Descaping the Garlic

Written By: Charles - Jun• 30•08

76 bar steady 30.05  0mph NW  dew-point 46  Summer, hot

Waning Crescent of the Flower Moon

The heirloom tomatoes we have growing, started from seed inside, required more support.  They have sent out thick branches from the central stalk, already within a tomato cage.  As fruit develops on them, they will sag and break or their fruit will dangle on the soil, going rotten before we can pick them.  At the same time, a few daisies had decided on a straggly path toward the grass, so I put support around them, too.

The garlic. Sigh.  I harvested four garlic plants yesterday.  They had not grown into large, juicy bulbs as I had imagined, but instead looked like large green onions, very large.  I read the culture instructions again.  I had forgotten to cut back the scapes, a curly stalk that shoots up from the center of the main stalk.  It carries the flower.  Allowing it to get much more than 10″ long discourages bulb production.  Makes sense.  If I’m gonna propogate by seed, why bother storing energy below the soil.

In a belated attempt to make up for lost ground I descaped all the garlic and will let the remaining plants sit in the soil a while longer, though I suspect my fantasy of large garlic bulbs grown in my own garden will have to wait until next summer.   All of gardening is a constant experiment, learning this from the plant, then that from the soil, again the message of the sun, then the gentle language of rain.  Like intimate relationships gardening requires close listening and a willingness to admit when you have erred.

My first visit to the MIA since May comes today when I go in for a refresher on the Africa galleries.  We have this one last check-out tour to give.  After it, we will be able to give tours of Africa only if requested.  I’m looking forward to getting back to the museum after a good time away.  No tours for me until September and I’m glad, still I miss the constant interaction with the art and the folks around the museum.

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