Monthly Archives: October 2015

Bulbil Planting in Full Swing


The purple stripes yielded plump clusters of bulbils this summer from the few hundred plants we left the scapes on through to harvest.  Notice the variety of colours, from light tan to a rich purple.  Above are a few hundred of the biggest ones ready to plant.  I soaked them for two days in water and bicarbonate of soda (to kill pathogens).  The soaking also triggers the bulbil to germinate.  You don’t want to plant a dry seed in the ground only to have it sit there for days.  This time of year we want maximum root development before the frosts hit.  The bigger the root-ball the better the chances the plant has of surviving winter.


This raised bed is 150 feet long with three shallow furrows spaced about 8 inches across.  The bulbils were hand planted with the pointed tip up and spaced about 2-3 inches apart.  The soil is soft and amended with compost and pig manure (done 3 months earlier).  I will cover these rows with half inch of fresh compost and then generously water each row as this dry October has the top inches of soil short of moisture. We have about 4000 purple bulbils in the ground now with more going in this week.  In early November we will plant several thousand more in our long greenhouse. Lucky them!  No Frost.

Here’s a closer shot of the spacing.


Published: October 26, 2015 | Comments: 0

What a late October!! We Garden and Mexico is Battered.


Incredible stretch of warm, sunny weather.  Our rainfall this month is only about 30% of normal so I actually had to water a bed of bulbils I was planting this afternoon. As I write this Hurricane Patricia, a phenomenal Force 5 storm is slamming into Mexico.  That pool of warm Pacific water that extends from Alaska to the equator is causing this bizarre weather.  Mexico suffers through the worst hurricane in human history and we get ideal gardening weather.  Seems a little sobering and takes the joy out of this day.

Published: October 23, 2015 | Comments: 0

Late Onions Unusually large


Our late Spanish crop wasn’t planted will early July and we didn’t expect much more that scallions but here it is in late October and we have hundreds of apple sized, round bulbs drying inside our long greenhouse.  Amazing size for this late in the season up at this northern latitude.


Here is our last row of Spanish onions still in the ground.  We are pushing our luck, but if this mild weather holds they might size up a tad more.  Notice the lush green mustard plants to the left  They are filling the paths of our garlic beds nicely.  They are a soil cleanser and will stay there until harvest next summer.

Published: October 23, 2015 | Comments: 0

Garlic Bulbils and Rounds Planting this Week

20150707_150021These are garlic rounds (the result of planting bulbils late in the winter).  Notice the wuite porcelains and the darker purples.  We separate them by variety and plant in separate marked beds.  This year we are getting them all in early (October) and we’ve increased the spacing so we hope more grow into small, segmented bulbs by next summer.


These are the purple bulbils ready for planting selection.  We will take the largest and sow them in long raised beds, allowing 2-3 inches between bulbil.  These should all produce small, segmented bulbs next summer.  It takes another year for those small cloves to grow into useful (and vigorous) market garlic.


These are the porcelain bulbils. We will select the largest and plant 2-3 thousand of the best for nexdt years rounds.


Published: October 19, 2015 | Comments: 0

October Weeding! You must be joking!


Yup, that’s a hoe leaning against a stake.  Just finished weeding three long rows and its only October 17 for heaven’s sake!  Notice the green strips of mustard seed sprouting nicely in this mild weather.  Although the weeds will die off with the first heavy frost I don’t want their roots competing with the garlic in this crucial first month.  I want the garlic roots to grow as quickly as possible and they really don’t like competition.


Here’s another view looking south across the long raised beds.  That patch of green in the foreground is mainly mustard.  The 3 inch garlic shoots are starting to show more prominently now.  It’s been about 3 weeks from planting for the majority of them.

Published: October 17, 2015 | Comments: 0

Fall Garlic Planting Finished


30,000+ garlic plants are in the ground.  John’s disc hiller produced perfect raised beds that should keep the roots out of standing water all winter.  The soil received more Net Zero Compost prior to planting so the soil is nutrient rich, for now…


Notice the light green of our mustard seeds popping up in the rows between the raised beds.  The first beds were planted Sept 23-24 and the mustard is more obvious.  These little soil purifiers are growing quickly and more pictures will be posted in the upcoming weeks.

With all the market garlic planted we can turn our attention to planting the rounds, 1st year bulbs and bulbils that will eventually become market garlic within the next two years.

Of course, this October has been warm and the weeds and volunteer veggies are also growing quickly.  I spent an hour this morning pulling potatoes, corn and squash plants, all remnants of previous plantings.

There are many coyote tracks across our beds as well.  Whenever we work a new patch of ground we attract the farm dogs and chickens as well as the wildlife.  Everybody has to check our work out!


Published: October 12, 2015 | Comments: 0

620 pound pumpkin!!

20151002_11554320151002_120217This is the giant being carried out of the pumpkin patch (all that green is from only 2 plants!) down to the Net Zero Weigh Scales where it came in at 280 kilos (620 lbs).

20151002_121718Here it is on display in front of the weigh scale booth at Net Zero (5050 Gladwin Road). It is sitting beside some 350 pound runts!

Now all we have to do is wait for the results from back east to see how it did in the national contest.

We started these two from seed in early May.  We planted them in a small burlap bag of potting soil.  The picture below was taken Mid May when the plants were a few weeks old. The bottom picture shows the fencing we had to put around them to keep the chickens from levelling the hills with their scratching.


Published: October 2, 2015 | Comments: 0

Giant Pumpkin Weigh-in!!

20151001_151043The weigh-in for the National Giant Pumpkin Contest is tomorrow (Friday) October 2nd, This 375 pounder is one of the also-rans that John grew this year.  He had 4 “smalls” that tipped the scales at 280 lbs to just under 400 lbs.  The bad boy that is our offical entry will be weighed tomorrow!  Stay tuned.

Published: October 1, 2015 | Comments: 0