Showing posts with label garlic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label garlic. Show all posts

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Typology Of Scapes

The short-stemmed, rumpled and long-beaked Asiatic (Asian Tempest). 

The double twisting, pretzeling Porcelain (German Hardy).

A variation on the Porcelain (Music).

The three quarter looped Purple Stripe (Chesnok Red).

The corkscrew, double-looping Rocambole (Russian Red). 

And the occasional oddity such as this: the double scaping plant. This Porcelain 'German Hardy' has produced two scapes. But wait, you might say -it was probably a double clove!

But no, say I -they're both coming from inside the same leaf sheath. Only at harvest will the mystery be solved.

There are scapes produced by the Turban and Creole varieties, of which I have no current photos. There are also scapes produced by the Marbled Purple Stripe variety, but they tend to look just like the regular Purple Stripe. And sometimes, just sometimes, an Artichoke or Silverskin will push up a scape of relative insignificance.

Monday, June 2, 2014

An Elephant In The Room

The elephants are sending up scape, but no one is talking about it -yet. I will be surprised if this one, and the others like it, planted along the fence line isn't clipped by a passerby. The beauty of the elephant is its extended display from unique bulb and beak, to papery spathe's slow peeling, then a stellar explosion of white, lavender, or purple (I believe purple, but surprise me). In the meantime, I head out to the beach farm to check on the status of scapes, but mostly to harvest and plant more lettuce.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Garlic Shank Potatoes

Fridays have become a kind of domestic day this semester, often abetted by the promise of rain or cold. Things missed or avoided during the hectic work week are tackled, sometimes. A blog post, push harder on those taxes (they are complicated by farming), cook a little. Clean? Heck.

Beef shanks from Lowland Farm sprinkled with some of Hudson Clove garlic. Into the pan went the remaining braising sauce, frozen, from the two weeks prior pork hocks.

On garlic, I've come around to narrowing my choices for variety on the farm. Silverskin strains are in. They are small-cloved and less vigorous in the field, but they hold into the spring. Sure, some desiccate and some soften, but I've always managed to keep plenty well into May. I do this without any special storage conditions. Of course, fifty five to sixty degrees F and forty to fifty percent humidity would be ideal, yet I've kept mine in the studio where the humidity was glued to twenty five percent and the temperatures fluctuated from 70 through 90 this winter. I decided a month ago to bring them home where it was cooler with shifting levels of moisture. Still, most of the garlic has not sprouted or dried out. In other words -this is garlic to grow.

I learned something new about potatoes this winter. I had made the decision to buy only organic potatoes because conventionally grown are systemically treated with pesticides and fungicides. To keep prices in check I had been buying organic red, gold, and russets in three or five pound sacks. Here's what I learned -I shouldn't buy large quantities of potatoes beginning mid February because they'll sprout almost immediately. Shouldn't come as a surprise as garlic has a similar tendency, although I'm not at all familiar with the change of conditions required to promote potato budding and rooting. One bag of organic red and another of organic russets from two different farms (Colorado and California) sprouted within days to a week, so from now on, unless I will use them immediately, I will only buy individual potatoes after February.

So what to do with ten pounds of sprouting reds and russets? Against all proper advice, I think I will plant them at the beach farm. I've propped them in a window and will make a bed for them soon. The only concern is that these are not certified seed potatoes. Much like garlic, it is not common practice to grow potatoes from seed. This isn't because they do not produce seed, as is the case with garlic, but because potato seeds are highly erratic hybridizers, producing an incredible range of potato characteristics from sexual reproduction. This is a great trait if your a potato, but lousy if you are a farmer. So, like garlic, potatoes are propagated vegetatively.

Planting potato tubers is reliable and convenient but it also increases the chance of introducing disease organisms to the soil. Certified seed stock potatoes are grown and harvested, a selected lot then shipped off to a warmer climate (often Florida) and grown out for disease inspection all before the spring planting season. A farm's potatoes can be certified seed stock only if a great percentage of those potatoes growth-tested show no signs of significantly harmful diseases. When you plant store bought, organic food potatoes (conventionally grown potatoes may have been treated with growth inhibitors), there is always a risk of disease. I've discarded any damaged tubers and will plant only the healthy looking ones. No matter where you get your potatoes, there is always risk of disease. Let your level of caution be your guide.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Winter's Edge

Last Saturday, when the temperatures reached the high fifties, I made it a mission to get to the Beach Farm. I hadn't been in three months. The snow was still high in spots, bare ground in others. It was fun to think of how the wind and rain and objects colluded to mold the snow that had fallen.

