Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A nickel will get you on the subway...


...but garlic will get you a seat!

My usual gardening tasks are done with hand tools: the hori-hori, the hand fork, and maybe (maybe) the stirrup hoe. I don't bring in the big dogs (the shovel, mainly, but the broadfork too) unless some major devastation is called for: bed-building, trenching, post holes...and harvest.

Yesterday was my self-designated Check The Underground Stuff day. Mainly, my kid loves her spuds, so I'd been judiciously watching the bloom rates on some mid-season potatoes for their viability. I'd expired last year's harvest months ago and we've been grabbling (i.e., stealing) for about a month, but I hadn't undergone Potato Plant Butchery until last night, when I brought up about 3/4ths of a pound of Carolas. (Not bad for one plant.)

Garlic, too. The picture above is of one row each of three of the four cultivars I planted last fall. Unfortunately, you do need to pull up most of a row to find out if the garlic has "headed up" enough; just checking the browning of the leaves isn't an adequate method to tell you when to harvest, nor will one plant tell you. These three types of garlic will need another week or more to reach their full size.

So, yesterday, for the first time in a long time, the shovel got a workout.

8 comments:

meresy_g said...

Yummy. I"ve been eyeing up my garlic for a little bit. I think another week or so. I should have planted more though. You really can't have too much garlic. And the stuff I stored lasted until the beginning of June. I should check potatoes too. How do you know when they are 'done'?

El said...

Potatoes? Well, I go on the growers' recommended advice, so, mid-season should be anything from mid July on, earlies are early July, etc. SUPPOSEDLY you can start stealing them 10 days or so after they start blooming. Otherwise, you wait for the tops to wither and die.

NEVER enough garlic, I think. That's why I plant random cloves about the gardens; I can raid without sacrificing my long-term storage garlic (which the photos are a part of).

cookiecrumb said...

Grabbling, dibbling... You must write a lexicon of funny farm words.
I think it's so cool that you can "steal" your own potatoes.

Xris (Flatbush Gardener) said...

Technically, it's up to 2$ these days.

Nada said...

My seed potatoes arrived today, so planting looms soon. To chit or not that is always a question. To cut or not to cut the tubers? What's your take? I'd have a take if I kept anything like a reasonable record of what I'm doing!

To add to the garden lexicon - bandicooting...(after the native marsupial and it's foraging habits) is the vernacular for grabbling here.

Potatoes and garlic - yum. yum.

El said...

CC: (bows deeply) I am here to serve. Actually, I worry about these words going out of the language altogether, along with farmers! But I do feel I need to know them, kind of like knowing a secret handshake or something.

Xris, thank you for the reality check, m'dear! I carry around a Metro pass in my wallet; makes me feel not so country, and yes, I am amazed it works on my annual trips to town.

Nada, I know what you mean. Wait and they will chit themselves. Or cut and wait. I didn't cut this year and the spuds are much bigger for it but there are fewer of them. Such a tradeoff. But yes, that's a mouthful of Australian, for sure!

Stacie said...

i jsut planted garlic for the first time, and should probably check em too. they are brown and falling over, but not much top growth, small heads?

El said...

Stacie, sounds like a harvest to me. Supposedly it's best to harvest them when at least half their leaves are still green and then you're to dry them out (dirt still on) so the necks have a chance to cure. Sometimes, small heads mean they weren't the right types to plant for your area (not enough daylight, for example) and sometimes, like most vegetables, they're just being contrary.