Garlic planting and fall veggies

Well here are a few photos of us planting garlic.  We used our plastic mulch layer, without the plastic to lay a double drip line and make a nice smooth surface to plant the garlic.  We then used our water wheel transplanter to punch the holes where the garlic will be planted.  The last step is to get as many people out planting garlic as we can so the job  goes quickly. 

As you can see in the image to your right, we have the two of three rows covered after being planted.  I snapped this image so you can get an idea of what the prepared and planted rows look like from a distance.  

We still have some fall veggies growing under row cover.   Lettuce, Pac Choi and Broccoli are still happily growing under the row cover.  These cold hardy veggies can handle some sub freezing temps, but row cover helps trap the heat of the day and raise the night temps by 6-8 degrees.  This will be enough for us to finish the crops out until mid-november.  After that we will roll the row cover up and store for early spring crops.

Wire hoops under the row cover help to hold it away from the plants.  Heat is more efficiently trapped under the row cover when there is a raised “roof”.  This creates a small greenhouse effect.  We also are using some of the winter firewood to hold the row cover on.  It is amazing how easily this stuff will blow off if it not properly secured. 

As a final order of business for the day the two youngest boys along decided it would be great fun to use a jump rope as a tow cord.  The little plastic car came rumbling around the corner as Joe and I were covering the last of today’s transplanted garlic.  In the car was Johann squealing in excitement as Jake pulled him behind his bike.  I was just waiting for the thing to flip over, loose a wheel, etc.  I remember when I was that age.  Absolutely no fear.

Garlic Cracking

It is that time of the fall for planting garlic.  The first order of business is cracking apart the garlic bulb.  This is what you see in my hand to the right. 

This particular variety of garlic is called Music.  It is a Porcelin or “Hardneck” garlic.  Hardneck coming from the the hard, almost pencil like stick that will grow up from the center of the new bulb.  In order to plant the garlic we must first remove the white papery covering.  Inside the garlic bulb will be individual garlic gloves.  These cloves also have their own covering, but we don’t remove those to plant, only when we want to eat them.  This coming year we will have 6 varieties of garlic for you to enjoy, all with their own unique zest, but still very much garlic.

The garlic we are cracking here is additional garlic  that we purchased locally this year  to expand our planting.  Last year we planted about 13lbs of garlic.  This year we are planting about 130lbs of garlic.  In a good year we will get about a 600% to 700% yield over what we planted. 

The garlic clove to your right is quite an over achiever.  It is darn right huge.  Music is know for large bulbs that can weigh almost a 1/3lb each.  There we 6 of these cloves in the particular bulb I cracked.

It takes quite some time to crack open 130lbs of garlic.  The kids and grandma have all been helping.  Hopefully with the rain letting up over the last day we will be able to get into the field to plant.  It is the last item we plant for the year.  Garlic will also be the very first veggie to poke it’s new green shoots from the ground in the spring. 

I will try and post a few more images and maybe a video of us planting this weekend.  It is always interesting when you have kids ages 12-1 who all want to help.

Honeybear Squash Harvest

2012-Honeybear Squash2012 Honeybear Acorn Squash that we picked a few weeks back.  They turned out well considering all of the hot dry weather we had. You are looking at a little over 1000 squash.  This is about 1 and half of those large watermelon pallet bins that you see watermelon sitting in at the grocery store.

Tracy and the little kids spent a good part of the day picking each one by hand, putting it in a wheelbarrow and bringing it up to be washed.  We then lay them on the grass to dry and cure for a few days.  Each squash is hand harvested with a garden shears leaving maybe a 1″ handle.  Just enough to seal the squash so decay does not get inside, yet not enough that they poke each other when placed in a bin.

Hopefully next year we will have four or five times this amount, if we have a market for it all, ha ha.

End of Tomatos and Peppers

It was a sad day on Wednesday morning.  I received a call from Mom early in the morning.  She said that the the tomatoes and peppers were all killed by the 31F temps on Tuesday evening.  We spent some time covering the peppers as we had a lot of little ones coming, but it was no use.  The peppers that were set were still ok, but the plants were toast.

So we pulled off around 300lbs of peppers.  Most went to our customers, some to friends and our priests and consecrated ladies.  The rest we froze to use during the winter.

It is just so hard to see all of the tomatoes that were still sitting out in the field.  I guess this seasons tomato and pepper season had to end sometime.  Well at least we still have the broccoli, kale, collards, lettuce and pac choi to look forward too.  Ha ha.

The mad dash is also on to get the remaining squash, pumpkins, gourds, and melons out of the field.  Planting of cover crops can start now too.

It was a good day

Well it was a pretty good day.

  • Dug 75lbs of new potatoes
  • Took in 8lbs of collards and Chard, ten pounds of Kale.  There are a lot more collards out there, but it got too hot to continue picking.  Hot weather=limp greens.
  • 15lbs of Beans.  They are just getting started.
  • 22lbs of patty pan squash
  • Almost 20lbs of cucumbers.

We also picked a few quarts of strawberries.  One to bring to a friend at Church tomorrow who requested them.  The new patch has some really nice berries coming.  We need to weed again though.  It seems like the weeding NEVER ends.

I got the first string up on all rows of tomatoes and the second string on a few.  We run strings down each side of the rows of tomatoes and have T-Posts spaced every five plants.  We wrap the string, which is just baler twine, around each T-Post.  This keeps the plants growing up and off the ground.  This makes picking a LOT easier and keeps the diseases to a minimum.

Tracy did a LOT of work today.  She had a major sunburn across her low back area at the end of the day.  I think she was trying to stay cool and forgot about her bare skin.  She is REALLY sore. 

More fun tomorrow.  We have to get the rest of the peppers weeded and mulched.  Then onto the winter squash.  They need a really good weeding and mulch as well.

Ohh yea, mom let me know that the RASPBERRIES that we planted this year were delicious.  She let me know that she ate all of them that were ready as she was pulling the grass that was popping up.  I guess the weeder gets the spoils.  Ha ha.

The season is in full swing

Today will be the first really large picking day.  The temps of 100 degrees this past week has pushed many of the crops and they are maturing quickly.  Today we plan on harvesting:

  • Kale
  • Collards
  • Cucumbers
  • New Poatoes (Red Norlands)
  • Green, Yellow and Italian Flat Beans
  • Green and Yellow Zucchini
  • Patty Pan Summer Squash
  • Strawberries.

Some of the raspberries we put in this year are also starting to fruit.  We have pulled about a pint off of the Joan J plants.  Not much, but I am surprised we are getting fruit already.