Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Sixty More Planted

There has been serious disease on garlic bulbs recently.  Fellow blogger Daphne posted a process intended to clear the cloves of the disease.  An overnight soak in one quart of water containing one teaspoon of baking soda was followed by a rinse and peeling of the cloves.  Then a three minute soak in vodka was followed by a rinse and immediate planting.  We spent just over one hour carefully peeling sixty cloves.  Great tenderness is required to prevent injury to the cloves.  Scissors are used to cut a small nick at the top of each clove  staying clear of the clove flesh.  Using that as a starting point, the clove wrappers are removed.  On occasion blue smoke and street talk fills the air.

 The forty cloves are from a variety named for its source Helen.  Sadly, she has joined the great majority but she was a powerful positive influence on both of us.  Attitude is everything and her constant expression of positivity still has its effect on us.  The twenty cloves are Purple Stripe that we use as a spacer between our major varieties.

Just a short time ago we planted three beds with eight hundred ten cloves.  Now we plant one bed with two hundred twenty cloves.  We now have only five varieties compared with the more than thirty formerly planted.  That still sounds like way too much garlic for an elderly couple but we need next year's seed in addition to what we eat or give away.  At this point we have one hundred twenty planted with one hundred still to go.

Garlic exists in two distinct forms soft neck and hard neck.  Soft neck is preferred for braiding but it does not do well in our rather cold climate.  We have planted only hard neck for decades.  Our main crop consists of four different varieties all carrying local names.  These are all of the Porcelain type and display larger cloves but fewer cloves per bulb.  Helen's seed this year all came from bulbs having exactly four cloves.  Our marker variety is a Purple Stripe type featuring smaller cloves but beautiful purple bulbs.

So far this year we have encountered no brown spots indicating the presence of disease.  This is a first for us in many many years.  We did have eight plants that displayed ground level rot at harvest so our concern about illness persists.  The peel and soak is time consuming  and tedious but we will likely continue it for the remaining seed stock this year.  Planting next year's garden at this time of falling leaves and cold nights lifts our spirits.  We are well aware of what is coming our way but the first crop of 2021 is in the ground.

No comments: