Harvest

Harvest is in full swing, about 70% complete! Most of you would be complete your harvest in normal garden growing conditions. Our gourmet garlic varieties were harvested in the 1st and 2nd week of August (planted sooner in Sept), and our field garlic (Music and Red Russian) were planted late (too late!) due to the heaps of rain in fall 2019, impossible to get a rototiller in the field, so a planter had to be fabricated, welded and implemented as quickly as possible. Still hand planted, but no tillage. Necessity is the Mother of Invention! Coupled with a cooler dry spring, we were glad for that fall moisture!

Our field garlic is looking real good, and the days and nights are long with going to bed on a different day than we got up! I am thankful for knee pads that save the knees and essential oils that soothe the back during the few hours of night! All our family is out there working together, working hard to get each row off the field and onto the dryer in the shop before nightfall! Temperatures are getting dangerously low at night to risk leaving the garlic outside to cure in a shady spot.

Orders are beginning to be sent out this week! Most of the gourmet garlic is sold out already, but there are a scant few left of some varieties (Red Rezan, which is such a beautiful glazed bulb with high number of cloves, great for pickling or fresh eating). We have limited bulbils available in most varieties. I am not surprised that many growers don’t want to bother with planting bulbils as it is heaps of work with no payback for 4 years, but that is the mission of our business. To provide the customer with a young garlic bulb (even if it is a large bulb). To provide seed that is close to the bulbil generation so that you have garlic for several years to come. Just as we want to retain heifers in our cattle herd to keep our herd young, we plant thousands of bulbils each year and grow them up. That is WHY we love our medium sized seed as it almost always upsizes in well fed soil. A young medium bulb (meaning last year it was a 2nd year bulbil smaller round) is bursting with energy to be a large bulb next year. We spring planted about 2000 medium cloves in a 100% winterkill area this year in a poorer clay, too wet location in the fall) in mid May and reaped a lot of XL bulbs, mostly larges and some mediums. Impressive!

Out to the field we go…have a great day and thank you so much for supporting farm families!!

 

 

 

Weeding and Scape Picking

It felt like my sleeping bag should be out in the garlic field during weeding season, but now that we feel a little more caught up with weeding, we are shifting gears to picking scapes and starting pickling!

There are likely different opinions about cutting scapes vs pulling scapes. The truth is, you will get more length if you carefully pull straight up, which is a benefit for pickling, but we have found that the integrity of the plant is compromised and can flip over. Does this adversely affect the plant? Maybe not, but the poor looking, droopy garlic plant gets my sympathy, and so we either cut or snap our scapes. A load of them were fed to our pigs today! Healthy dewormer!

We are still feeding our garlic compost tea, and the garlic is loving it! Lady bugs are busy, earthworms are all over, mushrooms grow at the base of garlic plants (a healthy sign) and we are happy to have mulched garlic that is enjoying some cooler soil temperatures during the hotter part of summer. We have enjoyed some beautiful timely rains (was super dry in the spring, and thanks to the mulch, the ground didn’t dry out…we JUST were starting to water late June when the sky opened up finally!) May and June combined were about 1″ moisture, and since June 24th, we have had 4.5″ of rain spread out. I feel sorry for most of northern SK, AB who have been inundated with rain and little sunshine.

Orders have been steadily coming in, and several gourmet varieties are getting low in availability, and some sold out already. Once the garlic is harvested and curing started, orders will be sent out–the first week of September hopefully!

Thank you for your support of our small family farm!

Garlic Mulched

Garlic Mulched

How comforting it is to feel moisture under the ground! The 4″ of wood chip mulch was added just after planting in the fall. It has been dry during all of May and most of June, with the odd shower. In the foreground are first year bulbils growing, fall planted of a purple marbled stripe. In the background is clove garlic fall planted. The mulch creates even moisture, but the real benefit is when the heat sets in for summer, keeping soil temperatures in a range that is healthier for garlic.

Late Harvest in Full Swing

Well… in the 10 years of us growing a few acres of garlic, we have had TWO September harvests! A weird year of gardening for most in the prairie provinces but the garlic looks beautiful! A cool, dry spring gave us a slow start this year. We normally would be sending garlic out to you by now, but we are just getting it out of the ground..in the rain! Thank you for your patience with us, and we will do our best to be sending out garlic beginning the 15th of September because of this delay! You should have it in time for fall seeding! We want the garlic well on it’s way curing before it gets sent.

