I have pretty much put the front yard garden to bed for the winter. I am waiting for the last of the leaves to fall and then I will finish by covering and enriching my last few beds with them. I still have some sage and parsley I can harvest and dry. I have a lot of dried herbs stored already, but I hate to see the remainder wasted by the severe cold that is coming. We have been having rainy mild weather lately, but I’m not counting on it lasting much longer.
I planted a zinc tub each of garlic and shallots. I bought a small net bag of shallots from a Hmong farmer at a flea market up north in Shawano, Wisconsin, in October. The garlic I bought later in the month from a Mennonite bulk food store near Fall Creek, Wisconsin, that carries produce from local people’s gardens.
Planting the shallots and garlic was a lot easier than flower bulbs. You don’t have to bury them very deep. Just one time their size in depth. I’ll throw some leaves on them and they should come up fine in the spring. Shallots are really cold resistant. I pulled some I’d grown in a zinc tub last year and left them on top of the soil to dry and promptly forgot them. They were on top of the ground during 20F weather and snow before I finally thought “what the heck” and replanted them in the same spot. They came up in the spring and grew to harvest just fine! We ate all of those so I had to look around for some more to plant this fall.
Another good source for cheap untreated seeds and roots that I have used in years past is my local health food coop or store. None of the seeds or vegetables they sell are treated with sprouting inhibitors or irradiated to increase shelf life. I have bought dry beans to grow in the garden, as well as garlic, shallots, and potatoes. You can buy only as much or as little as you need, and there is no shipping expense!
I also have some hard neck garlic in the front boarder. I missed digging a few heads, and they began to sprout. I dug them up, broke the bulb apart, and replanted the cloves. The hard neck garlic comes back year after year with little help from me except to thin it. (My kind of vegetable!) It has a lot in common with the Egyptian onions that replant themselves from the heads of sets they produce each year after flowering. (See my blog, “In Season: Egyptian Onions,” May 3, 2011.)
Well, I’m going to stop here and go out and “make fence” with my good husband. Begonia