Here, snow over a foot deep, sits in layers, a story of our winter's weather, a glacier on the rise.

And everywhere signs of November-planted garlic.

In the cool blue shadows, Allium sativum.

Where the sun has done its work, early garlic is proud.

Scanning the mounds and valleys, a pattern emerges.

Everywhere, garlic surmounts the crunchy snow.

 Upon quick inspection the crocus looked so neat, so orderly. Why?

Huh? Frost bitten? No.

Rabbits! Trimmed every set of leaves to the exact same height. Never even gave it any thought, the little buggers. Crocus sativus, tasty to rabbits with little to eat in the cold of winter. Good for rabbits, but not so much for next autumn's saffron.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Last of the Potatoes

I'm boiling the last of my Amagansett grown potatoes and a handful of sweet potatoes given to me by a farmer out at the barn. They'll be softened by the boil, then tossed in a hot pan with olive oil. Towards the end I'll put some butter on and chopped garlic. I've noticed my Artichoke variety garlic has gotten downright buttery raw, now. So good. The one at the top of the bowl is Artichoke. It's important to know how garlic changes as it sits, sometimes for the better, sometimes for worse. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Garlic Seed Stock For Sale

I have nearly two hundred of the highest quality, organically grown, seed-sized garlic bulbs for sale. Because I decided to scale back my production this coming season, yet my garlic seed was already on order, I paid for 2 times more garlic than I can plant. Now, I am offering this garlic seed for sale to you at my cost. I will not put this garlic for sale on my culinary garlic site, Hudson Clove. If you are interested in planting garlic, but haven't ordered any (you will find most sources have long ago sold out), send an email to with the strain and quantity you are interested in. I will email you back. Late October into November is the ideal time to plant garlic in our area, so you will receive your garlic exactly at the right time. $3.50 per bulb plus shipping if necessary.

I will receive additional varieties and strains later in the week and will add those to this list. Expect to see a few Artichoke (Lorz, Red Toch) , Silverskin (Nootka Rose, Silverwhite), Asiatic (Asian Tempest, Japanese), and Rocambole (Killarney Red). Below are photographs of the bulbs for sale, the strain, variety and quantity. 

Georgian Fire, Porcelain varietal (20 bulbs)

German Extra Hardy, a Porcelain varietal (17 bulbs)

Chesnok Red, a Purple Stripe varietal (26 bulbs)

 Russian Red, a Rocambole varietal (28 bulbs)

 Siberian, a Marbled Purple Stripe varietal (60 bulbs)

Xian, a Turban varietal (7 bulbs)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hudson Clove Live

The online garlic store is now open. Whew! Here you can buy an eleven bulb "gift bundle" or five varieties by the quarter pound. Please note that USPS shipping prices are quite reasonable if you are purchasing less than three pounds for shipment anywhere in the USA, but rise dramatically if your package weighs more and ships to any state south or west of the Appalachians. This new postal service pricing was a surprise to me and quite confounded my Paypal shipment price calculations. If you live far from the Mid Atlantic and you see a ridiculous price for shipping, you will save money by finding alternate sources in your region. Also, one final word on shipping: If Paypal doesn't utilize your current shipping address, please email me on the day of your order with your current shipping address. I can circumvent the Paypal shipping address it forces you to use and get the box out to you. Ok enough about all that.

You can also visit Hudson Clove on Sunday, September 29, at this autumn's first New Amsterdam Market near the old Fulton Fish market. Here, you will be able to buy garlic priced by the pound, one bulb or thirty, and mix varieties.  If I do not sell out at the September 29 market, I will return on October 27. Also, I was asked to return Sativum ? Sativum to Bartertown at the Dumbo Arts Festival on Saturday, September 28, in where else but Dumbo, Brooklyn. I will not be selling garlic, but will be offering free raw tastings, garlic education, and loose cloves to take home.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Beach Farm, MidWinter, Post Sandy

What a cheerful sight it is to see those over eager, warm-weather loving garlic varieties popping up so neatly in their rows. It warms the heart in the face of the cold winds and disarray. It's somewhat ironic that the warm weather garlic is the variety most likely to sprout and deal with the cold.

Ft. Tilden looks not a wink different from the days after the storm, except the Johnny on the spots dropped, well, on the spot. The garden has not seen any kind of improvement from park staff or gardener. We have yet to receive our contract, but should gardening here be on for the year, I doubt that much will be done that isn't out of the gardeners' initiative and that's how it should be. A little ownership, a little pride. Many things are needed, starting with a cleanup of so much crap. The fencing all around needs lifting or shoring. That can bring us to where we were before the storm. I'd like to see a compost corral instead of the useless compost bins. An incredible improvement would be some kind of pergola over at least part of the picnic area so you can take a shady break -but this is maybe out of the scope of the garden's core identity. Too luxurious.

