As weather forecasts came across the wire last week, one thing was on many gardeners’ minds: “It’s garlic planting time!” Usually we have a larger window of time to get it in the ground in the fall. I have read that it is good to plant it in the fall when there is enough warmth to get the roots started, but not too soon that the shoots emerge—about 3 weeks before the ground freezes. For us, that could be anywhere from late September to mid-November. But this year, with feet of snow expected from Hurricane Sandy, some scrambled to get it in the ground over the weekend. Whether it’s vampires you want to keep away, or other ghouls like heart disease, diabetes, or cancer… garlic is good to have around.
Fortunately for High Rocks, we had a lot of help for our Grow Appalachia gardens over the last two weeks from volunteer crews from Haverford and Oberlin Colleges on fall break. Thanks to them, dozens of garlic cloves are nestled in manure-rich soil beneath a thick snowy blanket today. These work crews also cleaned up and put our raised beds to sleep for a fresh start next spring. Marlyn, our AmeriCorps member, planted greens in the ground of our hoop house and coordinated the efforts of the work crews. It’s so nice to have her on the team!
In addition to garlic, we have been delivering bales of hay and row covers to our participants. Some have planted carrots, mache, and spinach under the cover. We don’t expect the seeds to do much this fall except to sit there and think hard about exploding into growth early next spring.
For the second time in several months, Pocahontas County has been declared a disaster area due to heavy snowfall and high winds. Most of the county is without power, but our lines were luckily spared this time. Fortunately, I know that even our participants without power have jars of preserves lining their pantry and fall crops ready to eat just under the snow.