Our mission is to send you young, healthy, robust garlic full of vigor! To fulfill this mission, we go through the painstakingly tedious process of growing a lot of bulbils every year, plant rounds, yield not so large but fat healthy cloves garlic to send you! The FOLLOWING year, you should see an amazing upsizing. That means those medium bulbs with 3 or 4 fat cloves in them should be some amazing large or XL garlic next year for you! Another analogy is, as my husband is a cattle rancher, is like we are selling you young bred heifers and not the 20 year old cow… Many garlic growers may go the easy route and crack bulbs, plant cloves, harvest bulbs, crack bulbs, plant cloves, harvest bulbs…but this cow does pieter out and eventually die!

How does your soil look? Does it smell like sweet awesome dirt? Our goal with compost tea, straw and wood chip mulch, not rototilling is our goal..(getting there slowly for that one as it disturbs the microbial climate in the soil) is to see earthworms, soft soil, a poly culture (did you know garlic does better with some weeds, or weed select for those legumes!), and a healthy fungal climate too…mushrooms! Right next to those mushrooms are growing healthy stalked garlic!

Harvest happening!

The garlic growing companions! Healthy fungus and a few (ok, maybe not just a few) weeds, yes!!

Garlic is Growing!

This year at first posed many challenges, but after a rainy June, things look pretty good! A delayed, cool, and dry spring following a dry fall, meant a delayed emergence, but almost no winterkill noticeable! We have been blessed with warm, but not TOO hot of weather in July so far! We are feeding the garlic with compost tea and soil bugs to help to build a microbial environment that is healthy.

We are expecting a slightly delayed harvest mid August this year and we will be sending out orders beginning the first week of September. We are doing trials with straw and woodchips as mulch on the garlic this year. It looks very promising! Most of the garlic planted is young seed, about 2 to 3 generations from the bulbil, so an upsizing should be expected in your seed you receive from us! (Meaning a medium bulb cracked apart and planted, could yield a large size under ideal growing conditions).

June weeding!!! If you dont use enough straw….you will be weeding forever!

Spring is Here!

The days are getting warmer, the wind is blowing and drying things up! I am still a bit nervous to remove the straw on the garlic,  but if the weather forecast holds as it looks, we will be removing the straw to expose the ground! We plan to slowly add it back onto the garlic to retain a bit more moisture–our trials with that last year proved it successful!

We have exhausted all bulbs available now for spring, so now can put together clove packages of 8 cloves per package for spring planting. These are from med and large bulbs that are either damaged or have one poor clove, so the bulb was culled, and yet has a few plump and very good cloves for planting.

We are heading into harvest shortly! A bit of delayed spring (2 wks later this year) has delayed harvest slightly but the garlic has amazingly caught up! We will be sending out orders beginning Sept 1st. Thank you for your orders! Some things are selling out quickly!

Spring!

Spring has finally sprung! Winter seemed long and cold, but here in Saskatchewan, we can be surprised by nothing. The mulch has been removed and we are awaiting signs of shoots emerging.

Spring planting garlic cloves is an option now, and we have a few Red Russian cloves available for that purpose.

Happy Gardening

Sept~~ Sending out orders!

What a beautiful garlic crop this year!  And most amazing, is that we can’t find any evidence of winter kill with the numbers planted, and the number harvested this year!

We are packaging up orders and sending them out this week! We are pleased to announce the launch of our NEW and updated website here providing customers with a shopping cart! There is still work to do with it~~one being the order of other items of garlic powder and sweet garlic jelly, and pickled scapes, so if you do want to order those, fire me an email and we can arrange that too!

We are selling out already on some of the gourmet varieties! Our main crop is Red Russian and Music. We do also grow 39 other varieties, and more coming! The gourment varieties don’t ALL grow to be huge bulbs (they are not all genetically meant to), but pack some awesome flavor!

Aug 3 ~~Harvest has begun!

We had a VERY dry summer and have been irrigating all summer it seems! We had a three inch rain all at once in June, and it has been measured by the drops since! We might get 20 drops, 5 drops…we have nearly forgotten what the wet years were like! Anyways, harvest is here! We are harvesting our Rocamboles first! They come on a little earlier than the Porcelains!  11 days of harvest! We are able to lift about 10,000 bulbs a day give or take. The weather, as I mentioned, is beautiful–kinda like the Arizona desert at the moment. Lots of drinking water required, and these are the days I am glad I have buried some much needed prepared meals in the deep freeze!