Except for yesterday’s cool and rainy day, it has been dry and windy all week and despite taking allergy medicine every gosh darn day since the beginning of May, I suddenly find myself sneezing and snuffling. Ugh. That is what comes from spending close to two hours out in the garden this morning working on cleaning up and getting two beds ready for planting.

What could I be planting you ask? I got a box in the mail yesterday of items ordered way back in July. Garlic, daffodils, and Siberian squill. Yay!

Looks oddly like a grave but garlic will go here

Looks oddly like a grave but garlic will go here

I cleaned up two spots in the veggie garden for the garlic. We got two kinds of hardneck garlic because it is hardier than the soft. There are four bulbs each of German porcelain and Spanish roja. I’ve grown the German porcelain before many years ago and had good luck with it. The cloves are generally large and it has a rich, mild flavor. I’ve not grown the Spanish roja before. The catalog described it as having a strong, rich, hot flavor. I love strong garlic so I hope this lives up to the description. I’ll be planting the garlic sometime during the week after the squirrels cease to be interested in the newly dug dirt. They won’t eat the cloves but they will dig them up and crush them.

I got two kinds of daffodils, Dutch master trumpet and professor Einstein. The Dutch master is my choice. A traditional yellow daffodil with a large center trumpet. I have 15 bulbs. Bookman chose the professor Einstein. They are white with orangey-red trumpets. I think they are garish but Bookman likes them for that very reason. We have eight of them. I had thought at first we would plant them all along the new garden path, but being outside and imagining it this morning, I think we will plant them along the path in small drifts in groups of 7-8 and then mix in the Siberian squill. We have 25 bulbs of these.

I love Siberian squill. There is a small patch that has grown up in the grass in the back by the deck, leftover from a previous homeowner. It comes back year after year and is, I think, slowly expanding. They are such tiny, delicate blue flowers, a contrast in the spring to all the other brightly colored spring flowers.

I’ve not prepped the areas for the daffodils and Siberian squill yet. The squirrels will eat these bulbs and thank me for

fall bulbs with Dickens

fall bulbs with Dickens

the snack. The trick is to mix up a solution of alum and water, heavy on the alum, and dip the bulbs in it before planting. I’ve done this with tulip bulbs and long ago with daffodils. Works like a charm. The squirrels generally don’t dig them up then and if they do, before they even take a bite they will get a yucky astringent taste to make them change their minds.

It’s nice to have a plan for the gardening week ahead. I enjoy planting bulbs. Even more than planting seeds in the spring, it is a matter of faith that they will survive the winter under the snow and sprout in spring.

Everything is winding down. I picked a big zucchini today. I think it will be the last one. We have nine pumpkins waiting for frost to sweeten them up before we pick them and start the process of cutting, baking, and turning most of them into puree. One of them might make it into soup. There are some green tomatoes hanging on. We’ll see if they get ripe before we get a hard frost. Our average frost date is October 7th but the weather forecasters are saying it will probably be mild for at least a week after that. What a strange growing season it has been this year.

white aster

white aster

I picked a few apples last week but most of them still weren’t ready. But looking at them today, yes it’s finally time. Bookman’s wacky work schedule gives him the day off tomorrow and he has decided he will start picking. He is only to pick from the low branches however. No tree climbing without me on the ground spotting him and catching the apples he tosses down. Got that Bookman? No monkey business!

I think the last new blooms this year go to the white asters. These are a native wildflower that has been kind enough to plant itself in my garden. Such a thoughtful little flower I had to let it stay.

My hands and back are tired from so much weeding and digging today so time to go give them a rest!

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