Tag Archives: Garlic

Beans , Beans Good for Your Heart…

Bean Trellis

Bean Trellis

This has been an odd year for beans, at least in my garden.  The first planting of pole beans evaporated into the ether.  Planting number 2 just sat there during our extended cool spring weather.  They have started growing now but are so far behind other bean plantings at Rock Farm I’m feeling a tad bit jealous.  This past weekend they were finally tall enough for me to string the trellis.  Last year I used some netting that I purchased.  It worked well enough but at the end of the season trying to salvage it was an exercise in futility.  I ended up cutting it out of the dead vines and pitching it.  Not wanting to waste money this year I opted to do the same thing I did with the peas, wrap jute around an upper and lower cross bar, which seems to be working wonderfully in the pea row.  I already had the three vertical poles in the ground, a sturdy bamboo pole flanked by 2 t-bar posts.  I used two 1″ pvc elbows and a t to attach two bamboo poles across the top, end to end.  I ended up driving a short piece of rebar into the end of one and pounding the other onto it.  Its pretty sturdy and has works as a single unit all last year and looks just fine for this year.  Not wanting to buy anything else, I tied two remaining 6′ t-posts to the bottom of the three vertical posts about 2″ off of the ground.  I wrapped jute around the top and bottom posts at about 6″ intervals.  Should work fine and will be so much easier to deal with come fall.

Bush Beans

In other bean news, 1 row Contender, 2 rows Topcrop & 1 row Roma II went in after the garlic, arugula and lettuce came out.  The garlic wasn’t as large this year, possibly due to the extended cool spring even though the number of days in the ground was the same as last year.  Last spring seemed a lot warmer.  The tops were dying back and I needed the space so out they went.  The Inchelium was spectacularly unimpressive.  Half of them didn’t make it to spring and the other half were very small. I know they are typically smaller but these seemed reeeally small.  The Lorz Italian had respectable sized heads and all made it through the winter.  I have no experience with either of these varieties so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  The Silverwhite and Turkish Giant, were a decent size but smaller than last year save one or two heads most, if not all made it through.

Garden in late June


Speaking of lettuce, I finally emptied the bed of Renee’s cutting lettuce blend.  Can’t remember the exact name right now but it lasted much long than I thought it would.  Even as the stems were elongating to form seed the lettuce wasn’t bitter. I ended up removing a lovage transplant that was taking up way too much room.  I also beat back the arugula and reclaimed the area for a row of the beans.


The potatoes are taking over the county. I’m really hoping there are actual potatoes under all of that green. I ended up having to run some stakes and jute to corral them, they were headed for the neighboring plot. I ended up having to snip back a couple of stems as the beets were complaining.

Garden Flowers

The ‘Persian Carpet’ zinnias are blooming and I clipped a few for the little multi-holed ceramic vase we picked up from a pottery shop during a recent trip to Orcas Is. The reds, yellows and oranges against the blue of the vase is striking. The dahlia’s I planted in the garden next to the potatoes are going to bloom any day now.

Balcony Garden

The parsley was sending up a flower stalk so it was time to harvest. My haul was pretty respectable given that it was growing in a 6″ clay pot. The oregano was staring to outgrow its clay pot so I cut it back too. It is on my replant list. I cut back a lemon verbena a week or two ago. I had read that lemon verbena can be used to make a lemony pesto. WRONG! While it is physically possible to do so, the result was nothing that I would ever eat voluntarily. Now I just have to decide whether or not I want to take up previous real estate and keep the plant or let it go. I’m leaning toward the latter.

In the spirit of spiffying up the balcony, I attempted to transplant one of the volunteer nasturtiums from the garden into one of the long planters that sit on the railing. It had been filled with pansies but they were looking pretty sad. The transplanting was a baaad idea. I ended up having to take so much off of the top to compensate for the pitiful roots that I was left with a bunch of empty stems. The good news is that it does seem to be sending out new shoots at some of the leaf nodes so all is not lost.


