With ambient temperatures remaining warm there is plenty of time to get in a garlic crop. According to my long-time mentor, if a gardener misses autumn planting, it can be planted in the spring. Since I began planting my own garlic each October, I’ve had excellent crops. I watch the weather closely for a planting window beginning in mid-September.
I am taking my time this year, working three or four hours daily to strike the tomato patch, clear the ground cover, and dig up the soil. I have six shifts on six days thus far. Partly the extra time is because I’m aging. Mostly it’s because I enjoy gardening in the brilliant fall weather and don’t want it to end. It will be the last garden planting before winter.
I haven’t studied the history of garlic yet it is an amazing vegetable. The genetics of what I use came from a farm that developed it over more than 20 years. I watch for fungus and cull the best cloves for planting just as she did. 100 garlic plants will get me through the year and the seeds are ready to go into the ground.
Last night I made Guajillo chili sauce using the rest of the gleaned Guajillo chilies and smaller cloves of garlic culled from the seed selection process. I cut the chilies in three pieces, added a dozen cloves of garlic, a few tomatoes gleaned from the garden as I was clearing the tomato patch, salt, and enough tomato juice to cover the bottom of the pan. The mixture cooked down and I added home made apple cider vinegar to cover. Once the chilies were soft, I set them aside to cool on the counter while I made dinner. I blended them in my 40-year old Osterizer and used a funnel to remove the tough skin and seed. It made three pints, which, along with all the other chili sauce in the refrigerator, will last until next year.
Once garlic is planted and mulched, the rest of garden work is getting ready for winter. After that, it’s back to writing my autobiography.
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