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2018 Garden: Green Tomatoes & Planting Garlic

23. October 2018

The 2018 garden season is officially over for me. My garden didn't perform the best this year unfortunately. The tomatoes got in late and battled wet weather and blight. Since the tomatoes bloomed later, I ended up with many green tomatoes not meant to ripen before fall.

CanningCrafts garden 2018: Green Tomatoes

So I decided to try something new this year: Pickled Green Tomatoes. Bluck. Yeah, that’s right, I don’t like green tomatoes. The look and smell of fried green tomatoes is nauseating to me. However, I’m hoping that pickled green tomatoes taste like many other pickled foods... like pickles! Since I had so many green tomatoes, I thought I’d give it a try. If these are disgusting, the most I’m out is some vinegar and spices.

CanningCrafts garden 2018: Green Tomatoes

I tried several different seasoning mixes using ideas from this website. I used dill, black peppercorns, a bay leaf, and garlic in a few jars. Another jar had garlic, yellow mustard seeds, dill, and red pepper flakes. Then a few others a basic store-bought pickling spice. All had a standard 50:50 white vinegar and water brine. 

CanningCrafts garden 2018: Canning Green Tomatoes

The tomatoes need to sit a few weeks to pickle. I’ll report back with a taste test. I plan to give some of these to my mom who actually likes these. 

CanningCrafts garden 2018: Canning Green Tomatoes in Mason Jars

These are our custom printed Farmer's Market canning labels. You can choose your own color and text. Labels are available in round and ovals.

 

CanningCrafts garden 2018: Green Tomatoes

I had large and small green cherry tomatoes. I kept them separated by variety when I canned them.

CanningCrafts garden 2018: Green Tomatoes

 

I finally got my garlic in after an extremely rainy late summer and fall. Fingers crossed my new varieties do better than this past year. My garlic was small and hard to peel :(

CanningCrafts garden 2018: Planting Fall Garlic

My Garlic Draft Picks* this year:

Spanish Roja - This one had me at “easy-to-peel”. My choices this past season, especially Nootka Rose, was a royal pain in the butt to peel. That was probably in part to how I raised them (first time garlic parent). I planted small cloves which yielded small bulbs. Also, I neglected to feed the plants properly. Hopefully lessons learned will guide me to healthier heads this year. I digress… most garlic aficionados consider Roja to have the “true garlic” flavor. Sounds like a winner to me.

Early Italian - I liked the idea of an easy-to-braid soft neck. The rustic purple hue of the bulbs will make this a true Instagram darling too ;)  And, I guess, I should care about what this tastes like too. Lucky for me, this is supposed to have a mild and sweet flavor. Which is great for me, because despite how excited I am bout growing garlic, I’m fairly wimpy when it comes to eating it.

Transylvania - I chose this one because, well, ya know, any garlic that is good enough to ward off Dracula is already aces in my book. This type was discovered in a Romanian Farmer’s Market in the Transylvanian Mountains back in the 90’s. If it could ward off the squirrels and groundhogs from my garden as well, I would be thrilled! One of my Instagram friends grew Transylvania this past season, so I knew I had to give it a try too.

CanningCrafts garden 2018: Planting Fall Garlic

Last year I only added compost to my garlic beds before planting. This year I loaded the bed with compost and manure. I also purchased Bone Meal for the first time ever. That’s what the white sprinkles are in the photos. I’ve read that Bone or Fish Meal are good to add to the soil for garlic. Plants need fertilized again in the spring when the shoots are 4-6 inches tall.

CanningCrafts garden 2018: Planting Fall Garlic

I mulched the bed with leaves and straw for the winter. We had a wind storm and some blew away. It's all fenced in, so it should be okay now! Fingers crossed I get bigger garlic this year.

CanningCrafts garden 2018: Planting Fall Garlic

I wanted to grow sweet potatoes this past year, but failed in my attempt to grow slips. I came across this tutorial for starting slips in soil. The blogger noted that this was the BEST method for started slips. She would never go back to the mason jar method since slips grow much faster this way. By partially burying a sweet potato in soil and setting it on a heat mat, slips would grow in about two weeks. Well, MY slips didn’t start even after five weeks. And not only that, but my sweet potato has started to rot. I kept the soil moist, but it must’ve been too moist. 

CanningCrafts garden 2018: Sweet Potato Slip FAIL

So after struggling to grow slips, I was rather amused and irritated to see a few of my stored sweet potatoes sprouting last week. So from no effort on my part, the slips grew all on their own. So I twisted them out and added to a jar of water. Then seriously, a few days later they began to root. It’s the end of October, so I realize this is way too soon to start slips. I’ll keep these on my counter and see how out of control the vines get before next garden season.

CanningCrafts garden 2018: Sweet Potato Slips

CanningCrafts garden 2018: Sweet Potato Slips

 

If anyone has ever successfully grown sweet potato slips in soil, I’d love to hear about it! How did your garden do this year? What are your favorite garlic varieties? Let me know in the comments below.

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