Veggie Tales – garlic woes and salad joy

This past Saturday was a beautifully hot and sunny day. Like millions of gardeners before me, I celebrated the first hot day of the year by digging in the earth.

My first task was to finish the second Square Foot Garden box. In a previous Veggie Tales post I showed how the boxes were built. The first was filled with Mel’s Mix but the second was only half full. So this past weekend we bought more compost (Sea Soil, steer manure, and mushroom manure) and vermiculite to add to the peat moss I had left over from the first box. Here is Daughter enjoying her self-appointed task of breaking up the peat moss.

After filling up box #2 with Mel’s Mix and making the grid with string and nails, it was time to plant! I was particularly excited because I’d bought rainbow chard and salad plants from the Farmer’s Market that morning. Being neither seeds nor bulbs the fruits of my labour were immediately apparent, which made the planting experience seem more satisfying.

Those are four kinds of lettuce. Here are two plots with lettuce on top and rainbow chard on the bottom:

With these leafy little beauties freshly planted, and my onions coming up in mad bunches…

…it’s starting to feel like we’ve got FOOD growing in our yard! By the way, that hyacinth in the background was there as a tiny sprout when I was preparing the garden area and I couldn’t bear to dig it up.

So while things have definitely moved along since our last Veggie Tales report, when I had just a few sprouts that were hard to see against the multi-textured background of the soil mix, we did have some “learning experiences” this weekend, too.

While the radishes and onions were showing signs of life a while back, I still saw no evidence of the sweet peas and snapdragons, nor any garlic. Now, the flowers were a bit of an afterthought and I wasn’t so concerned about them, but I figured if the onions were doing so well the garlic should at least be making an apearance. Finally, I could stand it no longer – I dug my fingers carefully into the soil and pulled out a very moldy and rotten lump of garlic. The other three looked the same.

I decided that I had planted them much too deep, and I also became quickly convinced that choosing to plant the whole bulb was a mistake. I should have broken off the cloves and planted them individually. Hey, the bulbs didn’t come with any instructions so I guess it’s just one of those things that people think everybody knows. Well colour my thumb brown and call me ignorant – I have eaten a ton of garlic in my life but I’ve just never tried to grow any before, okay? Luckily, some of the cloves from one bulb had sprouted so I broke them off, cleaned them up as best as I could, and planted them with the sprouts sticking up out of the soil.

We’ll see if they survive.

I also have not seen any sign of the sweet peas we planted, and I’m thinking we may have put them in too deep. I was pretty sure the snapdragons had met the same fate but then this weekend I finally saw signs of life in that plot: they are the tiniest little leaves I have ever seen and I could not get a good shot of them, but they are definitely alive and growing.

Finally, I planted some butter lettuce and rainbow carrots, both as seeds. As a brand new gardener I am just amazed at how tiny the (carrot) seeds are:

It blows my mind that in a few weeks they’ll be carrots! Ain’t Nature grand?


7 responses to this post.

  1. This is what I learned the first time I planted garlic…it needs to be planted in the fall for spring harvesting.
    I figured my garlic just died and promptly moved on, but the next spring, garlic came up! Yours might not last, and if it doesn’t, try planting in the fall for next year (although, you may be in your new home by then!!)


  2. Interesting about the garlic…

    We planted tomatoes in the house (in cups) from seeds. I am going to move them to planters and grow them outside in a few weeks. Since these are grape tomatoes, I think that will be okay (given the weights), But we’ll see what happens.


  3. […] what you eat, and so is a carrot. Posted by ruralaspirations under know your food   In my last post I showed you a photo of carrot seeds in the palm of my hand. After I’d poured them out of […]


  4. […] do I do? Posted by ruralaspirations under being green, gardening, know your food   In my last installment of Veggie Tales I described some of the learning I was being forced to take in with regards to my garlic, for […]


  5. […] the one I’d just harvested – the idea with SFG is to rotate crops – instead I planted them in the old garlic plot (which I saw had not been growing at all after my attempts at salvaging […]


  6. […] gardening stuff is harder than I thought. It doesn’t help that I’m such a newbie I didn’t even know how to plant garlic. But as I go along I’m finding that there is a lot involved here that many more experienced […]


  7. […] just a couple of weeks and looking good. On the other hand, the small stuff is in the same row as the garlic that rotted. I did root through the soil before planting the radishes and I couldn’t see any signs of rot […]


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