Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Winter squash harvest time

Acorn squash in window, toughening skin for winter storage

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Winter squash, this includes pumpkins, are ready to harvest after the vine completely dies.  Be sure to harvest before it gets too cold.  A frost or two is the max cold to leave them out in.

You should be able to poke the squash with your fingernail and it should just dent it, not puncture the skin.  Leave 2-4” of stem attached when you harvest.  Place in a warm, sunny place to allow the skin to toughen.  Then, store in a cool, dark location until ready to eat.

Depending on the variety of winter squash, it can store well for months.   Butternut and spaghetti squash are long lasting common winter squash.   I ate our last butternut in June this year! 

Friday, October 12, 2012

It is garlic planting time!

Friday, October 12, 2012

October is the month to plant garlic in our Zone 6 garden.  You plant in the fall to give the cloves time to develop a strong root system over the fall and winter.  You will get significantly bigger bulbs next summer.

Garlic loves rich, loose soil.  Raised beds with lots of compost is their dream home.  If growing a garden bed, loosen the soil and mix in generous amounts of compost and top with mulch.

You can plant in the spring and you will get garlic, but just smaller.  Garlic scapes, on hard neck garlic, are tasty adds to spring salads.  The scapes themselves are worth planting garlic for!

This year I am planting Elephant garlic (saved from this summer’s crop) and Turkish Giant.  I go for the big cloves as they are quicker to prepare.  For whatever type you plant, always choose the biggest and best cloves to plant!  The best gives the best.
A trick to preparing garlic.  Take your knife and using the flat side, squish the garlic clove.  This breaks the “skin” making it easy to remove.
Use the flat side of your knife to smash the garlic clove, breaking open the skin

If you had garlic in the garden this summer, don’t be surprised to see volunteers poking their heads out come spring.  A nice present.