Pricey Helen: It’s been such an odd gardening season to this point. My garlic vegetation are nonetheless primarily inexperienced. When ought to I dig the bulbs?

J.D.

Garlic bulbs are normally dug in the course of the second half of July, when roughly half the highest development has turned brown. Due to the extended cool climate by way of the spring, harvest time will probably be delayed in most gardens. Let the state of the stems and leaves be your information.

It’s a good suggestion to dig a trial bulb or two forward of the harvest. The bulbs ought to have properly developed cloves, clustered tightly collectively, every enclosed in its personal papery cowl.

When the bulbs are left too lengthy within the floor, the cloves start to separate. These overgrown bulbs don’t normally retailer properly.

Pricey Helen: I just lately heard a bunch of individuals speaking about “starflower.” What have been they in all probability referring to? I didn’t have an opportunity to ask them.

N.I.

I do know of multiple plant known as “starflower,” however the principle one is a small, carpeting perennial native to our area. It’s broad-leaved starflower (western starflower, Trientalis latifolia, T. borealis).

This can be a little charmer, bearing low-growing whorls of broadly oval leaves. In Could, from the centre of every leaf whorl, slender, curved stems emerge holding pink-tinged white flowers. They’re a well-recognized late spring sight in my garden, which is carved out of forested land.

The frequent title “starflower” was given to Trientalis due to the skinny, virtually invisible flower stems that permit the little blooms to look as if they’re hanging within the air, like stars.

The title Trientalis in Latin refers back to the approximate peak of this little native perennial: one-third of a foot.

A a lot taller, flower garden perennial really comprises the Latin for “star” in its mane, The perennial is Astrantia, from aster: a star. The allusion right here is to the flowers’ star-shaped bracts. Astrantia is usually known as starflower.

Pricey Helen: Are plantings normally later than ordinary this yr? A lot of what I’m rising appears greater than a bit behind.

L.L.

You aren’t alone, and the weather-delayed plantings are inflicting visitors jams in lots of gardens, at the least for many who depend on having plantings like garlic and early seeded peas completed and out of the way in which by mid-July, in time for planting winter greens like cabbage, sprouting broccoli, and over-wintering cauliflower within the vacated areas.

Pricey Helen: Why do my cauliflower vegetation type good little heads that proceed to separate into particular person florets on elongated stems earlier than they will develop correct heads?

D.T.

On this previous chilly spring, cauliflower vegetation set out early might have been tricked into appearing as if they have been experiencing winter. In lots of vegetation, the follow-up to coming by way of winter is to ship up flower stems and type seeds.

This can be a frequent trigger for the issue. Different stressors that may trigger a creating head of cauliflower to department out into separate sections:

* An abrupt change in temperature.

* Setting out transplants which are overgrown.

* Lack of ample moisture within the soil.

* Moist circumstances because the heads are forming.

* A soil that’s too free. For greens that type heads, like cabbage and cauliflower, transplants should be very properly firmed in.

Pricey Helen: The garlic patch in my garden will quickly be able to dig up, whereas I nonetheless have bulbs left from final yr’s harvest. I’m unsure whether or not to discard them or discover some use for the year-old bulbs.

Okay.P.

Until the cloves in final yr’s garlic bulbs are virtually utterly dried out, I’d use them. The best way I exploit garlic “extras” is to peel the cloves, slice them in half to take away the bitter core, drizzle them with oil and roast them in a heavy, lined pan.

I don’t roast the cloves on the generally really useful excessive warmth. I depart them roasting at round 325 F solely till they’ve totally softened. I don’t need them burned.

Cooled, the roasted cloves will be saved for 2 weeks within the fridge. Mine by no means final that lengthy. The softened cloves have many makes use of — in salad dressings, blended into mashed potatoes, chopped or sliced into vegetable dishes, soups and stews.

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