My usual gardening tasks are done with hand tools: the hori-hori, the hand fork, and maybe (maybe) the stirrup hoe. I don’t bring in the big dogs (the shovel, mainly, but the broadfork too) unless some major devastation is called for: bed-building, trenching, post holes…and harvest.
Yesterday was my self-designated Check The Underground Stuff day. Mainly, my kid loves her spuds, so I’d been judiciously watching the bloom rates on some mid-season potatoes for their viability. I’d expired last year’s harvest months ago and we’ve been grabbling (i.e., stealing) for about a month, but I hadn’t undergone Potato Plant Butchery until last night, when I brought up about 3/4ths of a pound of Carolas. (Not bad for one plant.)
Garlic, too. The picture above is of one row each of three of the four cultivars I planted last fall. Unfortunately, you do need to pull up most of a row to find out if the garlic has “headed up” enough; just checking the browning of the leaves isn’t an adequate method to tell you when to harvest, nor will one plant tell you. These three types of garlic will need another week or more to reach their full size.
So, yesterday, for the first time in a long time, the shovel got a workout.