When I planted my garlic back in October, everything I read said it should be ready to harvest in December or January. I was doubtful. I’ve always lived in places where the garden was covered in at least two feet of snow in December; the idea of harvesting in winter is as fantastic to me as the thought of meeting a unicorn in a forest. However, nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say, so I planted on faith and more or less forgot about them.
Yesterday I went out with both kids and the puppy to do some playing and weeding, and was delighted to notice that the tops of the garlic are dying off. This means, or so I’ve read, that the bulbs are mature. Now I’m supposed to stop watering them so they can dry out a bit before digging them up.
Wait… Stop watering? I live in Oregon. Winter is when we get rain. Plenty of rain. Rain every week. How do I stop watering? I’m actually asking for an answer, if anyone reading this has one. Currently, my tentative plan is to construct a little clear-plastic tent over them, so they can get sun but not water. Is that crazy? Do other people do that? Or do most people just dig them up when the tops finish dying off, and not worry about drying the ground?
In other gardening news: The garden is continuing to slowly wake up. Today I found that the fennel I planted last spring, which died off in the fall, has sent up a fluffy green plume. The mint, which grows in a vigorous, untidy bed near the garden shed, has started putting up delicate baby shoots. And the azalea behind the house has put out new leaves and, possibly, tiny flower buds. I also found some adorably chubby little rosette-shaped sprouts of a plant I never managed to identify last summer, but which put out large, flat-topped, pink flower heads. The flower heads were shaped like Queen Anne’s Lace, but the rest of the plant was completely different.
The kids were thrilled to have more time than usual outside. Niko went straight to his new tire swing, which kept him happy while I collected garden tools, and then he alternately ran back and forth across the yard with Cody and helped me pull weeds. Meanwhile, Sofia roamed the yard with not a single qualm at being so far from me — I kept having to go bring her back as she wandered away. I had put a baby leash on her, but she was too unsteady on her feet to use it to guide her as we walked, and it was far too short to use as a tether. So she just wandered while I kept an eye on her between weed pulls. Uproot — see Sofie peering into the wheelbarrow. Toss a weed into the wheelbarrow — she’s exploring the thyme. Next weed — Sofie’s discovered the blue gazing ball pedestal. She was happy as a clam, playing by herself.
Have I mentioned how much I love living and gardening here?