Sunday, December 2, 2012

Good Clove, Bad Clove, Blue Bird

The best clove popping came from the Marbled Purple Stripe variety "Siberian." Here you can see big cloves with tight skins. Simply put, no problems, almost no throw-aways, and very easy to break apart.

You can see what I call 'mole's fingers' pushing out the clove skins at the basal plate. These are new roots growing, letting you know not to delay in planting. Not every clove is so eagerly growing roots, but they should all be planted. 

These two popped cloves have basal plates in good condition. The left has separated from the old stem of the whole bulb, while the right has taken a piece of the old stem with it. Both are great for planting.

This clove has been damaged at the basal plate during popping. The center of the plate has remained with the old bulb's stem. This kind of damage cannot always be helped, particularly with bulbs eager to begin growing. You may still choose to plant this clove, but it has a greater risk of disease because of the damage. Nearly 40 percent of the cloves of one or two varieties of my seed stock popped this way and I chose to plant them as long as the damage didn't extend past the basal plate. You'll know when this damage occurs -you will smell garlic.

On this last day of popping cloves, 5 hours of popping hundreds of bulbs, the farm was visited by a flock of Blue Birds, Sialia sialis. I couldn't get a decent shot with my phone camera, so this digital magnification will have to do. The birds enjoyed perching on the row labels, flying down to the rows and beds eating something from the soil, probably bugs (although I saw so few while I worked).

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