Slug - Arion rufus
I ran across an ‘Arion rufus’ or Red Slug under the nasturtiums. This one isn’t native and is quite destructive in the garden. I found the darker Arion a couple of times in the past but this was the first time I’ve seen one this color. Googling it was at first unclear if this was actually a red form of ‘Arion ater’ but further reading led me to believe it was more likely A. rufus. In either case its time in the garden is past.


  • Beets – Red Baron Dutch (6/20)
  • Chard (ongoing)
  • Garlic (6/21 thru 6/25)
  • Lettuce (6/25 final)
  • Kale (ongoing)
  • Oregano (ongoing)
  • Parsley (6/25 final)
  • Snow Peas (ongoing)
  • Zinnias (6/25)


  • Beets – Cylindrical (6/25)
  • Beans, Bush – Contender, Roma II & Topcrop (6/25)

Another Year Begins

Last year I missed the leeks at the garden center so I decided to seed some leeks rather than try to buy some starts. I used one of those plastic salad containers that you get greens in. They have a lid and are about 6″x8″ and about 4-6″ deep. I’ll kept them in front of the sliding glass door where they will get bright but indirect light for the most part until they sprout.

January has been a dark, cold and wet month. Today was my first trip to the garden this year. No real work today, still recovering from surgery in late Dec., this was an ‘OMG I have to get out of the house lets go to the garden’ trip.

The garlic is up about 4-6 inches and looks good considering. I ended up losing all but a couple of the green onions and half of the shallots which was disappointing. The Egyptian Walkers seem to have made it though.

There are 4 or 5 Russian kale plants from last fall that seem to be doing well. We found clubroot not far from where they are planted so how they will do remains to be seen. A couple of the curly leaved variety are laying over and not looking very well. I’ll probably end up removing them during my first real work trip.

I seeded some greens last fall that didn’t end up making a showing but are up now. I’ll have to look back at what they were.

I ended up pulling the overwintered carrots. Very chewed up with root maggot I suppose. I think carrots are one of those ‘more trouble than they are worth’ here. I suppose I could cover them but it never seems to happen.

The horseradish I planted in the sunken clay pot is poking up. Darn, I had hoped to get it dug before it started growing again. I pulled the pot to take it home to deal with later.

All in all it was a great trip. If nothing else a learning experience. It was nice to get in the fresh air and get my hands dirty if only for a little bit.

Garlic Again

My day started up with a meeting at Bay Hay & Feed after church to collect a head of Inchelium I had acquired through a FB garden group. It was a fairly small head but I think this variety does tend to be on the small side. Inchelium is a soft neck local (to WA state) variety that is said to be mild enough to be eaten raw. We shall see about that. It was one I had been looking for to add to the mix this year.

Garlic occupies much time in the garden. It was only a few months ago I was harvesting and here I am planting again. I may regret all of the space I am giving to this one veggie (or is it an herb?) next year but for now I am feeling good about it. I ended up forgetting the head of Music the fellow gardener shared with me. I’ll end up putting that one in early next month. For now I have two short (4-5′) rows each of Turkish Giant (hard neck, beautifully purple striped huge heads), Inchelium (softneck mild a long keeper), Lorz Italian (an artichoke type of hard neck garlic), Silver White (softneck, another long keeper with huge heads). I also planted 9 of the largest potato onions from the recent harvest.

As for greens, I planted a mixed salad greens packet (Gourmet Blend) from Ed Hume, a packet of Roquette and some Bloomsdale Longstanding spinach.


Garlic Braid - Silver White Garlic The garlic spent about a week in the garden after harvest. When it looked like it was going to rain I brought it home and laid it out on newspaper on the balcony. We have a rather large overhang and it worked well to keep the bulbs dry, allowing them to finish curing. I ended up with about 7 or 8 bulbs of hardnecked Turkish Giant. I didn’t realize it when I planted these but only the hard necked varieites of garlic have the flower tops. They are great cooked and purred in a milk based soup. A soft garliky flavor not to strong but very hearty.

