Tuesday, October 16, 2012
With daily rains for most of October, the timely planting of garlic was in question. Here we are on the 16th putting garlic in the ground as we always do. The fence that is usually positioned to keep the wild things out is now serving as a grid to mark four planting holes per square foot. Almost no effort is required to lay out straight rows. I prefer order but the small effort is the real clincher.
Disease is a new and serious problem for commercial garlic growers in New York State. We have made some changes in our practices to try and avoid a recurrence of the problem here. This is the third consecutive year that the garlic is going into new ground. Pasture grass has grown here for the recent past. No garlic or onion finds its way into our compost. We trash or burn debris from potatoes, tomatoes, onions and garlic. Great care was exercised in choosing garlic to plant. Any softness or discoloration in the cloves earned placement in the food pile. Weather stress did expose the crop to excessive rainfall just before harvest but that is usually the case here. A published garlic author, Ron L Engeland, flatly stated that garlic cannot be grown in New York because of the pattern of July thunderstorms. With this new outbreak of serious disease, he may be proven correct.
This wilderness garden is nearly ready for winter. One area still needs to be cleared of weeds. Soil here contains much less stone than what we find nearer the house. Imported stone will be necessary to finish the paths. Six more weeks of unfrozen ground are possible so much can still be done.