gardening, homestead, Uncategorized

Growing Garlic in Raised Beds (chicken proof)

As I was perusing Dave Ramsey quotes on Pinterest at 6am (obviously) I came across this:

Rich people plan for the next 3 generations.  Poor people plan for Saturday night.

Hmm.  That will get you thinking!  For me right now, it mostly brought up thoughts of the skills and lifestyle I’m slowly learning (a lot by making mistakes!) here on our little homestead.

A few months ago, my eldest son microwaved a mason jar for what Im guessing to be about 30 minutes while I was outside, resulting in an almost caught on fire kitchen and destroyed microwave.  Our microwave wasn’t fancy at all – I think I got it for $50 on Amazon.  And for whatever reason, I haven’t replaced it yet.

Something as simple as not having a microwave has caused me to be so much more thoughtful about setting food out in advance, not heating up something to eat just because I can, but reserving food for meal times, and really just having a greater appreciation for the food preparation process.  Yep, leave it to me to find some deeper spiritual takeaway from a microwave explosion.

So – back to the point.  What makes me feel like I’m living a rich life and building a legacy for our kids isn’t just dollars sitting somewhere accruing interest, it’s the skill and principals we will have instilled in the kids when its time for them to go out on their own, or when we are gone.  That’s what I hope lasts for generations.

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Little things they just know – like how to grow & raise their own food!

The garden is pretty dull at the moment, with the majority of it bare and sleeping for the winter.  But right now, in mid Autumn, is the perfect time to sow garlic.

Where to Get Garlic

I’m learning that quality is really important when choosing seeds, starts, and plants.  And I’ve had fabulous luck with Baker Creek so far!  I pre-ordered my Music Garlic this summer and it arrived in September.  In our Zone 7 garden, mid-October through mid-November is the best time to plant.

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Preparing the Cloves

My Vivi had lots of fun helping me here – separating the cloves in each bulb, which is all you do to prep.  Gardening tasks are so awesome for kids.  Keeps their little hands busy and minds engaged, and they truly are helpers, cutting time down for me and giving them a sense of purpose.

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Preparing the garden

We topped the raised beds off with a few inches of aged manure from the cows a couple months ago after we pulled the summer crops and once pine needles started falling I threw some on top, so they were ready to go.  I only needed half a bed, so I traced out a 4×4 pattern with a hoe – one square per clove.  Eventually – I’ll be growing lots more of everything.  But for now, I’m starting small to get the hang of things.

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Plating Garlic

Each clove is sown a couple inches deep, with the root side down and pointy side up.  Like this.

Then just cover with loose soil.  Next, you’ll want to mulch.

I always use what I can find around here whether its pine needles, grass, leaves, or whatever.  Right now – there are tons of leaves.  So I went with that.

4-6 inches cover on top of your soil will do.  To keep the leaves from blowing away and to keep the chickens from scratching up the cloves, I used chicken cut a piece of chicken wire to fit over the bed, drove a few nails in around the perimeter to attach the wire to, and voila.  A chicken-proof garden bed that will keep my garlic cloves covered until they’re ready to harvest next summer!

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