My favorite things to harvest from the garden are roots... potatoes, carrots and garlic. The kids love it, too - it's always a fun surprise to see what pops up! Potatoes grow in all sorts of funny shapes (of course they only select the uniformly round and smooth ones to sell at the stores), and carrots will sometimes emerge from the dirt looking like a pair of legs or even funnier, a pair of legs with an extra little ... ahem... appendage :)
We plant our garlic in the Fall, and it is ready to harvest at the end of Spring... which is now! They don't come up in any fascinating shapes really, but some grown crazy big, others stay surprisingly small. We'll save the bigger cloves for this Fall's seed garlic. We grew 4 different kinds this year, about 150 plants, in all. Two were hardneck varieties that grew beautiful and delicious flower stems, called scapes, on the top. The other two were softneck varieties, easy to braid at harvest, and the type you would commonly find in the grocery store. First we pull them all up. Straight up, not from an angle, and good to have a trowel handy for ones in harder soil.
Garlic is not the only treasure hiding beneath the surface this Spring. As I was digging in the compost bin, my pitchfork became tangled in strings. When pulled it out, I found this:
Fortunately, this compost bin has help in making fast work of everything I put in! I added a few handfuls of red wriggler worms a couple years ago (leftover from an indoor worm bin project). These are not earthworms, they actually prefer hot compost, not cool garden soil. I hear they're also great for fishing, though haven't tried that :)
Now we dig out shovelfuls of the finished compost (mostly highly beneficial worm castings at this point), and I mix a shovel full into each hole where a new plant will live. Since the garlic is harvested, we're turning one of the garlic beds into Summer veggies. I have been procrastinating getting the eggplants in, and I did rescue some chard seedlings from the hungry chickens, so I can plant them in this fenced in bed.
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