Thursday, May 24, 2012

Measured In Distance And Time

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.

 The French Grey shallots, Allium oschaninii, are doing quite well, having gone from one shallot to several in 7 months. I like this math.

 If I could find one bug on the garlic, this is certainly one that I would choose.

Weeding a plot this size by hand always takes about three hours and I am pretty thorough. I ran out of straw and so chose not to mulch the three Silverskin rows. Of course, this is where the crab grass sprouts are making headway. I ran the hoe along the outer edges, making sure not to nick the stems or sink deep enough to cut into the bulbs. In between I ran the hoe on its corner.

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.

Although my departure was stymied by this little guy. As my generous host and I chatted on our way out of the driveway, I noticed a stone still baby rabbit at the edge of the garage. It took us an hour to get him out of the clutter (the more space you have, the more stuff you keep), so we could close the garage door without trapping him inside. We let him go near some stuff and tall plants for protection and I was on my way.


  1. The cutest little rabbit! The garlic looks terrific. Will you be selling half of them at a farmers' market, or are these for your home use?

    1. I will probably sell most to friends, family, acquaintances this year, but I will also offer variety packs on our website!

  2. At first I thought Agatha was asking about the rabbit for sale at the farmers market, or for home use

    What kind of bug is that?

    My Belarus and Maiskij varieties of garlic are [e]scaping

    1. No, I just love rabbits, had them as a pets as a I go to the Cranford Rose Garden at the Botanic Garden to visit them and watch them frolic and scamper along:D. Oh yes, what kind of bug is that!?

  3. Yeah, what's with the bug? Don't be a tease.

    Looks quite wonderful. The garic, not the bug And the wabbit.

  4. I cannot believe you guys don't know what kind of bug that is!
    If I must, it's a lightning bug, firefly, you know.

  5. But, fair...he's dark!

  6. agreed,no fair. the bug is extinguished.

  7. You guys must be creatures of the night :-)


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...