Author Archives: admin

Mid-Winter Photos

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With just a few days left in January our Purple Stripe Turbans have 5-6 leaves well along and stretch over one foot high.  The winter has caused a few leaf tips to brown but if the mild weather continues they should fill out nicely over the next 4 months.  Optimistically we might make it to market by the end of May, something we haven’t been able to do over the past two years given the freezing temperatures and abnormal snow falls.

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This bed has two varieties.  The taller plants on the left are the early Tibetan purple stripes.  They are only a week or two behind the Turbans but will remain at least a month ahead of our rocamboles (Salt Springs, Red Russians and assorted other minor sub-varieties).

John has to bend over a lot farther to measures these slow growing rocs.  Hard to believe they will explode in the warmer spring sun and race past the purples.  Although they are a July harvest, they attain much greater size, both in the overall plant size and bulb dimensions.

We will be following along with more pics and some videos so you can monitor the entire life-cycle from planting to market on all 5 our this year’s varieties. Stay tuned!

Published: January 28, 2019 | Comments: 0

Early Growth

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This shot was taken Oct 22nd, a month after planting.  It was a mild, sunny fall so the the first four leaves appeared quickly.  These are the early purple stripe Turbans.  I am writing this post on January 28th, 2019. At this point we have passed the 125 day mark which means this variety has about 120 days to go before harvest.  All our garlic varieties are hard necks and they typically take 225-250 days to grow with some variance due to extreme cold (which slows them down).    Our target for harvest remains late May.  Pray for a mild February!

Published: January 28, 2019 | Comments: 0

2019 Seeb Beds Under Construction

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Here are the first few dozen rows.  You can see how we shape the beds with a special tractor attachment.  If you are building your own raised beds by hand ensure they are FLAT on the top.  Crowned beds force the plants on the lower sides to compete with the rows in the higher centre part.  This produces taller plants with smaller bulbs.  Keep them happy with at least 6-8 inches of space each way between seed cloves and keep the surface FLAT.

We have over half an acre of this 6 mil plastic.  It eliminates 90% of the weeding (we only need to pick the stragler weeds that grow around the garlic stem through the planting hole) it sheds winter rain so the beds don’t get flattened over the winter and the soil isn’t rinsed of all the vital water-soluble nutrients.

The reverse side of this plastic is white.  We’ve tried facing both sides up, but the black side is far better.  It retains the sun’s heat and helps warm the soil.

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Here’s the early purple stripes poking their leaves up about five weeks after planting.  Our beds are 40 inches across on the top. The rows are 12 inches apart  with 8 inches of spacing along the rows.  This is our optimal spacing pattern after 10 years of trying all kinds of different ideas.  The plants seem happy (stressed plants that are crowded will shoot for the sun, become spindly and produce small bulbs.)

Notice we cover every square inch of the garlic field including the paths.  We weigh the sheets down with soil, but this further reduces weeds and denies the hated click beetle and place to call home.  The beetle larvae (wire worm) is our biggest threat.  This system of crop cover really reduces the wire worm troubles.

Published: January 27, 2019 | Comments: 0

2019 Season Update

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Welcome back folks.  Here’s John cultivating the soil prior to our fall planting.  We worked in 110 yards of organic compost this season after our soil tests indicated shortages of nitrogen and other water soluble nutrients. This picture was taken in early September.

Published: January 25, 2019 | Comments: 0

2018 Crop being Planted

As of Oct 12th, 2017 nearly two-thirds of next years purple stripes are in the ground.  The hot, dry September delayed planting a few weeks over last year.  We have a few thousand rocamboles to go (best known as Red Russians locally) and then all will be done!  I am adding a few thousand border plants just for the scapes so I look forward to an early appearance in White Rock Farmers Market next spring with loads of tasty, tender scapes.

 

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Published: October 13, 2017 | Comments: 0

Garlic Drying Bays ready to go

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New roof put on our drying racks ready for harvest.  Should start selling scapes within the new week.  Harvest of the bulbs is still 10-14 days away. What a late season this year!dryingracks2017

Here are some of the completed drying racks.  Just waiting for business!

Published: May 29, 2017 | Comments: 0

Back to Farmer’s Markets!

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We will back to Abbotsford and White Rock Farmer’s markets starting the first weekend in June 2017.  We will bring fresh scapes, garlic greens and the earliest mature bulbs available.  We are a little behind last year but the worst winter in 50 years has only delayed us by two weeks.

 

The cold weather should make this year’s crop particularly flavourful!  Cold weather boosts garlic punch!

Published: May 24, 2017 | Comments: 0

Garlic Drying Trays Upgrading for this Season

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These are a few of the new garlic racks we are building.  This is one of three such concrete bays and each will hold 12,000 garlic bulbs for drying.  There will be a black plastic roof added to help keep the newly picked garlic cool while they wait to go to market.  Each of these 8 garlic racks are 50 feet long.

Published: April 5, 2017 | Comments: 0

Garlic Transplants!

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All the books tell you Garlic can’t be transplanted.  Not true.  We do it all the time.  With this brutal winter we have had survivors emerge from our compost pile.  The bulbs and bulbils we tossed last fall have emerged and clusters like the one shown above did better than many planted in the field.  Main reason we believe is they were sheltered from the worst of the winds.

So, we are digging up these clusters, taking as much of their rootball as possible and replanting them in a hole filled with compost.  With the warming weather we will find sunny locations and hope for the best.

These bulbs will be smaller but they will be perfectly edible and could be broken up for seed next fall.  The bulbils can be saved for a summer garnish or additional seed stock.

Published: February 25, 2017 | Comments: 0

Steel Trusses for garlic drying sheds

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Despite the frozen crop we optimistically went ahead with putting a new roof on the drying bays.  Genius John whipped these steel trusses together during a coffee break one day.  Will not quite that fast but pretty darn close to it.  Next step is to replace the old shelves.  More pice to follow on that.

Published: February 25, 2017 | Comments: 0