Monday, August 12, 2013

Garlic Harvest, a week later

After one week the harvested garlic was ready for a trim. I cut the tops off to about 8 inches on all except the European porcelain. 

These were not quite as ripe and the tops were still quite green compared to the others.
I kept a few of the bulbil tops just in case.

These are the teeny tiny ones from the Porcelain type.
Since there were a few head that were a bit loose and when that happens it seems sow bugs find their way into the heads. I brought several into the house to be used soon.
I also decided a batch of melted garlic was in order, so proceeded to do that. Here is the procedure from a Facebook note.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Garlic Harvest 2013

The first week of August seems to be the time garlic gets harvested. The date doesn't vary much from one year to the other. Monday of this week was the day. The garlic seemed to do a bit better than some years. Trying to figure out what made the difference may be difficult. My opinion is the application of eel-grass as a mulch in the fall. It was the first time we had access to that marvelous amendment. It obviously gave a nice protective layer for winter, but also prevented any significant weed growth throughout the growing season. We also had no great periods without some rain.
There were just shy of 240 cloves planted last October. All were hard neck varieties of various names and sources. I had removed the majority of the scapes a few weeks ago, but I don't think I can say whether those with scapes left on were any poorer than those with the scapes removed. 
I didn't do much with this basket full of scapes except to make an experimental batch of garlic scape pesto. I don't think I am overly thrilled with it.

Every row would have a few heads that were a bit punier than others. anyway. The maturation of the scapes is also an indication that the heads below are ready for harvest. I doubt we will bother planting any of the little bulblets from the scapes, but you never know. It is quite a lengthy procedure and I seem to lose track before the heads get to a significant size.
The overall best performer would have to be the European Porcelain we obtained from the folks at Landsdowne Horse Logging in Pictou County.  We met Corey and Justin Smith at the Garden Club Fall Rally , 2012.

The plants and harvested heads were beautifully robust. They were also the least ripe of any, so they could conceivably have been left a few days, at least this year.

I am always concerned lest I leave them a bit too long and get rewarded with splitting heads. This year almost all were just right. There may have been three or four heads that were a little loose, but that was all.

I love the garlic harvest. The soil in the bed is a delight to work in. The slight loosening along the row is all that is required to lift the heads. 
Other years I have given the freshly lifted heads a bit of a wash, but chose not to do that this year.
We also have a different spot to dry and cure the heads. Our tent-like shelter is still up over the picnic table, so this was the spot of choice. It is as airy as anywhere and no sun gets to the table.
I set up mesh trays mounted on other mesh tray so air circulates all around. This also prevents any sowbugs or other creatures from settling in. 

Every day I rearrange the heads a bit, but I don't think they are crowded.
The first wheelbarrow load consisted of a variety that I have no name for, but seems to be a common one grown here in Antigonish County. These were obtained from Isabel Rochas who operates LaFrayere Garden in Georgeville.

The second batch were from Jack MacLoed who grows many vegetables and tree fruits in Lanark. He sells his produce at the Antigonish Farmer's Market each week of the season. I am pretty sure the varieties from both these places are the same.
I had also planted a couple of varieties from Botanus last fall. Music and German White. Music is quite a common variety and the small row did okay. 

The German White was alright, but not nearly as nice as the European Porcelain.
Each year after the garlic is harvested we plant a cover crop of buckwheat on the patch. Bill was pretty swift getting at that job and had the bed smoothed out before the last row was even harvested. Part of the seaweed was raked aside for another use.

The picnic table was completely full by the time I was finished. 

Ringo loves to lounge there, so was a wee bit put out (or perhaps I just imagined that!). Grace always helps.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Summer is zooming by

August 1st has arrived and that means we are getting dangerously close to summer's end.
Day lily season is in progress and we have been enjoying our own selections plus those of a couple of other day  lily  aficionados.
Here is a link to some of our day lily varieties
Last Saturday we had a pleasant visit to Truro to visit Pheasant Gardens. Cecil and Lillian Dunlap have a lovely range of plants, many of which they have for sale via their website. Cecil visited our June Garden Club meeting and left behind a sample of Night Beacon for everyone. 
Ours is in bloom this week.

Bill and I went up to Arisaig Tuesday and had a tour of Dave Runnalls' Day Lily garden. He has over 400 varieties and they were in glorious form.

Needless to say there were a few samples which are bound to get on a wishlist for next year.
One named 'JT Davis' is reminiscent of lemon pie.

We picked a nice bunch of Sugar Lace Peas today along with the first cucumber. Beans are almost ready, so we hope the deer do not make a return run. There were some fresh tracks out near the pole beans. That is the first we have noticed since very early spring.
Today was partly spent installing a new refrigerator and all that that entails. I guess it will take a few days to figure out the best distribution there.