Using the Long Days (Newsletter)

freshly harvested garlic at polka dot hen produce
The garlic harvest begins! Here the largest and best heads of Stella wait to have their roots trimmed. Stella is a softneck garlic variety (no scapes) that has a milder flavour at harvest that deepens in storage. 

Sorry this newsletter is a bit late. Yesterday kind of got away from me. I thought a good night’s sleep was better for the veggie scheme this week than a slap dash, late night newsletter.

So why did Sunday slip away? Well for starters, I tried my hand at a new skill. And boy, do I need to practice. That gal on Youtube made it look easy.

I tried making fibres (for basketry or cordage) from burdock stems. It was not a roaring success, but it was a fun challenge and I’m hooked. Plus it inspired me to remove a few large burdocks before they went to seed. 

I spent quite some time removing other unwanted plants after that huge monsoon on Saturday. They come out of the ground so easily right after a rain! I’m pretty tolerant of most plants. They can stay if they behave and if they are a food source for other creatures in the garden. But once they start setting seed, they have to come out. They can have the whole hayfield for next season’s progeny, not the veg garden.

The garlic harvest started on Friday. Since we were away in October, I didn’t get my garlic planted until November when we had a nice dry spell. So, I’m a bit “behind” other local growers. But we’ve got some really nice large garlic bulbs. It will take 2-3 weeks to dry them, then another 2-3 weeks to cure them so they store well.

I’ll be watching the rest of the patch like a hawk over the coming weeks to find the prime time to harvest; too early and you lose bulb size, too late and the bulbs can shatter which makes storage difficult. It’s a bit of a gamble. But the smell of drying garlic is heavenly. It’s a great time of year. 

seed pods on baptisia at bird's nest garden farm
Baptisia seed pods