I made a grave gardening mistake this past fall. I didn't order - and therefore didn't plant - any garlic. Until now.
Hoping it wasn't too late, the search was on to find some garlic that was still available. Most growers had already sold out to wiser gardeners than me. After an internet search and several inquiries, I hit upon a place called Alpha Garlic Farm in upstate New York, operated by an incredibly nice couple named Erkson.
I spoke to Mr. Erkson and expressed concern that it was too late in the season to plant. He disagreed and said he was still planting, and often plants into December. I figured if someone in upstate NY can plant that late, so could I. I went ahead and ordered 100 cloves.
And here's where the "incredibly nice" part comes in. The Erksons don't take credit cards, so I would need to send a check. But - can you believe this? - he told me he would ship out the garlic right away and that I could follow with a check. In other words, he trusted that I, a perfect stranger, would be honest enough to pay for the garlic.
This conversation happened on a Thursday, and I had the garlic by Saturday. You can bet I mailed the check on Monday. If anyone needs to order garlic, I can highly recommend these folks.
But I still needed to plant it. And as all my readers know, we've been having lots of snow and lots of cold!
Well, all I could do was try. I decided to plant the garlic in the strawberry boat, since the deer and the weather got my strawberries last year. The boat has some beautiful fertile soil, so it would give the poor chilly garlic the best chance to grow.
First thing to do, of course, was shovel it off.
Then, using a pitchfork, I lanced into the soil and learned to my dismay that the dirt was completely frozen. Or so I thought! It turns out it was just the dirt closest to the edge that was frozen. Surprisingly, everything else was loose and crumbly and not frozen at all. Phew!
Despite the temperature (25F) it was warm work. First I discarded my coat. Then my scarf. Then my sweatshirt. It must have been a funny sight to see someone working in a garden in short sleeves with a foot of snow on the ground.
I finally got all the dirt turned over, or at least all I could.
Time to get the garlic.
Not a great photo, but I'm pushing dirt aside with a trowel and planting the garlic with a gloved hand.
Once all hundred cloves were planted, it was time to mulch. Fortunately there's a lot of old rotten hay near the feed boxes, left over from those four semi-rotten bales we stacked there. We've already picked through the bad hay to feed the beasties the good hay, so all the rotten stuff is still on the ground, buried in snow.
I piled the hay on one of the kid's black plastic toboggan, invisible under the pile.
With all this snow, a toboggan is about the only way to move something from there to here.
That first toboggan-ful of hay covered about two-thirds of the boat to a depth of ten or twelve inches.
A second toboggan-ful finished it off.
I was racing the sun. I needed to get this project done before dark. We're expecting two to five inches of snow tomorrow, and the snow on top the mulch should tuck the garlic in nicely for the winter (I hope).
Loading up the tools. I'm done for the day.
Will the garlic grow? I have no idea. I'm encouraged by how loose and friable the soil was, underneath the snow. And garlic is pretty hardy. Time will tell.