garlic harvest and news of blight

 

vina and the harvest

vina and the harvest

The garlic harvest is in! 

Four different varieties:  

Town Farm’s own, 

A red variety from our farmer friend Nancy at Hampshire College,

An Extra Hardy German, 

and a Red Russian from Johnny’s seed catalog.  

Garlic is a really fun crop to grow because it’s one of the few crops from which most farmers save their own seeds. 

Garlic seed (yes, the seed is the actual clove!) is planted in the fall so that it can over-winter.  The side-buds of the garlic clove begin to develop in the winter and the warmer spring days encourage the buds to become cloves. 

The garlic plant sends up a shoot in the early summer, and eventually a flower bud that we harvest as scapes (they’re delicious) to send the plants energy back down into the development of the bulb. 

Come late July up here in Western Mass, the tips of the garlic greens begin to brown which means it’s time to pull up the plants.  

load it up

load it up

Fork around the bulbs, pull them out, bunch them and hang them in a dry, well-circulated space so that they can cure for a few months to be able to store better.  You can eat the garlic fresh, but it won’t keep as long as when it’s cured.

Once the garlic is cured, we cut the bulbs off of the dried stems.  Some of the heads are for distribution, some for our own storage, and some are for seed for next season. 

Ideally, you save the biggest cloves for seed to play our role in continuing the evolution of the crop to produce large heads. 

Then, once again, come late fall, we’ll stick the cloves in the ground for next years crop. 

 

hanging in the barn

hanging in the barn

Happy garlic-ing. 

On a sadder note, there’s lots of talk about tomato blight in these parts. 

As the rain continuous so seriously this season, the potential for disease and fungus increases, and Northeast farmers are beginning to experience the results. 

 

save us from the blight

save us from the blight

Late tomato blight is a fungus whose spores live in the soil and develop in overly wet conditions.  Once a crop is infected with the blight, it can spread rapidly by air or by human/animal contact from one crop or field to another. 

For organic farmers, there’s not a whole lot that can be done about the blight, especially once it is detected.  Unfortunately, many farmers are finding the blight on their tomatoes and are having to plow in their entire tomato crops in hopes of keeping the disease as isolated as possible. 

I just heard yesterday that the farm I worked at last season, Food Bank/Mountainview Farm had to plow in four acres of tomatoes. 

Pretty devastating.  So much work and no fruits of labor. 

It’s particularly devastating for farmer’s market farmers because tomatoes can be one of the most highly profitable crops. 

We have detected some signs of blight in one of our fields, but as of yet, it is not spreading rampantly. 

We’ll see. 

There was an interesting article in the NY times about the blight: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/18/nyregion/18tomatoes.html

garden magic

garden magic

To continue on a more positive note it is always super fun to share in on my friends’ excitement about processing some of the abundance of food we’re currently in the midst of.

One of my friends converted his front yard into a garden and is growing vegetables for the first time in his life. 

I went over to his house last night and watched him discover all sorts of magical unfoldings in his garden. 

He had a couple of friends over to make sauerkraut and pickles from his garden’s vegetables and vegetables from Town Farm.  We also made a couple of delicious fresh salads. 

Summer fun vegetable processing party Northampton style.  

 

makes cuts kraut

makes cuts kraut

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One Response to “garlic harvest and news of blight”

  1. justy Says:

    i use kocide on my tomatoes for the blight, it is a copper and sulfer compound. this is not a “chemical” but a compound that “tilth” says can still be used on Products without loosing your organic certirication. it realy works great , i use it every 10 days up until the fruits begin to turn red. tilth is the state(oregon) organic certification agency, every state should have one. thank you if you have any questions or coments please drop me a line, justy

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