Category Archives: Farming

Things We Get Asked About: Growing Garlic

Here are the top five questions we get asked about growing garlic.

1/ Which variety do you grow?

Russian Red.

Seed Garlic
Seed Garlic

True identification is virtually impossible as there are hundreds of cultivars with no universally accepted horticultural mapping.

Suffice it to say there is hard-neck garlic which produces a flower stalk or scape, and soft-neck garlic which does not.

Hard-neck garlic is generally accepted to include rocambole and purple stripe garlic. Russian Red is a rocambole producing four to eight cloves per bulb and in our humble opinion produces the best flavour and long term storage qualities.

Soft-neck varieties include artichoke, silverskin, and Creole which are most often found in the supermarkets and originate from China, California, and other places of exotic and murky reputations. #WentThere #NoGoingBack

2/ How deep do you plant?

We like to have about 5 to 7 centimeters of soil above the top of the clove when we plant.

Sixteen Centimetre Spacing
Sixteen Centimetre Spacing

We mulch with certified organic alfalfa straw which mitigates frost heaves and more importantly helps retain precious spring and summer irrigation. We’re told it also helps reduce weeds. On the weed issue, we’re undecided because considering the effort we exert extracting weeds each season, we wonder what horrors would appear if we decided to ixnay the ulchmay. #Shudder #WeBeFarming #Heroic

3/ How far apart do you plant.

Sixteen centimeters. One octave. Or thereabouts.

4/ When do you plant/harvest?

We plant on the third Monday of September. Maybe a little early, however planting this early helps establish root development and the sooner we’re done the better.

We harvest on the third Monday of July come rain or shine because it’s time to get it out of the ground and into the stores. #CashFlow

5/ Scapes? What are they?

A garlic scape is simply the flower stem. It appears early June and we remove the scape by snapping the little bugger between our fingers as soon as, or a little before, it completes one curl.

Removing Scapes
Removing Scapes

The idea is to divert the energy back down into the bulb producing a larger and more robust product for your table and our bank account.

We retain the scape to produce our Original Garlic Scape Salt. Yes, it is original. It was invented by farmersdotter back in another time when forest fires were a thing of awe and mystery and washing was done by hand. #FrontierLife


You can’t call it a Verger.

Why do some vegan food recipes emulate carnivore recipes?

The sandwich in the above photo contains no meat, no juices, no glistening gristle, so do not disguise it as a hamburger. Fraud. Call it what it is; a lamb sandwich, the ‘m’ is silent. And for Pete’s sake lose the traditional burger bun. That’s ours too. Use bread. Any bread. A special bread specific for your la’m’b sandwich but, you can not call it a Verger. That’s too close and too low effort. Vegans the world over have made a choice and consequently must own it! If you’re going down the vegan road leave off the analogies and stop co-opting names like burgers, hot dogs, et al because those names all belong to us. Those names belong to the domain of the carnivore. Your domain is over there somewhere. Afterall, we don’t cut top sirloin into a perfect rectangle, coat it with high gluten flour and call it tofu. #OwnIt


farmersdotter organics promo

farmersdotter organics promotional video produced by the good and talented folks at ET2media


Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell.

You want to grow garlic and now is the time.

Russian Red

Yeah, you just know deep down inside that garlic is the crop to get into. You know it and there ain’t nothing to convince you otherwise. Except you’re not entirely sure how to start.

Premium Consumer Garlic

Premium Consumer Garlic

You think to yourself no problem, ask a pro. There are a few weeks yet to get the garlic game on.

[Googley-woggle-clickity-click-tap]… ‘How To Grow Garlic’. [clickity-click-tap]… Now, who is growing the best stuff out there? [Clickity-click-clickity-tap]… Hi, You have no idea who I am but I came across your article and… [clickety-click-tap]… I was wondering if you could tell me, a total but well deserving stranger, all your… [clickety-click]… secrets on growing garlic…[tap]?

That ought to do it. Worth a try. I mean all they can do is say no right. Bastards… [tap]… ‘Send’

Listen, growing garlic organically or any ground crop for that matter, is first and foremost about the soil. It is important to understand the structure and quality of your soil and to always, this is important, always improve the health of your soil. You do that in part by adopting a crop rotation plan. Mandatory. ‘Rotation for the Nation’. It’s important. Imagine the words ‘Rotation for the Nation’ on an equatorial banner hugging Mother Earth then apply that shit to a t-shirt. #DragonsDen

You’re welcome.

Here is our best advice. Rotate crops every four years. Not three. Not two. Four. If you desire one acre of any one crop you must strive to have a minimum of four acres with which to work. 

Four one acre panels in organic rotation

Four panels (mid-top) in organic rotation at farmersdotter

Regardless, online articles about organic growing methods are numerous and for the most part much better at explaining than anything I could impart in a response email sent to you in the middle of the high season.

Check out university extension websites like UBC Wiki. Even some Provincial government sites are awesome as resources. Make it a habit to check out peer reviewed papers.  

Take sites like the Old Farmers Almanac with a huge pinch of salt. Eliminate crap like Food Babe (can’t summon the courage to provide a link).

Get past the myriad of science denying tin-foil-hat wearing chem-trail-lookout crack head sites that begin with a top ten list of unicorn sightings and end with a mason jar kombucha recipe. RUN!

In short, do your research and don’t ask the professional. Don’t ask unless they are a Youtube professional. Then it’s all fun and fair game. Youtube pros. Whatever. 

Anyway, professionals have paid their dues so to speak and don’t tell their hard won secrets easily.

Drying Racks

Drying garlic on Racks

Farmland is expensive and we need young farmers and their families to take up the gauntlet. Yet while we want to support Young Agrarians and their like, there is a value associated with our time, effort and knowledge. We ask you to respect that and humbly suggest you simply begin with an earnest attempt to certify your property with an accredited organic certifying body like those of the COABC. Who, by the way, will forever be your best resource for support and methodology. 


Patience

We are up and running smoothly with farmersdotter Studio Guesthomes. We are enjoying hosting guests, entertaining, and the stimulating conversation that comes with meeting new friends. There are two guest houses available to visitors, one we refer to Osprey and the other is called Owl. Both named for the birds of prey that frequent the property.

 

Owl Exterior

Owl Exterior

However, we are not one-hundred per cent complete. A few tasks have yet to be completed but nothing that will interfere with the overall experience of a staycation on the farm.

I am looking forward to writing a post mortem, a treatise to substantiate the completion of an activity that has consumed the past fourteen months of our lives.  I’m not convinced ‘complete’ is a concept fully embraced by the trades.

Osprey Interior

Osprey Interior

Here is the deal in one word: Patience

Underlined, italicized in bold and straight up in your face. Do not go past go without burning that word into the gray matter. Patience. And now, visualize a lineup of exclamation marks posterior waving stop signs like a coked-up bare-foot flag person on hot pavement.

Osprey Kitchenette

Osprey Kitchenette

Here is my issue: professionals adhering to my timeline. There is no doubt, as in our case, contractors of repute are capable, trustworthy and have the best intentions but simply stated shit happens.

Owl Deck

Owl Deck

When you commit to a project of hard hats and steel toed boots your challenge on a daily basis becomes one of controlling the amount of pooh that can rapidly develop. That and fostering a tolerance for excuses. Everything from natural disasters of biblical proportions to an uncanny regular occurrence of back, neck, shoulder, and bowel discomfort to family crisis and hangovers. Not to mention other ongoing construction needs taking resourses away from your project.

Owl Kitchenette

Owl Kitchenette

So here is my postmortem post but first I shall clear up a few projects. All I ask for is your patience.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 


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