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Planted the garlic (Allium sativum) today. This year I actually dug a trench and filled in the bottom with the last of the year’s compost. The soil in my area is pretty poor, so I’ve always had mixed results with root crops. Amending the soil like this will almost certainly have a much better result than all the fertiliser in the world (comfrey liquid in my case).

There’s been an incentive to make the extra effort because this year I bought a head of ‘Music’ garlic to try out; I’ve never planted a horticultural variety before. Usually I just use whatever cloves are beginning to sprout from the garlic I get at the grocery; they say you shouldn’t do it, but I’ve never had any problems from it. In any case, that stuff’s often been in storage for gods know how long, so it often sprouts not long after it comes home. It was only one head of ‘Music’, which provided four cloves, so the rest was all from store descent (none of it actually from the grocery this time).

Last Thursday the camassias (Camassia quamash) went into the ground. I would have much preferred C. scilloides, which is native to this area (C. quamash is native to the west coast regions), but this is the only species I’ve been able to find available that I can be confident is nursery raised and not ripped from the wild. As a bonus, when they start multiplying in a couple years, they can serve as another crop; all the camassias were a staple food for local tribes before Europeans showed up.

Ironically I seriously would also like to get some Anticlea elegans (formerly Zigadenas elegans) bulbs, commonly known as death camas. A. elegans is also native and a camassia lookalike until it flowers, but the bulbs are deadly toxic. It would tickle my warped sense of humour to grow both.

I got some ‘Antoinette’ tulips from the Master Gardener fall plant sale (along with the ‘Music’ garlic, camassias, and ‘Ziva’ paperwhite Narcissus) as a gift for the neighbours. They’re nice looking enough: white and yellow with pink that shows up later. They’re also a multiflowering type, with several blooms per stem instead of the usual one. The other neighbours will get some paperwhites for indoor forcing, but I don’t know if I’ll start them before I give them…it’s more work for me, I’d have to find a nice pot to put them in, and I have my own to deal with.

Most of the tender things are indoors now. There hasn’t been a frost yet, but it’s just a matter of time.

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