Gardening Stinks!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It really does! Any gardener will tell you the title statement is indeed true. You want proof? Try smelling me after I've spent the better part of a day in the backyard.

On second thought -- don't do this at home kids.

One of the biggest challenges with a gardening blog like this one is -- how do you keep it fresh? What's new? What haven't I written about before in the past two years? Tomatoes? Scads of posts about heirloom tomatoes. Planter boxes? Been there -- done that.

But rather than blog about a specific harvest -- and a smelly one at that -- why not blog about the experience of the harvest? Every harvest is different from the last. This year -- the fabulous wife that is Venus and I grew GARLIC.

So what's the big deal then? We grew garlic last year. In fact -- we had a GREAT garlic harvest last year -- as was detailed in this very blog here.

So then? What's new? The smell and stink of garlic? If you've ever harvested 40-50 cloves of garlic -- you've come close to a stink level of 9.5. There's nothing quite like getting a whiff of some very potent stuff that's hanging and drying in the GarageMahal (it serves double-duty as a bar, TV sports hangout, and garlic dryer).

If you like the stink of garlic -- well then -- Welcome to Heaven. If you don't? The neighbors begin to chatter about the dead things you must be storing behind closed garage doors in there.

So what's new then? In a word? WORMS! The YUCK Level just blew up a few points. Venus and I were distressed -- to say the least -- after pulling up a few heads that had colonies of worms moving in and out.

And here I believed that earthworms in the soil was a GOOD thing. Not so fast there, Sherlock. They have drawbacks -- especially when your staring at one that has made a home in some of that hot Porcelain Hardneck Metechi Garlic that you've been dreaming about all winter.

Venus and I picked up the Metechi Garlic and another variety called California Early White from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply last fall after growing another variety called Inchelium Red garlic last year. Nothing against Inchelium Red. It was very good. But we wanted to try something new and different -- which is why we opted for the Metechi variety.

Believed to be native to the Republic of Georgia -- Metechi garlic has been described as one of the hottest and most pungent of garlics that you can obtain for the backyard garden. We haven't tried it yet -- because it's still drying -- but there's no doubt about that "pungent" part. Did I tell you yet that garlic reeks?

As for the California Early White? Nothing against that whatsoever. It grows well here (hence the name) and you get a lot of "bang for the buck." What does that mean? Three bulbs of Metechi seed garlic -- for example -- will set you back a good $20. But you can purchase anywhere from six to seven seed bulbs of California Early White for a cost of $5.

Did I mention we're kind of on the cheap side? Did you get that part about gin in a plastic bottle?

As for the harvest? We're halfway there. We have a good 25-30 lbs. of Metechi and California Early White drying away in the garage -- with a similar amount still sitting in the ground -- located in an adjacent planter bed.

What in the world are we going to do with all that garlic? Well -- there is a plus side in this in that it really does irritate the neighbors to no end. The stench also keeps their dog from doing "his business" on my small stretch of front lawn -- so if there's a plus to this -- there it is.

Venus and I will use much of the harvest garlic for home-canned pickles and Roasted Garlic and Heirloom Tomato Salsa -- which also serves a dual purpose as a degreaser (not really). Hot garlic should hopefully equal hot salsa. That is our hope.

As for the rest of the harvest? That will take place this weekend. At which point -- I can invite my curious neighbors to "Smell Me."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Despite his statements to the contrary -- Bill and Venus are blessed with the best neighbors that any North Natomas homeowner could ever ask for. It's the neighbors who are actually very unlucky.


Greg Damitz said...

Good looking garlic. I just harvested mine. Some varieties produced nice big bulbs and others hardly produced even though they died off with the others. I still have some late plants in some planters out front. Hopefully they get big.

katy said...

Hiya Bill and Venus. Newbie gardener here. Do you mean that the bed was full of worms? Or that the actual bulbs were ruined by having worms within them? Thanks, Katy Lawson, Who Plays In The Dirt

Bill Bird said...


There were some fat earthworms in the soil -- PLUS some worms that had "wormholed" their way into some of the garlic heads themselves. I'm not really sure if they were the same, fat, earthworms that I saw in the soil or a different kind of invasive worm that's bad for crops. I normally check the UC Davis crop guides for pests and diseases that strike various crops -- but didn't see anything detailing worm problems in garlic. However -- I did have them. Fortunately? I think we lost mebbee four-five heads? I suppose we can live with that.

Garry said...

so i should be pulling out my garlic now? its starting to flower at the top. whats the indicator that i should pull them from the ground? also, i have some red onions that should be ready for the bee drop off 4th of july weekend. you want any?


garage doors said...

For me I love to garden. It really is a lot of fun to get into the dirt and just get one with nature. I don't mind getting dirt all on my hands and sometimes inbetween my nails. oh so much fun!