I jumped the gun on planting garlic and planted some in the veggie bed several weeks ago. Two or three bulbs have already sprouted, sending their stalks up about 8 inches or so above the soil. I just poked those in the ground because I had so much garlic I was afraid they would go bad.
I'm not sure how successful this attempt will be. Gardening can be such a game of wait and see, a similar but much less instantaneous game of hide and seek.
I picked a gallon of figs (and 1 1/2 gallons the day before), as well as a healthy handful of okra and about 1 1/2 cups of tomatillos. I'd given away all the ripe tomatoes since we went out of town for the weekend and I couldn't bear to see them go bad. But there are now more ripe ones on the plants, so tonight I'll be making Fig Chutney, Fig Preserves, Ratatoullie Stew, Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, and blanching some okra for freezing. I'm also ready to try out a great sounding Herbed Beer Bread recipe I saw on farmgirl's blog. There is also a whole wheat version that sounds right up my alley.
While canning, I'm sure I'll do a couple more jars of pickles. Last time I canned (have I blogged about this??) I made a jar of miscellaneous veggies to go ahead and stick in the fridge without sealing. It was cukes, squash, and okra, and though I still haven't tried the okra, the pickled squash was incredible. I'm thinking I like the idea of pickled radishes more and more.
Last year the fig preserves consisted of lemon juice, sugar and figs. The rule of thumb is to use one cup of sugar for each cup of figs. This year I've let 6 cups of figs sit in the fridge overnight with 3 cups of sugar. I'm going to use less sugar with pectin since I had great luck using pectin for the blackberry jam; cutting down on sugar without odd chemicals is always a popular idea in my book. I'm also going to use 3 whole lemons, thinly sliced and seeded. This is supposed to bring out the subtle fig flavor and make the jam more of a marmalade. I'm not sure how it will turn out, but there are really enough figs to try different options.
What else do I have in store for these tasty, inverted-flower producing bushes? Air-layering. As soon as the temperatures start to fall a bit, I'd like to try air layering on both the figs and the Oregon Grape. This is a form of propagation I haven't tried yet, but seems very interesting. Especially if it means I can share these plants that have brought me so much pleasure with others!

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