Fall Gardening Chores: Planting Iris Bulbs & More Garlic

Hello, November! It’s the month when gardeners that live in places with cold winters scramble to get the last of their gardening chores complete & their gardens buttoned up for the season. I am no exception & have been rushing to finish my fall gardening chores. I ordered iris bulbs & seed garlic in early October, but they took a few weeks to arrive. So, I ended up having to plant half of my garlic two weeks ago & the rest a few days ago. Not ideal, since I like planting everything all at once, especially when it comes to bulbs, but you make do. 

seed garlic image
Is there such a thing as too much garlic? No, no there isn’t.

I ended up ordering four bulbs of Early Italian garlic pretty late in the season. It was slim pickings out there & most websites were already out of garlic. I ended up choosing a softneck garlic, even though I wanted more hardneck garlic. Hardneck is more winter hardy here & I have had better luck with them, but hopefully, the softneck will grow just fine. I broke up the cloves, thew out a couple of rotten ones & counted what was left. All in all, I had 50 good cloves of garlic! I had already planted 33 cloves said two weeks prior, thus making for a grand total of 83 cloves of garlic. That’s a ton of garlic for me, considering that the 30 bulbs of garlic that I harvested in the summer were the most that I have ever grown before. I guess I just blew right past that number! Good thing we love garlic.

planting garlic image
So. Many. Garlic. Cloves.

There wasn’t any room left to plant them in my raised bed veggie garden, considering that I need most of the room for vegetables & I already planted the first 33 garlic cloves there. I would love to have a raised bed consisting of just garlic, but I just don’t have the space. Therefore, I ended up planting them in an unused area next to my raised bed where only my grapes are planted. It’s a nice little tucked away corner of my garden that I don’t walk into often unless I’m tending to the veggies or the grapes. Plus, it gets the same amount of sun as the raised bed & garlic grows best in full sun areas. I figured it was the best place to plant 50 cloves of garlic. We’ll see how that ends up working out. *fingers crossed*

planting garlic picture
A hidden corner of garlic!

Next up were the Harmony iris bulbs. I have never grown iris flowers before, but I have always wanted to, so I jumped on them once I noticed that they were in stock. I love blue flowers & like most gardeners, I barely have any blue in my garden. Iris also tends to naturalize well here & I certainly need more naturalizing bulbs. Most of the tulips that I planted in past years have returned less & less with every passing year. So, it’s always a welcome sight to see bulbs come back stronger every year like my daffodils, hyacinths & crocus flowers.

iris bulbs picture
Let’s do this, iris bulbs.

I used an auger to plant the iris bulbs, just like how I planted my tulips this year. It is truly the easiest way to plant bulbs. Run, don’t walk to buy an auger if you don’t already have one! The soil in the area I wanted to plant the bulbs in is pretty tough in general since I haven’t worked the area all that often. I would have had a really hard time digging holes with a shovel if I didn’t have an auger. Instead, I quickly drilled 15 holes in the ground, sprinkled in fertilizer & planted the bulbs. Easy peasy! I ended up planting them in my Blanche Deveroux garden (check out my Golden Girls garden), a.k.a. my white flower garden. I fudged the rule a little bit since the blue iris flowers will arrive long before the white hydrangeas put on their show. Also, because Blanche did have blue eyes, so it is still on theme!

planting iris bulbs picture
You can’t really see them, but those holes are there.

I finished up my gardening day by completing a few winterizing tasks like my least favorite fall gardening chore: taking in the hoses for winter. I fight with those darn hoses every year when I try to wrassle them into their storage bin. It’s no fun whatsoever & it seems like they are always full of endless water that never fully drains, but it has to be done. I also removed most of my annual flowers, which is always a bit sad after watching them thrive all season long. I still have two containers & a flower border that are still growing strong at the front of my house. I don’t have the heart to pull out thriving plants, so we’ll just have to see how long they last out there.

removing vincas picture
You need to pull your annuals when they look this sad.

That’s all folks! My fall planting is complete & most of my winterizing tasks are done too. I am so relieved that I was able to get everything planted before the ground froze. November always feels like a race against time garden wise, but it’s also a month of accomplishments. It’s a bummer having to clean out all of the dead plants, but it’s also nice to have a bit of a break from gardening outside. Now, we turn our attention to our neglected houseplants & soon enough the seed catalogs will start rolling in, which will in turn have me dreaming up plants for a spring garden. A gardener’s dreams are endless. Happy gardening, everyone!

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