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Kitchen Garden

Gardening in 2022

Shallot and onion starts – 2022.

The gardening season kicked off in Big Grove Township with onion and shallot planting on Thursday. I planted two varieties of shallots and five of onions. After consultation with farmer friends, I decided to start earlier this year to see if my starts had a better result for planting in the spring. The trays will rest on a heating pad until they germinate. I ordered onions starts from the seed company again as an insurance policy.

Friday was the coldest day of winter thus far. It reached ten degrees below zero and ambient temperature is expected to remain below freezing until Monday when sub-zero temps return. If the forecast holds, I plan to be pruning trees Monday as the sap will have stopped flowing by then. Like with anything relying on weather, I’ll wait to see what happens.

Friday was trash pickup day. There was no trash in the trash cart and the recycling cart was less than a third filled. Because of the cold I left them in the garage this week. We are getting good at reducing our household waste.

We have provisions enough to last a couple weeks without leaving the house. This week, the county public health department suspended COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing. They issued a press release, which said, in part,

During the past week, there has been a 250% increase in cases from the previous week. The total amount of cases in the past week reached an all-time high of almost 1,400 positive individuals. Due to this dramatic increase, Johnson County Public Health no longer has the ability to contact everyone who tests positive to conduct case investigations and contact tracing. JCPH will continue to monitor COVID-19 cases in high-risk groups and coordinate with organizations who experience a rise in cases, evaluate capacity, and keep the public informed of changes in our COVID-19 response.

Email from Johnson County Public Health dated Jan. 5, 2022.

This is what it looks like when a pandemic inundates the public health system. They can’t do their normal work because there are too many cases of COVID-19.

It is probably best, with the cold, the raging pandemic, and a full pantry and refrigerator, we stay home and bunker in. There is no lack of things to do. We want to live until spring to plant these onions and shallots in the ground. The 2022 gardening season has begun.

Categories
Kitchen Garden

Garlic Planting – 2021

Tilled plot for garlic, Oct. 3, 2021.

A fine mist of rain began just as I finished tilling the garlic patch. It felt good as I cleaned the electric rototiller tines. I’m not sure I found all the Bur Oak acorns squirrels buried in the plot. We’ll see this spring.

Garlic is in the ground the longest time of anything I plant. Three months the first year and the six or seven more next. It doesn’t take a lot of effort yet there is a specific skill set to getting good results. I learned from one of Iowa’s experts.

I set aside the best garlic heads from the last crop for seed. Last year I planted about 75 cloves and this year about 100. As I broke open the heads and separated the cloves, some had a bad spot. Those were set aside to be trimmed and used in cooking. A gardener wants seed garlic to be free of defects if that’s possible.

A lot of the seconds of garlic will go into a batch of Guajillo chili sauce using fresh chili pods. I also have dried Guajillo chili pods that need to be used up and I’ll use that to make taco filling with kale. The garlic will all get used.

There is a lot going on in the kitchen garden in October. Every minute presents an opportunity to get something done.