Saturday, April 22, 2017
Garlic, Strawberries and Onions
For the first time ever, every garlic clove planted resulted in above ground growth. Three were slow to emerge but they are all up and growing now. Rot issues still exist in our harvest but the brown spots are smaller than in years past and fewer in number. It is hard to believe but these plants will be harvested in less than ninety days from now. We are opening a new planting bed here this year. Potatoes will be planted there this year with garlic to follow in the fall. We believe that new ground is regularly needed to avoid bulb rot issues. That is another reason while the garden continues to expand while we cannot keep up with what is already here.
Our mail person drove up the hill to deliver a package today. Our onion plants had arrived. This bed grew potatoes last year and was covered with plastic bags full of fallen leaves over the winter. After setting the bags aside, a quick stir with the potato hook had this ground ready to plant. Welded wire fence establishes a grid that allows for quick placement of accurately spaced planting holes. We used the same spacing that was used to plant the garlic. Eight inches between the rows and six inches between plants in the row allows ample room for growth with just enough room for a weeding hand.
This photo is misleading. Becky planted most of the onions while I set the few that were beyond her reach. The bed in line with the onion bed contains thirty newly placed strawberry plants. We ordered new strawberry plants last year from a new supplier. We have done business with Miller's Nursery for decades but the death of one of the brothers caused the surviving brother to close their business. The new Sparkle plants got off to a rocky start. In one spot only five plants of the twelve planted grew. We were not expecting much from the living but they produced a huge quantity of new plants from runners. The blossoms will be removed from these plants this year to encourage plant growth and the production of more plants from runners. We intend to train the runners so that two rows of plants similar to what is found at Hellers, where we pick jam berries, result. Now to find some mulch straw.
I had harvested a pile of horse apples dropped by our neighbor's horses, When the pile was moved to make way for the onions, this salamander was living in the warmth under the pile. We do not know where it will spent this night but at least it escaped an inadvertent shovel injury. As near as I can tell it is a Northern red backed salamander. He breathes through his skin, needs to stay wet and never actually goes in the water. We have never seen one like this before!