Imagine my surprise when I found out I have coronavirus antibodies in my blood. That means I’ve had the virus but didn’t know it. At the time I found out, no one could tell me if that meant I was immune. Since then, I’ve heard the virus is mutating. So my antibodies are either my shield or are no protection at all.

I stay at home, tending to my plants. I’d say tending to my garden, but all my veggies this year are in containers and grow bags. They need me (to water daily).

They are good company; we have some deep conversations as well as some frivolous ones.

Yes, quarantine is starting to get to me a bit, just like everyone else. So I’m always looking for something new to do, or think about.

My latest endeavor is black garlic.

Black garlic, when done to perfection, is black through and through. It’s about the consistency of a gummy bear, and supposedly as sweet as candy. Good for snacking? I’ll have to let you know.

As I write this, mine is not done.

I have three full cloves of garlic, as much of the outer layers of papery coating brushed away as possible, with still a protective covering in place. They are in the bottom of my snack-size Crock Pot, not touching, cover on, heat setting at “keep warm.” Been there for a few weeks as I write this.

In a couple of months, I will know if I have been successful. Meanwhile, my house smells very much like an Italian restaurant.

Lar says it will be the most expensive garlic we have ever eaten. But how much can it cost to keep a little tiny Crock Pot at “keep warm” for a few months?

As moisture has been accumulating on the cover, I have been wiping it away, though I know the process actually needs some moisture. I’m trying to ferment the garlic.

A long time ago when I made onion wine, I wished I had put a clove of garlic in each bottle to infuse it, or included the garlic in the fermenting process. I never made onion wine again, so I don’t know if it would have been perfect or not. Now, I’m fermenting garlic without the onions.

I don’t know how I will use my black garlic — if it turns out. But the black garlic salt I have had tastes so sweet and buttery, I know I’ll find a use for it if I search the Internet long enough. I can’t imagine eating it as candy, but we’ll see.

I am using store-bought garlic for now. When I see how it turns out, I’ll decide whether to use any of my home-grown garlic for the next batch if there is a next batch. I’m digging it now.

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The output of my green beans and Dragon Tongue beans in a bag is disappointing. I expected to have less yield, but I had hoped for more than I’m getting. I barely had enough to give to the fella I trade beans for morel mushrooms. I must do better next year! More bags? Go back to in-ground planting? Not decided, yet.

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Since my veggies have started producing food, I’ve been fertilizing once a week. It has made a world of difference in what they produce. Every Saturday morning, I make the rounds with my teaspoon and my plant food, followed by me and my watering wand.

As I look over the beautiful fenced-in garden I have, with nothing growing in it, I realize I am wasting a most perfect resource, and I regret that.

Before the summer is over, I will clean out my garden and cover once again with black tarps, and next summer, I’ll have a real, actual garden.

Like all of you, I am thankful gardening keeps me as sane as possible, and I hope The Virus leaves us soon.

Meanwhile, stay safe, stay healthy, and go have a good, long talk with your plants!

Jean Lundquist is a master gardener who lives near Good Thunder. gardenchatkato@gmail.com

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