As I drove to work this morning, the tinges of orange and yellow blotted the mountain side, leaves are starting to fall and summer is on its way out. As we finish out the last weeks of summer, some folks are still canning tomatoes and some folks are prepping beds for fall crops. Those of us with high tunnels have planted roots, brassicas, and fall greens. This past Saturday we hosted a workshop on Season Extension. Participants discussed crop varieties they can grow and received supplies to extend their garden season–along with garlic seed. We used this nifty worksheet from Johnny’s Seeds which helps you determine your planting dates for Winter Harvest crops. You simply enter in the last 10-hour day into the chart, choose the crop you want to grow, and then schedule your plantings.
Over the weekend our participants received garlic seed from this year’s High Rocks garden harvest. The garlic seed came to High Rocks from our Coordinator, Karline Jensen. She has been growing this particular hard-necked variety in Pocahontas County since 1999. I am a BIG fan of garlic. I literally put it in everything. In fact, garlic was one of the first crops I planted. I couldn’t believe how easy it was, put the cloves in the ground by the end of October, mulch, wait until July of the following year. Easy Peasy. A couple years ago, my love for garlic grew even more when I learned you could use the garlic scapes, the flower bud of garlic, in the kitchen– sautéing, pickling, and fermenting. This has been quo a delicious adventure. Hard-necked varieties of garlic tend to grow better in areas with severe winters, like here in Pocahontas County, because they require a longer vernalization period. I just learned this, so I thought I would share, according to Merriam Webster–vernalization the act or process of hastening the flowering and fruiting of plants by treating seeds, bulbs, or seedlings so as to induce a shortening of the vegetative period. They also tend to form bigger cloves that are easier to peel and have more of a richer “garlicky” flavor. Also, if you’re interested in experimenting with garlic scapes, hard-necked is the way to go, soft-necked varieties don’t really grow the same stem or flower.
**I’ve also included some pictures from David Cooke’s visit to High Rocks and our participant’s gardens.