Garlic harvest

I've got a few posts worth of garden eye-candy from my recent trip to Vermont, but to get started I'm just writing about the progress at my vegetable plot. We still haven't had any rain but I think I may be past the worst of the rabbit and vole damage.

Remember the garlic I planted last fall? When the garlic tops get brown and die, it is time to harvest. If your soil is loose, just pull them out. They are pretty dirty at first, but if you want picture perfect garlic heads, you can wash them and rub off the outer layers of skin. Take care to dry the heads completely before storing. I trimmed off the stalks but some people find it handy to keep the stalks so you can tie them in bunches and hang them. This is Chesnock Red, a hardneck variety, so it won't braid.

Mine might have been bigger if I had added compost when planting or watered more, but I'm sure they will taste good. I'm going to save two of the biggest heads for planting in the fall and eat the rest.

I picked my second full size tomato - this is a "Defiant", a late-blight resistant hybrid. With this dry weather, I don't dare leave something so tempting on the vine for the vermin. It will finish ripening in the safety of my kitchen.

The cucumbers, cantaloupe, and delicata squash are starting to make little fruits.

above: the surviving "Prime Ark Freedom" blackberry bush is looking very promising and I'm hoping for a few handfuls this season (second year bush). The "Chester" blackberries (1st year bushes) have stayed kind of small but are putting out a few blooms. I probably should cut the blooms off so the plant can put more energy into roots etc. But I might not.

Perhaps the most exciting of all, the picture above proves that I may have made a difference by installing all that hardware cloth fencing. This strawberry was not eaten as a flower or even as a little green fruit! I don't expect it will last long enough to ripen, but this is still an improvement.