Monthly Archives: October 2015

Another Garlic Update

Since it rained on Friday, the only work we did on garlic was separating the bulbs of S&H Silver into individual cloves. This is the variety that we will plant the most of, so there were about 16 lbs. of these to take apart. Again, a lot of work. Saturday was a beautiful fall day, we started planting in the late morning and planted about a row and a half, first a few hundred Spanish Roja then S&H Silver, before we decided to break for lunch. With the added moisture in the soil from Friday’s rain, the planting seemed easier.

We decided to take advantage of this glorious weather and work some more after lunch. So taking frequent breaks for stretching, to prevent our muscles from stiffening up on us, we planted the rest of the S& H Silver and worked until near dark. At the end of the night we had approximately 3600 garlic cloves planted and mulched, and we could still move. We thanked God for the great weather and how well the planting was going, and we asked His blessings on our efforts.

I thought we might take a break from planting today, but being another beautiful day and since our bodies were not in too much pain, we decided to get started on planting the Chesnok  Red. Again we took frequent breaks from the planting (on our hands and knees) to get up and walk around and stretch. That is one of the advantages of working for yourself. We planted somewhere in the area of 1200 Chesnok Red and called it a night with only a couple hundred left to plant.

Several times during this process my husband has reiterated, “this is a lot of work” and “nobody in their right mind would be a garlic farmer,” so be warned, if you ever meet a garlic farmer, (I guess this includes me) they might be a little crazy. These statements also made me realize that I have three things going for me. First of all, my husband loves me very much and therefore is willing to participate in my crazy (garlic farming) idea, secondly, my husband is not afraid of hard work, and lastly my husband was born with garlic in his veins.

Save The Date

Craft Sale

WHEN: October 24th
(Sat) 2015, 9:00 – 4:00
WHERE: American Legion Merrick-Potter Post 566
34330 Bordman Rd., Memphis
ADMISSION: Donation of $1.00 each person over the age of 12

I will be selling Don’t Eat It Soap and Skin Care Products at this craft sale. It is a fund raiser for the American Legion. My sister Kathy will also be there with many of her handcrafted items. I not sure what all she will have, but she usually has baby blankets, must have camo baby bibs (this is what all the cool kids are wearing), pillow cases, and doll clothes that will fit American Girl Dolls. She also makes the lip balm holders that we sell. Hopefully she will comment below and tell us what she will have. There will be other crafters there, and what I really like about this sale is that it is all handcrafted items. It’s not to soon to start your holiday shopping, and buying locally hand crafted items is a great way to get wonderful gifts while supporting your local economy. We hope to see you there.

Garlic Update and Cold and Flu Season

We did not start planting this morning as I said we intended, but had we thought it through we probably would have realized that the cold morning temperatures and the wet ground were not going to be the best conditions for planting. We did go out after lunch and worked for several hours. We ended the day with the Red Toch and Music varieties completely planted, a total of about 1300 bulbs. We also mulched them with straw before we knocked off for the night. Since it’s supposed to rain over night I am not sure when we will get back to planting, this will depend on when the ground is dry enough, certainly by the weekend. We do plan on splitting up the rest of the bulbs tomorrow afternoon.

Now about cold and flu season, I am a big believer in natural medicines, and that is one of the reasons we grow garlic and several other herbs. I thought I would share with you a recipe for a homemade medicine. Oh, don’t bother asking your doctor, and no, your insurance won’t cover the cost, and in all honesty, you probably won’t like to take it, but in my opinion it works. It’s not my original recipe; I found it on this website.

http://wholeintentions.com/2011/12/want-to-stay-healthy-bring-on-heat/

I have been using it for the past two years. I take it anytime I start to come down with something and usually when someone in my house comes down with something, and I have not been sick. The first year I made this I made it with vodka, I still have some of this in fact, because after taking it once or twice my husband refused to take it anymore because it tasted so bad, but with the alcohol content it should be good indefinitely . So last year when I made it, I made it with Apple Cider Vinegar. Although it still has the burn, the vinegar does give it a better flavor.

