Caring for your Garlic in the Spring and Summer

Regardless of whether you planted garlic in the spring or last fall, by mid May your garlic will be ready for a little fertilizer. High nitrogen organic fertilizers are best. The most commonly used forms of fertilizer for garlic would be blood-meal or even a synthetic source of nitrogen is best. 

Try and keep your garlic well weeded, and apply a mulch such as straw if needed. Garlic doesn't like competition so if you have a lot of weeds near the garlic, it won't do well if it has to compete for nutrients with the weeds. 

Water garlic deeply, about 2 feet every 8-10 days. As mid June approaches, begin tapering off how much watering you're doing.  

A common myth with growing garlic is that the bulbs might only be mature once the green tops have begun to die back. This isn't always the case. Check for maturity even before the greens have turned yellow and begun to die. Sometimes the bulb is ready to harvest before this happens.

The bulb will be ready for harvest when you cut it open and can see that it has well developed cloves and three or fewer outer skins. 

Facts about Lettuce and Leafy Greens

We love lettuce, and most of the time I can't stop talking about how easy and satisfying it is to grow.  We are able to sow new lettuce seeds monthly here at the homestead to ensure enough lettuces and leafy greens will be hitting our plates year round.

I never understood why people don't enjoy growing lettuce! With so many varieties to choose from, surely one could never get bored. Mixing flavors of each tender green is fun, and easy to do.  Soften bitter greens with sweet ones, or add zesty lettuces to any dish to spice it up a bit.

Not only is lettuce easy to grow and care for, it doesn't require much space. Lettuces and greens usually don't mind being crowded especially in warmer months since they like the idea of "shading one another out".

Facts about Lettuce

  • The nutritional value of lettuce varies with the variety. In general, lettuce provides small amounts of dietary fiber, some carbohydrates, a little protein and a trace of fat. 
  • Iceberg is a head lettuce that is very low in nutritional value and flavor. The most abundant nutrient in iceberg lettuce is water. Dark green lettuce leaves always indicate higher fiber, flavor and nutritional value.
  • The spine and ribs of lettuce provide dietary fiber, while vitamins and minerals are concentrated in the delicate leaf portion.
  • The most important nutrients in lettuce are vitamin A and potassium.
  • The vitamin A comes from beta carotene (beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body), whose yellow-orange is hidden by green chlorophyll pigments.
  • Lettuce, except iceberg, is also a moderately good source of vitamin C, calcium, iron and copper.
  • Look for salad greens that are darker green in color. Iceberg lettuce has little nutritional value.
  • One cup of raw leaf lettuce has 9 calories, 1 gram of protein, and 1.3 grams of fiber.
  • If possible, do not cut or slice lettuce leaves in advance. Damaged, cut lettuce leaves release an ascorbic acid oxidase, which destroys vitamin C and causes the cut edges to discolor.
10 Quick Facts about the Health Benefits of Lettuce and other Dark Leafy Greens

  1. Are naturally low in salt and fat.
  2. Are good sources of fiber.
  3. Are rich in vitamins A, C, K and folate.
  4. Are high in the minerals calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium.
  5. Offer protection against heart disease.
  6. Can help slow insulin resistance, which can often be a pre-cursor to diabetes.
  7. May help decrease the risk of developing pancreatic and prostate cancer.
  8. Are so low in calories that they are often considered a “freebie” in most diets.
  9. Are rich in protective antioxidants such as beta carotene and lutein, which help prevent many chronic diseases.
  10. Improves memory.

So now that we've shared with you more fun and interesting facts about Lettuce and Leafy Greens, learn how to start growing your own!

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