The fall weather this year has not be cooperating - I can't recall an end to the season quite as cold as this one with zero warm ups. In fact, this morning, we woke up to a bunch of white stuff on the ground - this is the earliest snowfall we've had in a very long time.
It's late in the season - some may say the season is already over - but several tasks were still on the to do list. The most pressing of these was getting the garlic in the ground. I was waiting and waiting and waiting for that elusive "nice" day to get this task done - but I finally realized that it was not going to arrive.
On Sunday, it was just above freezing BUT it wasn't windy and the sun was out. From the looks of the long-range forecast, this was as good as it was going to get so I decided to get out there and plant the garlic. I had to do it in stages...prep the bed, come inside for a warming break, plant a couple of rows, come back in - you get the picture.
Had to get out the heavy duty, insulated gardening gloves
Unfortunately, my defrosting attempt was only partially successful, so I had to make due with clods of manure throughout the bed instead of a nice, even layer.
Hard-as-a-rock clump of frozen manure
8 varieties of garlic, sorted and ready to plant
You may recall that I've had an ongoing battle with leek moths for the past few years. Normally the garlic is only minimally affected, with the most damage being inflicted on the onions (whose beds are now covered with netting). Perhaps it's the fact that their access to the tastier onions has been limited or maybe the weather conditions were simply more favourable for them, but I had an unprecedented amount of leek moth damage in the garlic bed this year.
Leek moth damage and exposing the larva that was hiding inside a garlic leaf
The size of the bulbs ranged from barely acceptable to downright pitiful. Pitarelli suffered the most with bulbs that averaged only 1" across. It's a shame too, as this is one of the longest storing varieties that I grow.
|Pitarelli suffered the most from leek moth damage;|
these "bulbs" are barely bigger than the size of a large clove
Garlic spaced out and ready to plant
Thankfully, unlike crop issues that result from uncontrollable factors such as the weather, leek moths can be controlled. Since I've only had the odd bit of leek moth damage in the garlic bed in the past, I've never felt the need to net it - that will be changing next year. Netting is a pain all the way around, especially when it comes to weeding, but you know how it is in the garden - sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do to keep those pesky pests off your crops.