Over at Floyd Bennett Field gardens, they're battling a natural gas pipeline regulating station to be built just down wind. You can read all about that on Karen Orlando's blog Outside Now.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nearer Than Eden

I am usually the only one at the beach farm at this time of the year, but this Sunday I was not alone. There was FEMA and the Red Cross, National Park Rangers from other states, sanitation workers, police, hovering copters, a ready fire department, and Wolf.

As I pulled into the lot I saw him moving slowly toward the garden, cigarette dangling from his lip. His restless and sweet autistic grandson with him as always, but given the cold wind, he remained in the car. Wolf thinks about planting his garlic now, although the work will wait until the new moon of early December. He planted this superstition in my mind last year, and I thought of it as I planted thousands of garlic cloves at the farm through dark nights of November's new moon.

Under Wolf's watchful eye, I turned over the garlic bed once again. It had settled under the inundation, now a stone's throw from its prior glory. In s-curves and coils on the surface, earthworms lay dessicated. As I turned each spade full, we scanned the soil for life, marveling at a termite, a wireworm, and two grubs. I brought a sack of alfalfa meal from the farm to rake into the bed, then, showing off the wheel dibble, marked rows for one hundred eighteen cloves of eleven strains from eight varieties and a handful of French grey shallots.

Afterward, I pulled the fennel seed from our plot, convinced that it would spread all over despite salt water inundation. In fact, the old plants were sending out new shoots -no matter the salt, no matter the season.

The crusty presence on top of the soil is salt. Sandy was a dry storm, for us, and it hasn't rained all that much here since the inundation, certainly not enough to wash the salt down through the soil. Sunday's strong northwesterly winds set grit to my teeth and left a mouth full of brine, reminding me of the hazards of bare soil. I collected a sample to send to a university that has begun testing soils for contaminants likely to have been present in the waters around the metropolitan area. Hydrocarbons, PCBs, sewage, et cetera, et cetera. I think we'll be clean, or at the least, cleaner than some.

As I left the blustery beach farm, I stopped to ask a NPS ranger what he thought would come of the garden. He said that he didn't know, that he was from another state and was only here to help out. He said the Park is a mess, in disarray, and they've a lot to do. Of course. We know that the NPS has, at best, mixed feelings about our little messy paradise. It has crossed our minds that the destruction and possible soil contamination could be reason enough to shut the garden down. I know some gardeners may not be coming back any time soon -they've lost their homes, so what's to garden for? Others will be back, if not until spring. Men like Wolf and myself are already back, turning our beds under the whopping of copters, planting our cloves to the electronica honking of a hundred lifting geese, all within the aura of disaster.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Bargain Basement

I'm looking to clear out the three or four hundred bulbs I have left as we gear up for planting this November. These bulbs are the smaller, less than perfect bulbs culled from those I sold previously. They will also be unlabeled. Mixed varieties, $6.75 by the pound. Interested, visit  Hudson Clove.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Shameless Self Promotion

A couple of events I have going on over the next month, this September, that you may want to check out.

The first is GO, on Saturday and Sunday September 8 and 9, from 11 am to 7 pm. Go is a Brooklyn-wide open studio weekend and nomination opportunity for inclusion in a Brooklyn Museum exhibit this winter. Since this open studio is borough-wide, there are probably a couple of thousand studios to visit. Bushwick has the BOS, Gowanus has the GOS, Dumbo has the DAF, the Brooklyn Navy Yard has its BNYarts. Why not go to a new neighborhood and see something different? See the art in your neighborhood and then come to Sunset Park!

Sunset Park has several artist studios to see between 39th Street and 32nd Street (the Chashama space is way way down on 59th Street). We have a bike rack in our building (55 33rd St.) and the D/N/R stop is a short distance away at 36th Street and 4th Ave. We also have a diverse, bustling community upslope (we're on the waterfront) that everyone should visit. Explore Sunset Park's 5th and 8th Avenue for a Chinese lunch or Mexican dinner. See Greenwood Cemetery, just a few short blocks away. Go bowling, make a day of it!

If you register on the GO site, you can nominate up to 3 artists for the Brooklyn Museum exhibit once you have visited at least 5 studios. It's easy, and we'll all have instructions as to how.


