Rain is predicted for the end of the week and so I decided to till up my garlic plot and plant next season’s garlic. I had saved bulbs from earlier and now I broke them up into individual cloves, much as one uses them for cooking. The cloves are then simply stuck into the freshly tilled soil, root-side down, 6 to 8 inches apart in the row. I also planted the top sets from my winter onions. These are usually the first thing that we can eat from the garden each spring and their fresh onion taste is always a joy as the storage onions begin to lose quality by May.
I also pulled all of my dry, black bean stalks and piled them in the shed, ready for threshing as they dry. I use an heirloom variety of black bean, which is very delicious in most bean dishes and matures well in our northern climate. These are threshed- out by taking clumps of the stalks and striking them against the inside of a garbage can to shatter the pods and release the beans. I put a piece of half inch mesh into the garbage can so the beans fall through but the leaves and pods stay on top of the mesh. Later I will pour the beans between containers in the wind to thoroughly clean them.
I am told that it is very cheap to buy garlic, onions, and dried beans. People wonder why anyone would go through all the work of growing these things. For me, it seems as though much of our lives are controlled by others, but keeping my own hands on my food supply is reassuring. I know what was applied to my soil and I know the produce has not been sprayed or in any way adulterated. There is something reassuring about being able to plan for winter and the following spring. Government can be shut down, and politicians in Washington can cook up new laws, but the laws of nature in my garden cannot be amended.