Onion Harvest

I decided to pull the onions. They didn’t seem to be getting any larger and the leaves were starting to die back just a bit. I started out with 6, a pretty good haul. I’ll save the largest of these to plant this Fall.

On the 20th I planted two types of spinach Oriental Giant Japanese Spinach and Palco Hybrid. It is probably too early to plant fall spinach but, not knowing what the weather will do I decided to give it a shot. If we get an early cool fall it will be great. If the heat continues I’ll have a lot of bolted spinach.

Spider vs Bee

Last year and this year a nasturtium has volunteered in my plot. The leaves can get as large as saucers though they seem a bit smaller this year. Perhaps it is early or perhaps they are in need of some fertlizer. When I was taking this photo I didn’t have my glasses on. I saw the bee but didn’t see the spider till I looked at the photo later. Looking at later photos the bee seems to have made her escape unscathed.

Helda Pole Beans

The first harvest of the Helda Pole bean. I am amazed at how tender they are even when they are long. I tried one raw and I am not nearly as fond of it as I am the topcrops. They do cook up nicely though. They are advertized as only requiring 60 days to mature. Fairly quick for pole beans. I haven’t done the match so I don’t know how accurate that is in my garden. I do like the convenience of the pole bean and the little bit of real estate the vines occupy. Harvest is easy, the long beans are easy to see.

Blix Vika+

Today was all about harvest. There were several zucchini, enough beets for a couple of meals, all of the yellow potato (aka multiplier) onions, lettuce and two types of beans (topcrop bush beans and of course the helda pole beans). While I was filling my containers it had slipped my mind that my mode of transportation was my new electric bike. It wasn’t till I was overloaded that it hit me. I was afraid I was going to have to make a second trip to get everything home but I was able, with some creating packing, to get it all home in one load. Leaves flapping in the wind.

Garlic! and Other Garden Goodies

Garlic Harvest I’ve been eyeing a rather large plot of garlic being grown by one of my fellow gardeners at Rock Farm. He seemed to know what he was doing so I was taking my cues from him. I came in this weekend and saw that he had harvested his garlic. I had read to harvest when half of the leaves have started to die back but mine wasn’t to that point yet so I was really unsure if they were ready. I ended up asking him to look at my plot and he felt they would be ready to harvest. I pulled a couple and was very pleased with what I found. Nice big heads of beautiful garlic. Only one head was split open and past its prime. I am so glad I didn’t wait.


Very early in the season I had planted some Nigella and Dill together. BIG mistake. Their leaves are so similar it would be easy to mistake the nigella for the dill. Not sure if it is poisonous but thankfully I didn’t harvest any. I had thought it odd that my dill seemed to die off and then come back. I guess the nigella waited to come up till after the dill was all but gone. Still, I won’t make that mistake again. I love their beautiful flowers and hope to save some seeds from this batch.

Sowing carrots in July

July has been fairly warm so far. I’ve been at the garden watering EVERY day. Trying to get carrots to sprout in this heat is an exercise in futility. They just lie there and laugh. Wanting to keep the soil shaded and cool I decided to try to cover them loosely with some kale branches from the overwintering kale I recently removed to make way for some cucumbers. I can water through the branches but the soil should stay cooler than the surrounding soil and help with germination. At least that is the idea.

First tomato of the season.

I tried growing tomatoes in the garden last year but while I got a lot of green tomatoes, there just didn’t seem to be enough heat or sun. My plot is in a far corner that doesnt’ get late afternoon sun. I also tried a container tomato on the balcony last summer and that seemed to do really well. I’ve opted to do the same this year. I have one Celebrity and one I’ve never tried. A dwarf indeterminate called Iditerod. The Celebrity, as expected, will have the first tomato. Makes my mouth water just looking at the photo.

