This is a great time to plant garlic. Garlic must be planted in fall, not spring, and knowing when to sow the bulbs of seed garlic is the key to success. Emerging garlics overwinter in the ground and then begin their growth in earnest during spring. Harvest usually takes place the July or August following your fall planting. Order seed garlic as soon as possible early in the year and no later than August or September and prepare a rich and deeply worked bed as you wait for the bulbs to arrive. Plant before a hard frost sets in; this ranges from late September in the far north, October in middle climates, and into December or January in the south. Each clove (seed) of garlic you plant will yield a whole head next year. It's a good idea to mulch young garlic heavily with straw over the winter, to keep it from heaving out of frozen ground, and then to remove the mulch and cultivate the soil lightly when spring heats up. Provide plenty of water in early summer. After harvesting heads of ripe garlic, (it's time to pick when the lower leaves turn brown) dry them on sheets of paper or screens outdoors in the shade before storing them in a cool, dry cupboard, putting them in pantyhose or just hang from a hook in a cool dark place. Never wash the dirt off garlic with water; the skins should remain dry. Once you've harvested your garlic you will never have to order garlic for planting again. Save your most healthy, very best garlic for planting next fall.
After your first frost you can dig your parsnips whenever you desire. A frost seems to bring out the sugar or sweetness in parsnips and they are much tastier, even though you can dig them anytime now. Also, after the first frost you can dig horseradish and I'm excited about making some horseradish mustard this year. I'm also searching now for something (and yes, there are lots of covers on the market) in my garage that I can use to cover my zucchini. It's blooming and I've got my fingers crossed that there's enough warmth in the year left to net a few more zucchini; but from the weather we have already had, I think they are going to need a little protection! I may have to content myself with preparing zucchini blossoms for my meals, which are pretty doggone tasty as well!!
Now is the time to start looking at digging your sweet potatoes because you'd really like to have them dug before the first frost in your area. Hubby and I are actually digging sweet potatoes this evening and it looks like perhaps Friday I will be gathering the pears and making pearsauce. I'm also still collecting figs but they are at last waning. I will miss them terribly!
Fall harvesting, for me, is much calmer. I don't know - I just seem to enjoy the cooler weather and I can work from dawn til dark and even sometimes forget to eat. It's such a great time to be outdoors and working seems so much easier and seems to sweeten the days.