Spring Growth

Spring Growth

Monday, October 5, 2009

Garlic Numbers

Hi all,
Many of you have asked us recently how much longer the summer CSA lasts. The summer CSA is not aptly named - it begins in the early summer and last 'til late fall for a total of 26 weeks! That's half a year. The "summer " CSA will continue until the week before Thanksgiving. Keep out those forks a bit longer.
The crew is planting garlic today - the job will probably take about 2 days or so. The field has been ready for 3 weeks - we've been waiting on a couple dry days to get in there. Now is our chance. Garlic is one of those crops that almost everyone wants more of. We plant 8 200 foot beds of it - three rows to a bed, garlic spaced at 9 inches. One clove of garlic makes one bulb of garlic. We're are planting a little over 5000 cloves of garlic, which, if each bulb has an average of 5 good cloves, works to about 1100 BULBS of garlic that we need to plant. That sounds like a lot of garlic. Next year in August we'll harvest about 5000 bulbs again, of which about 1100 will go right back into the ground for 2011's harvest. There are several tricky things with this crop. One is that no matter what you do you are only going to get about 5:1 yields from the crop (because each bulb yields about 5 cloves) That's not much of a yield when you compare it to say, lettuce. Have you seen how small lettuce seed is and how many seeds on lettuce plant produces? The other tricky thing with garlic is that it is in the ground for a long time. We dig it around August first - store the best bulbs for planting, and then plant around now. When studied from the point of view of a year there is not much down time. In farming more time in the ground means more time to keep the crop weed free, and more fertility needed to grow a premium bulb. Garlic is worth it - but it's special. It's a good thing it's made so pungent. I hope you enjoyed this foray into garlic farming. If you want a picture into me and Paul's brains in January when we're writing our seeding schedule for the season - there's a tiny glimpse.
head lettuce
kale, collards
hot peppers
some kind of allium

Raspberries and blackberries - STILL PLENTIFUL - come and pick some. Really.
chard, kale, flowers
hot peppers - 3 quart season limit.

Thanks all and see you at the farm,

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