Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Garlic Green

The march of garlic.

Griselle, or French Grey Shallots. They are spidery and prolific, I very much enjoy these.

Tuscan, a turban variety will harvest early. I am growing these at the beach farm as well.

All garlic is doing better upstate than at the beach farm. There are several reasons for this:
  • Colder weather kept the garlic from sprouting last December-January.
  • There has been much more rain and even some snowfall upstate.
  • Geese didn't eat the fertilizer or smash the leaves while doing so.
  • The soil is practically pure compost.

The corn gluten meal was evident a month after I spread it. In this row it appeared to be working, but that could have only been because the soil here is pure compost and virtually without weed seeds.

This row, which you can see has only some compost mixed in, contains some corn gluten too, but also the menacing sprouts of crab grass. May weeding will be rough. It took me about four hours to weed this month, while last month took about three. Next month? The straw definitively held down the weeds, but made weeding those that did sprout much more difficult.

Thankfully, fearful that it would be cold, I brought my trusty thermos filled with hot, hot coffee.

The sun occasionally came in and out, warming my rear as I weeded. It wasn't all that cold, and I never needed more than my t-shirt and windbreaker. These are a porcelain variety and are most vigorous.

The blue-tinged leaves of this rocambole are beautiful.

Some varieties have been performing poorly. From the many tossed before planting, to the many I pulled for being stunted, to the lackluster growth in general, I can only blame myself. When I realized that the three varieties growing less than perfect were from the same farm, I revisited that old dictum -you get what you pay for. None of these three will be available for seed this year -they will be food. I will purchase high quality stock to replace them, killing the cost savings of growing a season's seed stock one's self -penny wise and pound foolish.

Everything else is looking quite good. Some varieties are a little small, but again, this is due to the original seed stock. Although some farmers sell at seed-stock prices, their product fell short of seed quality. In this case the quality issue was smaller sized bulbs and cloves. The healthiest garlic grows from the largest seed stock. Large seed stock garlic is more difficult to grow because it requires a certain amount of care and attention that, at scale, translates into higher prices. In the garden it is easy as pie.

Around 5 o'clock it was time to head back to Brooklyn. The plot seemed quaint, diminutive even, despite four hours perpendicularly bent. Old straw and rain made the mulch warm to the touch,  my nose close to spring's sweet decomposition. I don't recall who said that farmers' do not aestheticize the land, do not pull up from work to notice the sunset; those are the ideas of poets.

Next week I will be meeting with the Peconic Land Trust in regards to participating in their farm program. One full season of small-scale growing incomplete, I can hardly imagine what scaling up ten times will mean.


  1. Fingers crossed for you at that meeting Frank! Hope your garlic farm happens.

  2. Wow and wow! I love seeing all those rows of garlic. It's gorgeous!

  3. Very nice seeing this project evolve and grow. Inspiring!


If I do not respond to your comment right away, it is only because I am busy pulling out buckthorn, creeping charlie, and garlic mustard...