There's been a huge change in the weather overnight. Right now it's 34 degrees with a few snow flurries. From what I understand, there are snow flurries all over the Midwest.
In anticipation of not only our first frost, but our first hard freeze, I left work early yesterday to clean up what remained in the vegetable garden and to plant garlic.
The bean trellis and bean tepee came down, I pulled out the drying beans by the roots to hang in the house, I dug up the remaining Purple Viking potatoes (the fingerlings are still out there), and started organizing the various planting implements for fall storage.
In an act that seems almost sacreligious, I dug out the asparagus crowns and planted garlic in that bed (the bed directly in front of the shed above). This was the second year in a row that something - probably deer - ate the asparagus fronds to the ground. Even before they were eaten this year I wasn't thrilled with their production. I had bought the "asparagus in a bag" at a garden center, and I think they were not of the best quality. So, this winter I will reevaluate the asparagus situation. And if I decide to plant again, I'll order crowns from somewhere reputable, like Johnny's.
But I'm very excited about the garlic! I planted 12 bulbs each of Music, Chrysalis Purple, German Extra Hardy and Siberian (all from Seed Savers). This will be my experimental crop. Once I've grown and tried them all I'll narrow it down to (probably) two varieties. From what I understand, the garlic gradually changes flavor as it adapts to a particular soil over the years.
As I was looking at the carrots, trying to decide whether I should pull them all or leave them until the weekend, I found this: Black Swallowtail caterpillers. Now I'm not sure if I should just leave the carrots alone or what. I've never had good luck with carrots before, and I already know that these are short, stubby little things. Maybe I'll just leave them for the swallowtails.