Monday, July 18, 2011
Just Ahead Of The Storm
One of the challenges of trying to grow garlic in the great Northeast is the weather. July harvest time usually features numerous severe thunderstorms. Just when the garlic needs to begin drying down for harvest our weather brings rain water by the buckets. This year was different. We have had no rain for weeks. Lawn grass is browning and cracks underfoot. Favored garden plants are trying to make do with the little water carried to them in sprinkling cans. Scorching heat drives the water carrier inside by 11 am. The garlic is in great shape under these unusual conditions. Today's forecast showed rain so the goal was to get all of the garlic in the basement before the storm. Thunder rumbled across the valley and with the first storm huge raindrops splattered on the stones as the last bucket of garlic was carried to the basement.
Earlier harvested garlic is on the drying rack. All new seed planted in new ground that had never seen garlic before resulted in healthy plants at harvest. The new ground was of low fertility so the bulbs are rather small. Holes in the orange mesh measure one inch square. Four or five cloves make up each bulb shown so clove size is acceptable. One of the new varieties had many bulbs with water inside of the bulb wrappers. Prior to the current dry spell our rain had been excessive. These water stained plants seemed to have coarser leaves than usual. The junctions where the tightly wrapped leaves left the stem were filled with debris and moisture form the nightly dew. About one third of this variety is water stained and will likely mold. Likely this variety will not be planted again. Trouble free garlic is our goal.