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.


  1. All looks wonderful. Thinking garlic soupy thoughts...

  2. Scapes coming to a 10 square foot kitchen near you.


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...