|The hardneck garlic.|
A hot and colorful variety called music.
|The softneck garlic.|
Mellower than the hardneck and braidable,
this variety is called New York white.
We've been growing out the softneck garlic for three years now, giving some heads to CSA members and replanting the rest. We hope to harvest enough in 2011 to make a few garlic braids because who doesn't love edible art? About 100 of the hardnecks are from heads we grew this season. We wanted to try the variety out before we made a big investment in it. After tasting it we're convinced it's worth some of our money, land, time, and muscle to grow more. It's hot and mega garlicky and we've decided to make it our main variety for the CSA.
|Those things in the bag are potato onions.|
Each one will grow into a cluster of small to medium onions
that will keep for several months.
The potato onions are something altogether new to us. We love things that can be planted in the fall because fall planting means less spring insanity. Spring is crunch time for us. We are so busy with bed prep and seed planting and CSA payment collecting and tomato transplanting and chick rearing and lamb purchasing and (I could keep going here...) that we have been known to forget to breath. So, we're crossing our fingers that the potato onions do well and allow us to eliminate something from the spring to do list. There is one sure thing about farm life. We will never run out of new things to try.
Our favorite new things this year are our tractor and manure spreader. They don't look so new but they're new to us and truly life changing. My husband was able to create an acre of new growing space by plowing in his spare time and spreading manure without using a wheelbarrow is, to put it simply, revolutionary. The only thing missing is the callouses.
|The Tractor. A 1948 Ford 8N.|
Michigan girls love their Fords!
|A current sampling of our soil inputs.|
This is composted horse manure from
the local animal shelter.
|The Spreader. Full of composted manure and ready to roll.|
|Look at that compost fly!|
|Smoothing the bed.|
|Keeping things straight.|
After all of that prep, it is finally time to get down to some planting.
We lay the cloves out in a grid pattern, six inches apart in every direction, then poke them under the soil and compost so that the growing tip is about an inch below the surface....
The final step is to tuck the garlic in for the long winter. It's not unlikely that this garlic will be covered in two or three feet of snow come January, but it needs the insulation of hay during the early winter. The hay will also help keep weeds down, hold in moisture, and give the worms a nice place to live next spring.