It's hard to believe it was over a month since I last visited the garlic farm upstate. Is it because it has been so warm, the changes all around are less visible without the physical reminder of cool giving way to warm?
Upon seeing your work, only once in a month, you approach the field with a sense of apprehension and excitement. At first, taking it all in, quick judgement is made. Looks weedy, but not too weedy, Rocambole cultivars are too small, Porcelains strong, this is a small field, yet it's too big.
It's only when you get down into it, begin weeding, do I really know what's going on. The tallest garlic, by far the Porcelain cultivars, are just short enough to be straddled during weeding. I must weed rows in opposite directions or weeds are missed. Straw works well to inhibit weeds, but those that do make it force you to rout around looking for the hidden. Crab grass in the unmulched beds is sprouting strong now and is difficult to dispatch at such small size. I will need to be smarter about row widths and plant spacing for cultivation at the new farm.
On the right is Allium sativum ophioscorodon var. Porcelain 'Breezy Point.' I named this formerly nameless garlic after the neighborhood just west of the Beach Farm. The variety name Porcelain indicates beauty and fragility, but these are some of the strongest growing garlic available -it's no wonder Porcelain cultivars are the choice of northeastern farmers.
If I could find one bug on the garlic, this is certainly one that I would choose.
At the end of the day it's hard not to want to sit and stare at the field, even one this small. I typed into the phone my notes about each variety and cultivar and then it was time to head back to Brooklyn. I have to remind myself that this is an experiment in work, distance and time. The longer it takes, the less likely it is to succeed.