End of season closing notes from Monica

1.      We had an excellent closing day on Oct 20, with lots of energetic volunteers. Thanks to all who helped out. We got the garden waste onto the Midvale Blvd curb [and now will be hoping the city gets it picked up soon] and, with help from Sean Gere of Gere Tree Service, hauled the brushy waste away also. The shed got cleaned, sorted and organized; broken branches on the fruit trees were trimmed; the kids garden plots near the shed were cleaned out. The rain mostly held off until we were finished. Again, thanks to all who helped.

2.      If you haven’t cleaned out your plot yet, please do so soon. If the waste pile is still on the curb, add your waste to the pile there. If the City has picked up the garden waste on the curb, take your waste to the compost bin. Please, if you think you won’t be returning in 2014, be a good neighbor and clean up your plot so someone else doesn’t have to do it in the spring. Although the garden is “closed” you are free to continue working in your plot.

3.      Several gardeners were talking about planting garlic. It is a rewarding crop and quite easy. If you want to plant garlic, you should do it in the next week or two.  Here is a useful link: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/growing-garlic-zmaz09onzraw.aspx#axzz2iIvNKCbI  . Basically you just separate the cloves from a bulb of garlic [there are about 6 to 9 cloves per bulb]and plant the individual cloves about 4” apart and 3” or 4“ deep,with the pointed end up. A good helping of compost worked into the soil before you plant will improve production. Cover with a 5” or 6” layer of hay. [There is some hay in the compost bin, but much of it has already decomposed.] Leave the hay on as mulch through the growing season. You can get garlic to plant at the farmers’ market or even from the grocery store.

Each planted clove should yield its own plant and bulb. The shoots will start to appear in early spring. In June, many types of garlic begin to produce seed heads on long curly stalks called scapes. Cut the scapes off and use by sautéing or in recipes that call for garlic. By mid-July, the leaves will begin to brown and you can dig out the bulbs. Allow them to dry in a shady place for a week or two, then trim off the roots and tops and store. You will be able to plant another crop, like beans, in the area after you harvest the garlic.

4.      I have taken the box of seeds to my house for the winter. If any of you want seeds, especially tomato or peppers, to start indoors in March, email me and I’ll arrange to get some to you. I haven’t looked at the box carefully, but I think there are quite a few pepper and tomato packs left. I will return the box to the shed when it gets warm enough in the spring.

5.      The garden committee welcomes new members. We are all sort of “self-appointed” volunteers, so if you are interested, please come. Notices of meetings will be sent to all gardeners. Midvale Garden only exists through the work of its gardeners, so please join us and get involved.

6.      Registration materials should be available in early March. Unless you request to move to a new plot, you will be in the same plot next year. Until then, have a restful winter and sweet garden dreams.