hose down the back yard during the week and plant it on the following Sunday.  To my wonderful surprise, it rained!  I didn't even have to soften the ground myself!  The following Sunday, my daughter and I went out in the rain, pulled up some dirt with my new digging fork, and put the bulbs in the ground.  We used some of the Thai Fire (some I kept cuz I wanted to taste it!) and two elephant garlic cloves that a friend had just happened to give me that week.  I think there were 4 cloves that we planted.  It has rained good twice now since we planted them.

So here is the exciting news:  THEY'RE GROWING!!!  Not all of them, but we can see three! I didn't know how soon they would sprout up, but there they are, only 2 weeks later!!! I'm hoping maybe the other one will come up later, but we will see.   I'm just so excited about the 3 that have come up! I'm jumping for joy in my living room! They will grow into bulbs, and I will be able to harvest them and plant even more next time!! WOOHOO!!

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