I was invited to participate in a project at the Dumbo Arts Festival on Sunday, September 29. Artist Heather Hart is putting together a project called Barter Town (Trading Post X: Tomorrow-morrow Land). I will have a booth where I will be displaying and discussing anything and everything about (yep, you guessed it) garlic!

I have a well-preserved specimen of Allium sativum ophioscorodon var. porcelain, roots to bulbils, that I planted in Minnesota last September. I will have varieties on display, seed stock versus food stock, immature bulbs, bulbils, American elephant garlic and Chinese elephant garlic, and more, and will try to answer any question you may have about garlic. Since this is Barter Town, no money or promises of money may change hands. Nothing will be for sale. You may barter your time, your email (for Hudson Clove updates), or your patience!

Of course, there are lots of other things to see in Dumbo normally, and certainly during the DAF. See the gorgeous glass-shrouded carousel, get chocolate, eat ice cream under the Brooklyn Bridge, crap -go to Starbucks.

It's autumn in New York City. Get out and enjoy it. I'll see you there.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Honey Garlic

This humble, dirty head of garlic is amazing. It's an Asiatic varietal called 'Japanese,' with at most 5 cloves per head and creamy yellow flesh. I harvested nine plants yesterday at the beach farm, nine plants which were given to me for free because other cultivars I purchased were quite small. These too were small, but I'm so glad that they sent them. Ahead of my satisfaction, I ordered a good quantity (although sale quantities are limited by most farmers) for next year's crop. It will take a few years to get these up to good numbers.

One head detached from its stem at harvest and was grilled. The cloves will begin to bubble through the skin -that's when you know they are ready. Grilled garlic has the consistency of a baked potato, but the flavor and sweetness are completely different. And this garlic, this garlic, tasted, to my palette and those I shared with, like clover honey! A distinct floral note above the starchy sweetness. I was blown away.

I highly doubt that this cultivar would produce the same after curing and I suspect it would be robustly garlic-flavored. But green, fresh from the ground, unbelievably like honey.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

First Fifty

It was a hot, high dew point day, the kind you happily fight traffic to make way to the ocean, the kind we've been having lately. The wind was strong off the ocean, and welcome.

I did have purpose, other than cooling off, and that was to harvest the Turban and Asiatic variety garlic. They had mostly scaped, and were browning leaves at a rate that made me nervous given the imminent threat of rain. We've had quite enough rain over the last several weeks, and good garlic prefers a week or so of dry down before harvest. It had only two days, and that was going to be enough.

I won't give the reason, although I suspect it had something to do with the decayed outer wrapper, that had almost every root bundle the home of an earthworm or two. Can you see him, dead center.

It is normal for the outer wrapper to decay in the final month of growth. The wrappers of garlic are all leaves. As the leaves dry down above ground, they decay around the bulb, underground. We do not want the garlic in longer than necessary because of the potential to lose more wrappers as more leaves dry down. The wrappers offer protection to the bulb in storage. If the splitting you see above became more severe, perhaps in several wrapper layers, it would invite moisture, soil, and disease. So the early bulbs need to be pulled when they need to be pulled, especially if rain is forecast. We heart our wrappers.

Incidentally, we had these mushrooms sprouting, all over, just underneath the soil line. At first we thought, we hoped, that they were puffballs, but I've come to the conclusion that they are immature stinkhorns, which seem to really like our wood chip paths.

A posed picture. The whole affair at the beach farm is a practice run and coal mine canary for our upstate garlic harvest. We should be about two weeks ahead at the beach farm, and now I know to ramp up my attention, as I've only been visiting the upstate farm once a month until now.

Well, the storm materialized to the northwest, and although threatening, never actually wrung any serious moisture on the beach farm.

As the clouds built, I did a cursory cleanse of the lettuce. Lettuce needs washing, and washing again. A snail and a worm or two figured out I was growing the stuff. The snails prefer the bib, the green and black 'pillars the romaine. Me -I'd rather eat snails with my lettuce. Watch out snails.

The first fifty. No, it has little odor once it begins dry down, but the soil drops and scatters. I'm still looking for a cure site for the next 1950 bulbs. I've got lots of ideas, some prime, some less so. The living room? Less than prime, but air conditioned which the bulbs take to quite well. There's a barn where I'm growing upstate, but right now that barn is up in the air -although I got wind that maybe the masons are coming to pour a foundation on my next visit. Well, I don't think I could ask. I need to find a local spot and I think it's entirely possible, with some fans, and a dehumidifier, and some luck.