Warding Off Vampires at Sunflower (Garlic) Farm

| 8/10/2012 8:57:55 AM

Tags: garlic, leek moth, gardening, organic, Cam Mather,

The garlic harvest is in, and it’s been a good year. Now the work begins cleaning it.

I like growing garlic because I get to plant it in the fall. When it’s cool. And wet. It used to take me a few days. Now it takes more than a month.

We bought about $10 worth of garlic when we moved here 14 years ago, and have probably added another $20 worth over the years. But most of the 15,000 heads I planted last fall all came from the original investment. When it’s time to plant, you break up the heads into cloves, and there are roughly 8 cloves in each head. So one head turns into about 8 new heads the following spring. So your garlic collection grows exponentially over time. As does the work involved.

Like everything else in the garden this year the garlic was ready almost 3 weeks earlier than usual and as usual, I ended up harvesting it in the brutal heat. But I’m getting used to that.

After you dig the garlic up, you have to dry it. We have racks all over the place …  3 in the horse barn, 2 in the wood shed and now 6 in the garage. When it was time to set up the racks in the garage I was pretty sure that I had two 2 sets of racks. The racks are “A” frames with a rack on each side, so I thought I had 4 sides to hang the garlic on. But when it came time to set them up I could only find one set. I looked all over the property but could not find the second rack. Eventually I was sure it had been stolen. And since it’s huge, cumbersome and covered in nails, this seemed kind of unlikely. And really, who would want such a bizarre looking apparatus? But that’s the way my mind works. It’s kind of terrifying, this whole getting old and forgetful.

Finally Michelle sent an email to Gwen and Dave, who helped us here last year during garlic season, and low and behold Gwen had a photo of just one rack. Turns out I had bought the nails for the second rack; I just hadn’t built it yet. But apparently buying the nails and having the intention to build a rack one year caused my “Dr. Pepper-addled brain” to think that I had already built it.

Andrew Markley
8/14/2012 4:01:24 PM

Wouldn't reseeding with bulbs that had leek moth damage just make the crop more genetically susceptible to the moth? I know that reseeding with the damaged bulbs is much more economical, but I would do the opposite if possible.

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