I kept out a dozen or so of the biggest bulbs for replanting next year. Some stems broke off the bulbs when we pulled them, so those came in the house with me for cooking first (I'm thinking trim the pointed top, stick a pat of butter on it and bake). And the rest were braided. I'm not sure if I did it right and the braids may fall apart before too long, but at least they're all not laying on the ground.
Garlic is a member of the Holy Trinity of Cooking, so I'm not giving up on learning to grow it well. And to find the perfect types for this area. I hope to order some different ones from Gourmet Garlic Gardens this fall. I also picked up some bulbs from a little old man at the farmers' market last week who said he's been planting it for thirty years, so long that he's forgotten what kind it is. It's purple striped and looks like a hard neck, but I may be mistaken. He said to wait until the first cold snap to plant it so it'll sprout right away. Sounds like a good tip to me. Faster sprouting = less time sitting there in the ground, getting exposed to disease and rot.
Dixondale early this year and get them in the ground as soon as they'll send them. Got that tip from another grower at the market who was selling some gorgeous whoppers. She said it was her first try at onions and got them in the ground in December. Gonna' do that next year for sure.
Peppers, the last member of the Trinity, I think I have by the balls. Check out the bell peppers in the picture on the left, and the one in the picture below. It's as big as a baby head! FINALLY I've figured it out. Acidity. They like acidity. I read about that online, on a guy's website who had pictures of plants with beautiful colored bells dripping off his plants. With success like that, you don't argue much.
I put two 2 cubic foot bags of acidified cotton burr compost in the 2'x12' or so row the bells are in and they are going ca-RAY-zeee! ALL eight plants. In years past, I'd get maybe three or four sick little bells per plant per year. Not this year. I have that many on each plant already, and they're all whoppers. Besides the ones I started from seed, I bought four plants of two types of bells at work and planted one of each in the acidified bed and a non-acidified bed. So far, the acidified ones are doing much better.
The rest of the peppers, things like jalapenos, poblanos, cayennes, etc., I've had good luck with ever since I started feeding them extra nitrogen. They just produce and produce and produce. But the bells stymied me. Not anymore. HeeheeHEE!
The NuMex Joe E. Parker anaheim isn't doing so well ~ one fruit on the one plant. Don't know what went wrong with it. Could be just a bum plant, or maybe it just takes a bit longer to get going. The one pepper on it does look good though!
But they were still great! The little Snow Whites were a bit too burned. They're a sweet tomato, so don't take well to a bit of blackening apparently.
So I tried this drying thing again tonight. Caught them early this time (mostly) and I also learned my oven gets hotter in the back than in the front. Makes sense, seeing's how I left the door open a bit. I need to remember to turn them halfway through the process. This time, I turned them up to 200 so it only took two hours. Surprise! Ooof. But no matter. The Snow Whites are perfect! No salt on them. They're fruity sweet, so I didn't think that would be very tasty. Turns out to be a good call.
But those Red Figs! Oh, what flavor! Comparing the Principe Borghese to the Figs is like comparing a whimper to a scream. Night and day. Definitely a keeper, that one. I was also making sauce from the Romas during this time, so as I was cooking I kept eating just one more, then just one more, then just one more, then I remembered I hadn't taken a picture yet. Ooops.
I also talked to Marlena at the market today and she said a gas stove is much better for drying ~ just put them in and let the pilot light do it's thing. Man, I miss my gas stove. But I get to have it back once I get moved into the cozy cabin! Soon. Very soon.
She also said don't bother with the oil and salt. So I didn't on tonight's round. Not bad. And easier. I like easier.