Lady Beetle

One of the garden protectors hanging out on a zucchini leaf. Hello little lady.

Lessons Learned: NEVER mix plants with similar looking leaves if one is edible and one is not.


Tiny Carrots

Rock farm in June is such a beautiful sight. All of the gardens are going strong and the textures and shades of green are breathtaking. I like to wander between the rows and see what everyone is growing.

Having had zero experience growing carrots, I was in awe at how beautiful they looked in the garden. Their lacy leaves reminding me of parsley, the contrast of their airiness next to the other veggies made for a nice mix of patterns. They seemed a bit crowded so I thinned these and the beets, a good mix for some roasted veggies.

Baby Zucchini A 10×20 spot doesn’t give a lot of extra room for the myriad of squashes and vining goodies like watermelon and cucumber. Discouraged at finding the club root I decided to make the best of it and plant some zucchini that I had started in a mango container from Costco. I started with three plants in two hills and once production starts I’ll probably lose one of them. A person can only eat so much zucchini. I also started what are supposed to be container cucumbers in three hills. Not sure how they will do as they are currently somewhat shaded by the garlic.

Radishes The radishes I planted alongside the pole beans are doing well. These are tender, not a bit hot and a great size for a snack.

Garlic is another crop I haven’t had much experience with. I did get a crop grown in KY and mistakenly had it laying on the lawn the day our neighbor came to mow. The entire area smelled like garlic for a week. This year’s crop looks strong if the tops are any indication. I planted a short row of beans between the two rows of garlic as I had a few extra seed at the time. They are doing well, propped by the garlic. Not sure if their ability to fix nitrogen will have any affect on the garlic but I have high hopes.

The garden is coming along nicely. The peas are going crazy. I am getting more peas out of this half row than I did from last year’s whole row. Renee’s cut and come again lettuce mix is on it’s 2nd or 3rd cutting, the broccoli is going strong as are the bush beans I planted just before vacation. The pole beans got off to a slow start but seem to be picking up steam. Last year’s purple sprouting broccoli has sent up a new shoot. The basil is doing so-so, I think It is too shaded.

My garden, June 25, 2015

Pitching the Tent

When I lived in Kentucky we had the Eastern Tent Caterpillar. In my experience with ETC there it kept pretty much to the apple, wild cherry, maple and other trees in our neighborhood. I don’t ever remember seeing it on smaller fruits. Here in Washington we have the Western Tent Caterpillar or WTC. Like its cousin to the East, this is a larva from a fairly nondescript brownish moth and it seems to have an appetite for the smaller types of fruit. More than one evening saw us picking these beasties off of the apples, raspberries and blueberries, easily getting several dozen within about 10 minutes. Fortunately their season was short and the damage minimal.

Snow Peas

The snow peas are doing well…finally. I planted a row early but had to replant when only a few came up and those that did ended up getting stepped on. I planted half a row again in the same spot and these seem to be doing great. This year I planted half of what I did last year and I do believe the yield will end up being higher.

The beans are doing well but it will be a while before I see a harvest from them. The garlic is coming along nicely. A little unclear on when I’ll need to harvest. Need to research that.
Garden 6-8-2015


Seed haul from Bainbridge Gardens
Seed haul from Bainbridge Gardens

I hadn’t been to the garden since right before Christmas so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was getting the ‘bug’ to get some seeds and plan out this year’s garden so I decided to stop by Bainbridge Gardens to see what they had available. I was also hoping they might have a small Desert King fig tree. Those are supposed to do well here. I did bring some cuttings with me and 3 have rooted but am not sure if those are Brown Turkey or Petite Nigra. Unfortuantely BG only had a couple of beautiful 6 footers. The smaller ones won’t be in for another month or so. I’m hoping to keep mine in a pot so the 6 footer would be overkill.

Perennial onions aka 'potato' onions, garlic in the background.
Perennial onions aka ‘potato’ onions, garlic in the background.

