Fitting in the Garlic
I won’t lie. Moving is just awful. Finding the time and energy to do almost anything that doesn’t involve packing boxes has dropped precipitously. We live surrounded by cardboard, plastic garbage bags and Rubbermaid bins. I don’t know where anything is. I don’t know where my clothes are. I sent Iris to school today with carrots for lunch.
We signed the closing papers Wednesday afternoon; we handed over the keys Friday evening. In between I may have thought about divorcing my husband as we packed box after box into the U-Haul at the old house, and then took them out again at the new house; each of us frostily expecting the other to work just a little bit harder, to do just a little bit more, to make this go more smoothly than it was.
And still, life goes on. The garlic needed to be planted, and it needed to be planted soon. So with the first break in the weather we put the boxes aside and were off to the farm, to fit in the garlic sowing.
We’re still trying to figure out where everything else will be planted on the farm next summer, but we decided to go ahead and put the garlic where the peas had been. It had been corn the year before, so we thought it was time to add something from the allium family. The bed was nearly ready to go – Jasper had tilled all the old pea stalks under in September, and we cleaned it up a bit before adding the ridges for the cloves.
I’m not exactly sure what kind of garlic we planted, but I do know it’s an Oregon hardneck variety. Spicy. Planted by my father-in-law a couple of years ago and dug up by us last month to break apart and replant in the new bed.
We put in about 200 cloves along each ridge, planted about six inches apart. I plan on putting lettuce in between the rows at each end in the spring to utilize some of that extra space. The next chance we get (probably to retrieve boxes of stuff we stored there when we put the house on the market) we’ll bring a bale of straw to loosely spread over the bed and cover the garlic up until spring.
The garden isn’t very pretty anymore this time of year. Everything’s been harvested, and what’s left is just waiting – and decomposing, slowly and slimily – until we get a chance to come in, spread manure, and cover it all up for winter.
And yet … it’s hard to deny that there’s still something undeniably beautiful about this fall landscape. The alders slowing shedding their leaves and exposing the cedars and pines that have been hidden behind them. The fog hanging like smoke in the hills. The melodic trickle of the lower stream that is inexplicably easier to hear this time of year. And soon, maybe, little garlic sprouts, like the flags of spring to come.