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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

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

620 pound pumpkin!!

20151002_11554320151002_120217This is the giant being carried out of the pumpkin patch (all that green is from only 2 plants!) down to the Net Zero Weigh Scales where it came in at 280 kilos (620 lbs).

20151002_121718Here it is on display in front of the weigh scale booth at Net Zero (5050 Gladwin Road). It is sitting beside some 350 pound runts!

Now all we have to do is wait for the results from back east to see how it did in the national contest.

We started these two from seed in early May.  We planted them in a small burlap bag of potting soil.  The picture below was taken Mid May when the plants were a few weeks old. The bottom picture shows the fencing we had to put around them to keep the chickens from levelling the hills with their scratching.

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Published: October 2, 2015 | Comments: 0

Giant Pumpkin Weigh-in!!

20151001_151043The weigh-in for the National Giant Pumpkin Contest is tomorrow (Friday) October 2nd, This 375 pounder is one of the also-rans that John grew this year.  He had 4 “smalls” that tipped the scales at 280 lbs to just under 400 lbs.  The bad boy that is our offical entry will be weighed tomorrow!  Stay tuned.

Published: October 1, 2015 | Comments: 0

Giant Pumpkins ready for 1st pruning

20150616_093248Here is one of John’s two Pumpkin Giants that are entered into the national Pumpkin Competition.  He is close to pruning all secondary vines and leaving only the largest of the early pumpkins that appear on the principal vine.  The trick is to prune and feed so that all the energy goes into producing one large fruit.

Published: June 16, 2015 | Comments: 0

First Corn Block One Foot High

20150616_092940Mid June and our late corn is nearly one foot high.  We are intentionally aiming at a September crop of Jubilee corn hoping the late start gives us a sweet late corn like last year.  This should make for great freezing corn.  John and I are still eating the last of 2014’s sweet corn.  It freezes very well.  We encourage people to buy enough to keep some over the winter.  It sure beats frozen corn from the grocery store!

Published: June 14, 2015 | Comments: 0

Garlic Drying Tent

20150604_062238It took six of us to pull this 100′ by 40′ piece of panda plastic over John’s pvc pipe frame.  Now we have a 74′ by 24′ enclosed drying tent that allows great circulation while being waterproof.  The purples should all be hung and drying by Sunday, June 7th.

Then the 9000 Porcelains wait their turn!

Published: June 5, 2015 | Comments: 0

Garlic Drying Tent Going Up

Published: May 30, 2015 | Comments: 0

Jumbo Garlic: A Sneak Peek

20150521_18383220150521_184041With a few weeks to go before the harvest we pulled a purple just so see how it’s progressing.  Over 3″ in diameter with many large cloves, it looks like this crop have its share of monsters. The cloves will grow a bit more yet  and their colour will darken. I’m guessing the Purple harvest will start around June 7-10 this year.

The Porcelains are 10-14 days behind and they are usually even bigger and hotter!

Published: May 22, 2015 | Comments: 0

Giant Pumpkins in the Ground

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Here’s John transplanting one of his two Giant pumpkin seeds.  (He is only sent two and the contest is help country-wide every year.) That’s a small pile of potting soil and compost. Note the burlap bag he buries along with the plant.  Planting the bag reduces shock and root damage while giving the plant plenty of room to grow before the burlap rots away.

The wire cages keep the chickens from flattening the piles as they scratch for worms.  If we didn’t protect the plants these piles would be gone in 2-3 days.

We will keep you posted all season as we track the progress of our giant pumpkin entries!

Published: May 10, 2015 | Comments: 0