Friday, July 10, 2009

A Little Gardening and Lily and Norman Update

This morning I got in some gardening before the rain arrived. It doesn't look much like it's going to be a riding day, but you never know.

First, I went over to my vegetable plot at the community garden to harvest my garlic. This is my first experience growing garlic, and it's dead easy. I planted the cloves around November 1, watered the plants this spring and summer when needed, and today I dug up the fully-grown heads of garlic. We use a lot of garlic in our house, so it'll come in handy:

This garlic is at the green stage - not fully cured for storage and with the "paper" separating the cloves not fully developed. I'll let it cure for about 2 weeks or so in a dry cool location - it's on my front porch now but I may hang it in the garage - and then the heads will be good for several months. I'll probably use some now as well - it's more juicy and pungent that cured garlic.

Then I worked a little bit in my prairie. I call it "my" prairie, as it's several acres just behind our house - it's on commonly owned property, and I'm one of the volunteers who helps maintain the extensive natural areas we have. The prairie areas get regularly burned - trained volunteers help with that - and I overseed with a prairie seed mix every year or so. I get my seed from Prairie Nursery in Wisconsin. Volunteers work to remove invasive plants so the prairie plants can grow and show their beauty to best advantage.

I use a wonderful tool called a Raspberry Cane Cutter:

When the handle is fully extended, it's about 4 feet long. Although it was developed for the purpose of cutting raspberry canes, it works very well for cutting invasive plants such as White Sweet Clover and Canada Thistle off right at the ground - and the really great thing is you can do it without bending over - you just hold the stem of the plant you want to cut, and reach the tool down to the ground and pull - voila! one dead clover or thistle plant. It makes the work go much faster - otherwise you have to use some sort of loppers, and that involves much bending and stooping, of which my back does not approve. Since the White Sweet Clover is a biannual, I leave the first-year plants that aren't flowering alone - they're a legume so they add nitrogen to the soil and I'll get them next year when they flower - and cut the second-year plants when they're fully in flower. Canada Thistle is a perennial, but cutting it off at the ground when it's in full flower will weaken the plant and after a couple of years may kill it.

And now a bit of horse - Lily and Norman continue to do well in their new home - thanks to Melissa for the pictures! Here's Lily getting a pedicure:

And here's Norman doing what Norman does best - eating!


  1. mmmm fresh garlic. So jealous. I can not wait until I have my own yard so I can have a garden. Enjoy!

  2. Hey, that's exactly what I've been doing today, harvesting my garlic!

  3. Yummy garlic and Norman and Lily look positively settled and happy!

  4. Have we yet seen a picture of Norman not eating? *lol* He and Lily look quite content.

    I like that cane cutter. I will have to look around on the Internet for one. Might come in useful for some of my weed attacks. The loppers are a pain, as you suggest.

  5. Jean - the link above will take you to Lee Valley Tools, where I got mine.

  6. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



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