Author Archives: admin

Mid March Update


The early purple stripes are stretching out to 18 inches!  And it is only March 17th.  Notice how the papering and composting of nearly a month ago has kept the rows clean of weeds.


Just for comparison, here’s John measuring the porcelains out to just under 12″.  At this stage in the spring, the purples are typically 50% larger with more developed leaves and much thicker stems.  The porcelains will eventually be the bigger plant but the harvest is 4-6 weeks later.  (That’s a small white mustard plant in the foreground.  We will reseed that beneficial cover crop again this summer.)

Published: March 17, 2016 | Comments: 0

Winter Weed/Feed done for Purples


The early purples are now weeded, papered and mulched with Net Zero compost and/or mulch.  The rows in the background are up next.  They are the later porcelains.

The heavy rains waterlogged a few beds in the north field



Still, the plants look good in John’s raised beds.  The majority of the crop is dry so it will be interesting to see how many plants are undersized because of having wet roots.

Published: March 6, 2016 | Comments: 0

Wintering Weeding Update


Tuesday, February 09/16 was over 15 degrees in the warm sun and we managed to complete the weeding on all our main beds.  Whew!  Next step is to give them a light topping of compost and weed-suppressing paper strips lain between each long row.  This should block over three-quarters of all the subsequent weeds between now and the May harvest.

This is the earliest variety of hard-neck we have found and we expect nearly 4 weeks of early sales before the traditional hard-neck varieties come on stream.


Meanwhile our purple bulbils are starting to develop their second and third leaves.  We have thousands planted this year and their ability to develop small cloves by August dictates the size of next year’s crop. We expect 4-5 seed-cloves from each new plant.

Published: February 11, 2016 | Comments: 0

Winter Weed ‘n Feed Time!!


Greetings everyone! Well, January is almost over but the season has just begun.  Hard to believe we expect to start harvesting our early purples in fewer than 100 days.  As you can see, our raised beds are covered in weeds after a mild winter.  The water logged paths still show a few white mustard plants we used as soil enhancers.

The early purples (shown here) are almost a foot tall with 5 leaves showing in most plants.  We started weeding a week ago and expect to have nearly a acre cleaned up by mid February.


Here’s a few beds after a weeding.  Much better!

Keep in touch.  I’ll be posting regularly from now till the season’s end.

Published: February 2, 2016 | Comments: 0

Flooding in North Field


Great example of what happens when a site is not properly prepped before planting.  The heavy rains resulted in extensive ponding between several of the raised beds on our smaller North field.  The subsoil has a clay pan that we should of either broken up or avoided before building the beds.  These rows run east-west and have some low patches where the water accumulates.  Next time the rows would drain better running north south.

We have drained the worst away with deeper ditching so I hope we haven’t caused too much damage to the root balls.  Standing water produces small garlic.  Lesson learned…again.


Published: November 9, 2015 | Comments: 0

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