If you would like to try making this recipe, and are in our area, let me know because we still have hot peppers available, we also have horse radish root that can be dug, and of course we have garlic for sale. Stay well! 🙂

This Is A Lot Of Work

We have decided that we can use the whole month, or at least what is left of it, for garlic planting. The last few years we have done all of the planting in just one or two days time. This was mostly because that is the time we had available to get it done and so it was a one or two day planting marathon. This year, my husband is home and working the farm, and thus far the weather is cooperating (no heavy rain in the long term forecast) so I said, “We don’t have to do it all at once. We can do little at a time.”

Because like everything farming, planting garlic is weather dependent, we decided we better get started while the weather is good so, last night we began by sitting on the living room floor and taking apart the Chesnok Red seed garlic bulbs. Seed garlic is simply the largest of the garlic that we harvested this year. Each bulb is unwrapped and split into individual cloves which are then replanted and will form a new bulb next year. As we were working on taking apart the bulbs, of which there are about 15 lbs., or approximately 180-190 bulbs with an average of 8 cloves each, my husband said, “This is a lot of work. I don’t think people realize what goes into growing garlic.” I have to agree with him on both points, and I believe that is why there are very few garlic growers around.

We finished splitting up the Chesnok Red today, followed by 11 lbs.  of Music garlic bulbs, then as we were working on the 10 lbs. of Red Toch my husband said, “Nobody in their right mind would want to be a garlic farmer.”  True, but I don’t think anyone has ever accused me of being in my right mind.

As I write this, my husband is tilling up the area where we will be planting the garlic. We had planted it with a cover crop of clover few months back in order to enrich the soil with nitrogen. We will be planting each clove by hand again this year, because even though I found out through a google search that they do make small (2, 3 & 4 row) garlic planting implements, I also found out that my closest dealer of these machines was in Lithuania (the country). Apparently there is not much demand for them in the U.S.A. The good news is that I just did a google search to confirm this and found out that there is now a dealer in Pennsylvania (just a tad bit closer to home). It is a little late to consider buying one for this years planting, but by the time we are done planting we might just decide to price one for next year.

The area where we will plant this year measures 75′ x 45′ and over the next several days or weeks we will become very acquainted with this nitrogen rich soil, as we will spend much time on our hands and knees, placing each of the several thousand cloves, root side or fat side down, about 3 inches below the surface and making sure it is covered with soil. We plant them in groups of 4 rows, about 6 inches apart. A couple years ago we bought a piece of lattice to use as a grid. We place the lattice on the section of ground to be planted. Then with my husband on one side and myself on the other we each plant the two rows closest to us. We then pick up the lattice and put it on the next section to be planted.

It is our intention to start putting garlic in the ground tomorrow morning. I will update on our progress soon.

Now Is The Time To Stock Up On Our Locally Grown Garlic

Our farm stand, like most farmers markets in the area, is weather dependent; meaning if the weather is good then we can operate, but when the weather is rainy or once the inevitable cold and snow arrive the farm wagon will not be open. Customers will still be able to contact us by phone or email, but the convenience of being able to stop and shop will be gone. Now is the time to stock up on locally grown garlic, before you find yourself standing in the grocery store buying bulbs that have traveled halfway round the world to get there. Our varieties (properly stored) should keep for at least 3 to 6 more months.

ABOUT GARLIC – DID YOU KNOW?

There are hundreds of varieties of garlic. (up to 600 hundred I’ve read)

Garlic takes about 9 months to grow. We will be planting soon and it will be harvested next July.

Fresh garlic is dried before it is sold. This allows the flavor to develop and the layers of skin to dry which allows for longer storage and easier peeling. The drier it is, the easier it will be to peel.

Garlic should be stored in a cool (55-65 degrees is best) location with plenty of air flow and out of the direct sunlight. Never in a refrigerator.

Properly stored garlic will keep for 6 to 12 months depending on the variety.

Once a bulb is open it should be used up quickly, as it will deteriorate quicker from this point.

Most of the Garlic sold in the U.S. is imported from China. California produces most of the garlic that is produced in the U.S.

Garlic is healthiest and tastiest when it is raw. To retain flavor and health benefits add to cooked dishes during the last 10 seconds of cooking.

Although we generally only think of eating garlic bulbs, the young greens may be harvested and eaten like chives, and the stalk which produces a seed head (called a scape) on hardneck garlic can be harvested when young and eaten as well. If you would like to try green garlic please ask us, as we do have it available. Garlic scapes will be available in June.