Showing posts from June, 2016

Harvesting and Curing Garlic

Here we are, it's been nine months since you pushed those wee cloves into the ground. You have watched them sprout and grow taller and taller, with great excitement and anticipation... but, what happens now? When to harvest and how to cure?

Northern Quebec Garlic bulb
How exactly does one know it is time to harvest?

These ones are ready to go
Exactly is a loosely used term when it comes to garlic harvest. One can quickly go from a bit too early to a bit too late.  
First, stop watering when you harvest the scapes, which is 3 to 4 weeks before you harvest the bulbs.

Next, keep an eye on those stalks. Harvest when the bottom 3 to 5 leaves are yellow or brown and top 4 or 5 leaves are still intact and greenish. So... each stalk is half green and half brown.

Some people leave them a bit longer, but waiting longer than 4 leaves makes me pretty nervous. Each leaf is actually a skin, a wrapper, on the garlic bulb itself. Therefore, if one waits too long, the skin splits open, soil and bac…

Leaf Issues

What a start to the gardening year. Plants are showing all kinds of signs of environmental stress.

Tomato leaves curling upwards

Leaves are yellowing, browning, curling, spotting, and streaking. What is going on and what is an organic gardener to do?

Powdery mildew on rose bud and leaves Powdery Mildew 
Powdery Mildew showed up really early on roses this year. All these muggy, grey days allow fungal spores to form and spread with abandon. 
So what can one do about p/m?

First of all, make sure that you have really good air flow around your plants and water in the mornings, avoiding splash back .... then spray the mildew with either water or milk.

If the mildew is new and just starting off, blasting the new growth with a strong spray of water washes off fungal spores before they take hold and really get going. Do this in mornings or early afternoons only, and preferably on a sunny day so that you are not adding to the problem. 
Spray Powdery Mildew liberally with milk mix

My go-to fix fo…

Early Garlic Harvest

Is early, so very early... but the Italian softneck garlic is ready to be lifted.

Italian softneck artichoke garlic
How to know if it yours are hardnecks or softnecks? The softnecks do not make scapes, all the leaves are soft and pliable with no hard stalk up the centre. This lack of a stem is what makes them braid-able. 
Our dry, mild winter here on the west coast, along with a drier than usual spring, has brought on an earlier than ever harvest season. I will not lie, I wish it would have been a tad rainier this year, as that would have made for bigger bulbs.

My soft-necks this year range from really nice and plump to kinda small and bitsy. Will use the small ones for cooking and save the bigger ones for fall planting. 
Here you can clearly see that 3 leaves have yellowed.
How to know when to harvest? 
When the bottom 3 to 4 leaves have turned yellow/brown, is time to lift your garlic.  
At 3 leaves, I gently brush the soil away from a couple of bulbs to check on them. If all is well, …

June Garden Ramblings

So here we are at the start of another month and the end of the spring 2016 season at the greenhouse.

Folks are often surprised to hear that I close for the summer, but it has always been thus. By the end of May or early June, most folks pretty much have their gardens in. Therefore, as a kitchen gardening greenhouse, it seems like a pretty reasonable time to shut down...

Plus, I must admit, by this time I am pretty much pooped right out, too ; ) 
So... Tis gardening season for me now ...

Heirloom Blue Podded Peas
 What is going on in the garden right now? 
While May was unseasonably hot and dry, June began with grey skies and the occasional drizzles. This certainly makes it easier to keep seeds moist till they germinate.

Germinating carrot seeds
Carrot seeds can take  a really long time to germinate.. anywhere from 7 to 21 days and must be kept moist the entire time or you risk losing them all. Therefore, using burlap sacks or sheets helps to keep your seeds moist while conditions are …