I did end up picking up some seed. I decided to try some flowers this time. I picked up a packet of Persian Violet Nigella and Persian Carpet Butterfly Zinnias. I also picked up some ‘Cut and Come Again’ baby mesclun lettuce, baby pak choi, edible pod peas, bush zucchini along with some Japanese Spinach, green onions, garlic chives (for a pot on the deck) and Litt’l Bites Cherry Windowbox Tomatoes (also for the deck). The trick in all of this will be to figure out how I am going to start the tomatoes.

Purple sprouting type of broccoli?
Purple sprouting type of broccoli?

Last fall, some time in October, I planted some Silverwhite garlic I picked up at the farmer’s market along with some Turkish Giant garlic and yellow multiplier onions (we used to call these ‘potato’ onions) from a Territorial Seed order. As I drove to the garden this morning, I wondered if the garlic and onions were up and was quite pleased with what I found. The garlic are about 3 inches tall and the onions are up about 5 or 6 inches. I didn’t expect them not to make it through but it is still nice to see them starting their journey.

One of the broccoli plants didn't make it through the Winter.
Winter fatality.

Last July or August I picked up some purple sprouting type broccoli and possibly another variety from Bainbridge Gardens, a local garden center. The end of the garden I planted these in became shady too early and I didn’t get any harvest from this planting last year. I decided to leave them in the ground to see if they could make it through the Winter and possibly reward me with something this Spring. It looks like all but one has made it through the coldest part of the year and is looking lanky but healthy. I may cut one or two back and see how they fare. Probably something I should have done last year but what he heck.

Overwintered Russian Kale
Overwintered Russian Kale

At the same time I planted the purple broccoli I put in some kale. The idea was to have it ready for this Spring. I had seen that other gardeners here had done this last year and I wanted to give it a shot. Tho the plants were fairly small, most overwintered fine.

Overwintered beets
Overwintered beets

Early last Spring I planted beets. There are probably half a dozen or so still in the ground. One or two are little piles of mush, the one on the left of this pic looks like a mouse or slug may have had a small meal.

I am amazed at how quickly moss can cover anything standing still long enough. This stone was fairly clean last Fall.


Frozen garlic and some more dried tomatoes

So I’ve been pondering what to do with the garlic I dug up a few days ago. I’ve tried the braid it and hang it routine but for what ever reason (I am guessing temps and humidity) that doesn’t work so well here. After pulling out what I want to replant this fall I was still left with more garlic than we can eat before it goes bad. I hopped on Google and found a page from UC Davis. Since CA is known for growing garlic what better place to go look for info. For anyone interested there is a garlic festival every year where you can get garlic ice cream. I’ve never tried it but heard it isn’t as bad as it sounds.

The paper warned of keeping garlic in oil in the fridge. Being a low acid vege it is prone to all sorts of nasties. There was a blurb on freezing chopped/pureed garlic in oil. Hmmmm. That caught my interest. I am happy to say that I am now the proud owner of 5 wide mouth half pint jars of garlic/oil mix and I still have about half of the garlic I started with. It is supposed to stay scoopable in the freezer due to the oil allowing you to take out only what you need and keep the rest frozen. Will keep you posted.

In addition to working with the garlic I dehydrated another quart of tomatoes. That makes two. One more and I should be good for a year or two.

Garlic Harvest

Several years ago I planted a few bulbs of elephant garlic in the herb bed. I harvested that year and left a few smaller pieces back. Each year I have meant to harvest but the time has always gotten away from me. This year I decided early on that they needed to be thinned out. I cut off the flower stalks that tried to form and left them to their own devices. The tops died back signalling they were ready for harvest. I expected a few small bulbs but was pleasantly surprised as I started to dig. I put back the small corms that develop below the large bulbs. There is one just to the left of the large bulb in the middle of the photo. These will sprout later this summer, die back over the winter and return next spring.

by: kerry