Archive for November, 2009

Better Late Than Never

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Here we are, it’s the last day of November and I just got our garlic in the ground a few days ago.

Regular readers  of this blog already know that fall is the time of year that you plant garlic.  Garlic can be planted in the spring, however you will end up with bulbs half the size of those planted in the fall.

I think there is still some time to get your garlic planted, I wouldn’t wait too much longer though.

If you have a helper in the garden, decide who is going to go out and find some garlic cloves to plant while the other stays behind and prepares the area to be planted.  If you are by yourself,well then, you’ll have to do both.

Check the garden centers for garlic cloves, if they are out, a farmer’s market stand may have some that can be used for planting. The garlic purchased in a grocery store produce department will most likely have been treated with a sprout inhibitor and will not be good for planting. Sprouting is what we want. I used my garlic that I saved from this years crop.

Your garlic spot must be free of all weeds and kept that way during the growing season because garlic does not compete well against weeds. If you are planning on amending your soil with compost or peat, now’s the time to do so.

Break apart the garlic bulbs into individual cloves just as you do in the kitchen, only this time you won’t be running them through the garlic press.

Plant the cloves into the soil about 2 inches deep and about 6 inches apart. Place the root end down. You can just push them down into the soil with your finger or dig a furrow like I did here.

Planting garlic into a 2'' deep furrow

Planting garlic into a 2'' deep furrow

Cover them up with soil and let them  go until the soil freezes.  During this period, the cloves will grow roots.  Hopefully we will have a mild December which will allow our late planted garlic some time to develop those roots. No fertilizer is needed for now, we’ll apply that in the spring.

Garlic cloves ready to be covered

Garlic cloves ready to be covered

Once the ground freezes, cover the bed with straw, compost or other type of mulch.  It’s much better for the garlic if the soil is kept at a consistently cold temperature (which the mulch will provide) than to be freezing and thawing over and over through the winter.

In the spring we will remove our mulch and add fertilizer, garlic is a crop that needs a lot of plant food.

We’ll revisit this project again at mulching time and fertilizing time.

Bob

Fall Raspberry Care

Friday, November 20th, 2009

So far it has been a good November to be working outside.  This has given us a lot of time to catch up on fall gardening chores.

One of those fall chores is cutting back your “Fall Raspberries”.  By fall raspberries I mean varieties that have been specially selected to bear fruit from September until the first hard frost.

Years ago, raspberries were only available in the summer.  We still see summer raspberries offered for sale, but the labor involved has made them quite a bit more expensive to grow. They had to be pruned at just the right time and  were often trained to a wire system, much like grapes. The canes produced fruit only on the second year’s growth, then they died shortly afterward. So you had to get into the patch and cut out the old canes one at a time while leaving the new canes to grow for next year’s crop.

Which brings us to the topic of today’s discussion: cutting back your fall bearing raspberries.  All you need to do is simply, cut off the canes, pick them up and dispose of them. That’s all there is to it. No critical timing, no trying onto wires…see how much easier they are than the older summer raspberries. This method can, however reduce your total crop yield by 25% or more.

If you have just a small patch, you can use your hand pruners to do the job like I’m preparing to do here:

Bob in the Raspberry Patch

If your patch is too big to do by hand, a weed-whacker with a metal brush-cutting blade works great.

A patch of fall raspberries, if not cut back in the fall will revert to an ever-bearing habit of growth. That is to say, they will begin bearing fruit in the summer and continue again in the  fall.  Some gardeners prefer to pick raspberries earlier in the season rather than waiting to pick their crop in the fall.

Cutting Raspberry Canes

Cut off the canes near ground level.

If you have a place to do it, burn the cut-offs, they can harbor disease which may infect next season’s growth.

One last thing, if you can’t get to them right now, they can be cut down any time during their dormant season…all the way up until March.

Bob