July’s “GOOD TO KNOW” for the Mountain States Garden


Excerpts from the Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Mountain States
(If you like this, you will love the book!) Look for it at your local book store or on Amazon here.

Know How

Blanching apricots. Bring a large saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Carefully slide 3 or 4 apricots into the water, let them sit a minute, remove from the water with a slotted spoon. Over the sink, working quickly so not to burn yourself, slip the skins off the apricots. Separate the halves, remove the pits. Freeze as they are or make into jam.

Harvesting and storing garlic. (End of July – early August in most areas) Just a few months ago you plugged little cloves of garlic (pointed end up) into the garden and waited patiently. Now it’s time to embrace that stinking rose and get it out of the ground and ready for the pantry. Knowing the perfect time to harvest garlic is a bit tricky but not rocket science. Carefully brush back the soil and look carefully at the bulbs: do they have good looking shoulders? Are they filled out nicely? Sometimes you just have to go in with a trowel or shovel and have a peek. Gently and carefully dig straight down around the outside of the formed garlic bulb, loosening it from the soil and lifting it upward. Using your other hands, carefully remove the bulb from the soil and inspect it for fullness and size. Never try to pull the bulb from the ground. Brush off the soil, and remove the garlic to a cool, dry place to cure. If the bulbs are not quite filled out and ready, leave them another week or so. If they are ready, harvest, cure and store.

Making mint tea. Bring a large pot of clean water almost to a boil, turn off the heat. Add 4 to 5 black tea bags and a huge handful of freshly cut and washed mint trimmings to the pot. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Cool and enjoy over ice.