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PA250002Halloween with the Lily Family

October is the month to plant garlic in many northern and cooler regions. It is one of the most important crops, and one of the most ancient crops ever cultivated, for the home backyard gardener. It certainly adds a zing to many meals and snacks and it’s plain healthy. Homegrown garlic is like homegrown tomatoes, the taste is far superior.

The ancient world was familiar with garlic from China to Egypt. In North America, so were the First Peoples. The Algonquin Nation had a name for garlic, “chicagaoua” which grew along the shorelines of Lake Michigan. Eventually, it became the name for a settlement in the early days, Chicago.

History aside, all the current evidence from hundreds of research studies points towards the age old wisdom that the herb is just plain and simply, healthy. It is widely believed garlic improves overall heart health, contains anti-bacterial and and anti-inflammatory properties. Garlic is flavorful, healthy and it is also easy to grow.

Garlic bulbs are readily available from numerous online gardening Websites. In almost all regions, garlic can be purchased from local farms and roadside stands. Local garlic is already adapted to the general weather and soil conditions of your neighborhood or region.

Supermarket garlic is usually shipped from California which supplies 90 percent of the US market. It is generally the “soft neck” variety which is more conducive to commercial growing conditions. China also does a brisk garlic trade; 75 percent of the world’s garlic originates in China.

Garlic planted in October, or even into November depending on the weather, will be some of the first green to appear in the spring after the snows melt. Then on April 19, with the garlic growing for taste and health, you can celebrate National Garlic Day. Besides, the vampires and all sorts of other nasty things will stay away if the garlic is planted before Halloween.

AsparagusPA120010

Asparagus is another healthy vegetable which is flavorful, easy to grow, and can save some money in the kitchen. October is a great time to get an asparagus bed ready for the spring planting.

Asparagus is a perennial which can produce for decades. Since asparagus can be around for a long time, it is important to get the soil area for the asparagus in top notch condition before it is planted in the spring.

Asparagus does best in full sun, well drained, loamy soil, with sufficient compost. Asparagus roots can be planted about as early as the soil can be worked in the spring. Seeds can be started indoors and placed in the new asparagus area when the danger of a heavy killing frost has past in the spring.

Asparagus is a spring vegetable but the harvest season can be extended to last well into summer, more information on extended season can be found here. Plan on about twenty plants per person for fresh eating and later storage for table use later.

Because asparagus can be harvested throughout the summer and for decades, it is a smart choice for the home vegetable gardener. It is easy to grow and is not bothered much by any pests.

The Lily Family

Both garlic and asparagus are members of a huge family of plant, the Lily Family. Other members include: onions, shallots, yams, lilies, yucca, aloe,tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths.
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