Sunday, July 12, 2009

Trouble Down Below

We have been locked in a cycle of daily heavy rain for the past several weeks. Water pours off low depressions in the fields where water does not usually run. Saturated ground and wet plants are a cause of concern. Yesterday was clear and dry so I took a look at the garlic. Above ground growth still looks good. Most plants still sport five green leaves and normally harvest would be in the future. The decay at the base of the bulbs says harvest now. With nearly twenty varieties of garlic harvest takes several days. Highly treasured kinds were taken first. Then the rain came.

Normal harvest routine is to dry the garlic on wire cages for one day. Drying takes place in the shade of our one tree and in the basement. Scissors remove the root mass. Then the lowest solid leaf is pulled toward the bulb. All dirt and mold is separated from the plant. Cleaned bulbs are suspended base up on an elevated frame in the basement. Here several weeks pass as the garlic cures. The basement does smell like a salami factory but I have the benefit of an understanding mate.

For the moment the rain has passed. Wet plants cannot be harvested here. We do not have space or the means to remove that much moisture. Now we must wait for a brief dry hour knowing that the bulbs still in the ground are at risk. Once again I am glad that I do not make my living farming. Watching the weather destroy a crop is difficult when the crop is only a pastime. It must be crushing if the crop is your source of income.


Janet said...

Wow, that is a ton of garlic! What a process to dry them.

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

I'm sorry your plan has been somewhat 'thwarted' this year-definitely a bit of a loss. I did enjoy your step-by-step of the process you go through to get your garlic ready. It sounds interesting and if you like the smell of salami then it's twice the fun! I hope you're able to get to more of them before they rot out entirely, and that you don't lose more than you keep...20 varieties is impressive! Glad you were able to get your favorites in time, at least! Farmers who depend on their crops flourishing are up against the forces of unpredictability, that's for sure!

Tatyana said...

Twenty varieties???!!! I take off my hat!
Becly, I LOVE the header picture of your blog!

Daphne said...

I was so worried about my garlic I harvested it at the beginning of July, about two weeks before I thought it ought to come out. I figured better safe than sorry. I want the garlic to keep through the winter. I hope it does. I hope your garlic is ok too.