this morning i went to the nearby whole foods to return 2 items i bought from amazon.com (wire shelves plastic clips and orchid pots that were missing the dishes). temperature was already in the 60's, i was way overdressed. from there i went to market basket to get some groceries. i decided to make some pasta for dinner tonight.

once i returned home, i went to belmont on my motorcycle. i wore a henley pullover even though that felt too warm. my original plan was to go to home depot first and return and buy a few things, but looking at the time (noon), i didn't think i had enough time to do the yardwork before it got dark, so i opted to go to home depot later if i had the time.

so the big push today was to get the raised beds ready for garlic planting. in seasons past i'd plant my garlics in mid-october, once we get a touch of frost and the weather starts feeling cold. but because we've had a warm october, i didn't plant until now, which is sort of late in the season. the garlics need at least 4 weeks of non-freezing soil weather to establish. the advantage of starting a bit later is so the garlics don't sprout, which happened in years past because i planted too early. there's kind of a guessing game to figure out the optimal garlic planting time.

i know i sort of swore off growing garlics after this season because it takes up a lot of garden space, but i've gotten better at growing them, and i think this latest batch will be my best garlics yet. instead of just dedicating a single raised bed for garlics only, i decided this year to space out my garlics, reserving the left and right margins of every raised bed for garlics. i know yesterday we added chicken manure into some of the beds, but i don't know if that's a good idea, as i read the manure can burn plants.

these are semi-composted chicken manure, so hopefully there's less chance of it burning the garlic cloves. they smell awful though, you don't really notice when they're bagged up, but once opened, there's a very noticeable manure smell. i kept smelling it on the steps into the house that i ended up spraying the steps with water and scrubbing it down, like maybe someone accidentally tracked in some chicken manure. even after i did that, i could still smell it. the smell is also a natural attractant for flies, and one even bit me when it landed on my arm.

yesterday we tilled RB4 and RB2; today i tilled RB1. i also uprooted all the scallions from the scallion bed in RB2. this bed didn't receive any chicken manure, so instead i added a thick layer of homemade compost before replanting the scallions. RB2 also contains 2 rows of replanted daikon seedlings, they were all wilted today, not sure if they'll make it. i dumped 3/4th bag of chicken manure into RB1 before tilling it into the soil; the other 1/4th i dumped into half of RB3. as for RB0, no chicken manure was added, but i did make enough space for a garlic bed, and added compost. in fact, i added compost to all the garlic beds, regardless if it has chicken manure or not. i figured the compost with balance out the beds with chicken manure, acting like a kind of buffer. i didn't finish tilling and preparing the beds until almost 3pm.

finally it came time to plant the garlics. using a metal rod, i made holes in the garlic beds: RB0 13, RB1 18L+17L, RB2 17, RB4 19L+19R. that's a grand total of 103, nearly exactly the same amount of garlics i planted last season using a single raised bed (RB2). i scooped some bone meal into each hole. last year i also sprinkled some espoma garden food (10-10-10) into the raised bed while my father dumped some soy bean mush, but this year we just had the chicken manure. a key for growing big garlics is to also fertilize come spring with something high in nitrogen, whether that's blood meal, more chicken manure, or synthetic nitrogen.

my mother got my 2nd aunt to buy some hardneck garlics from her organic grocery shop, to replace the largest red korean garlics my mother ended up eating after not realizing i was saving them for planting. these store-bought ones look to be elephant garlics judging how big they were. originally there was just 2, but my father ate one, so my mother asked my 2nd aunt to buy some more, so now i had 3. the cloves were really big, so each head only had a few. one of the garlics had turned moldy, so in the end i just had 9 cloves to plant. i planted them in the RB0 garlic bed.

i planted red korean garlics in the remaining beds. i'd picked out the remaining large garlics for planting, but i actually ran out, because some of the cloves had dried tips, and i didn't think those were viable. fortunately i had more small to medium garlics back inside, and i picked out a few medium ones to harvest the cloves for planting.

i covered up the garlics then added a layer of straw on top to protect the garlics and act as insulation once the weather turned colder. i then put a piece of chicken wire over the garlic bed to prevent squirrels from digging them up, which has happened every year that i've planted garlics.

i also replanted some more daikon radish seedlings i pulled from RB1, along with a row of mustard seedlings. i also pulled out a bunch of baby garlics, which i replanted in the southern bed next to the rolling compost bin.

by the time i was done, it was already past 4pm, with sunset in less than half an hour. i went to the basement briefly to check on the plants, i was happy to see the gardenia stems have perked up from our watering, no longer drooping like it was before. naturally it was too late for home depot, i'll just go tomorrow then. i left by 4:20pm, getting home right around sunset.

i didn't start preparing dinner until after 8pm. meat sauce pasta is an easy recipe, can be made in about 30 minutes. cooked some chopped onion and garlic first, brown the ground beef, then pour in a garlic of tomato sauce (24oz). i also added some italian spices, some hot pepper flakes, and some chopped sweet peppers. no salt was added, the sauce itself contains a bit of salt, plus i also sprinkle some shredded parmesan cheese afterwards. i cooked a whole bowl of rotini pasta, i was pretty hungry, having not eaten the entire day.