What a beautiful fall we have had here on the farm! For the most part, the days have been bright and sunny with just a few days of welcome rain interspersed here and there. Halloween came and went so quickly but not without lots of fun with Coulter as he posed as a “C-alligator” while Trick or Treating at the Artery and at Kathy B’s!
Coulter also found my Halloween stash of goodies and says BOO!
Here is a bit of information about garlic directly from the seedsavers.org. label. Who knew but “Garlic dates to Central Asia 4000 B.C. Fed to pyramid builders, used as currency, and found in King Tut’s tomb in Egypt. In Rome, consumed by Olympic athletes & game cocks for strength. In Israel, for aphrodisiac effect; conversely avoided by celibates in other cultures. Used as medicine in India, China and by Hippocrates. Currently, over 600 sub-varieties cultivated all over the world.” What? No mention of vampires????
So, the old adage for planting Garlic is: plant at Halloween (duh, vampires, right!) in order to harvest on 4th of July. Don’t you love the holiday calendar for planting advice!?! The other advice is to plant after the first light frost in your area. In fact, when I ordered our garlic, Seed Savers Exchange had a specific ship date for our region (Sept. 28) so as not to send out too early. We eat a lot of garlic here so I ordered plenty of two varieties: 0919A German Red (5 bulbs) and 09922A German Extra Hardy (1 pound). Here is how they came to us.
Dave helped to prepare the area in advance by using the small Mantis tiller so I was able to follow the planting instructions with ease. Here are the German Red bulbs before I separated the cloves to plant them.
I separated the bulbs, trying to keep the individual skins in tact for planting as instructed. Funny, but when you go to use a garlic bulb for cooking it is sometimes a hassle to get the skin off. But, when you want to plant them with the skin on…it seems they want to shed their skins and bare their bulb! Arg!
Instructions were to plant each clove 6-8″ apart in loose soil which I did. It was amazing how many cloves I planted from this group of starts! I’m hoping for a large batch of garlic next year! I think I must have planted well over 50 individual cloves which will turn into as many bulbs (fingers crossed!) of garlic next year!
We have weathered several light frosts without a lot of damage to our fields, in part due to the fact that we have covered much of the cool season crop area with plastic (when needed) with good success. Many of those plants can deal with weather as low as 28F degrees and are still thriving since we have not reached that juncture at this point.
So we continue to bring in (and process) lots of spinach, swiss chard, kale, lettuces, turnips, radishes and scallions and are are still hoping to harvest the broccoli, and Brussels sprouts before the temps get too far out of hand. The carrots, cabbages and leeks are still looking fabulous too and can take pretty cold weather!
Our grandson, Coulter is keen on inspecting the crops on a daily basis. Here he is, in the midst of the broccoli and Brussels sprouts on his own “John Deere Tractor” recently!
Other fall chores continue. With 3-4 inches of rain predicted for the next couple of days we worked on gutter cleaning this weekend. It isn’t a very fun job but the blue sky and last of the ginko tree leaves made for a beautiful day to work at it. The Ginko will lose it’s leaves any day…they seem to drop all their leaves at once!
Harvest totals for 2015 are less than impressive compared with other years but the fall, cool season harvesting has helped to save the day. YTD we are at 775lbs of produce which is down significantly from last year but given our circumstances, we are glad to be harvesting still and we will try to extend the current season as long as possible.