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Agrarian Harvest

Wholesome. Organic. Experience. All about our farm, food, and small farm life.

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garlic scapes

Garlic Harvest

Garlic harvest is underway! And as with most things on this farm, we learn from experience. Our whole garlic growing season has been a learning by doing experience and now the harvest is too.

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We have learned that you definitely want to get all those scapes cut off (it will produce bigger garlic heads) or at least the major of them. It is nice to leave a few in the field to watch and monitor the curling and uncurling. After the scapes curls twice, it then uncurls and points straight up again. Some say that is when you want to harvest and in our area that usually happens around the 4th of July. Others say wait until the bottom two leaves dry out. So we enjoyed watching all our scapes curl and uncurl and then we couldn’t get a crew together to help get the garlic out of the ground until the bottom two or three leaves were dry.

We started harvesting by pulling it out of the ground by hand. Then decided that was going too slow and there had to be a better way. So out comes the tractor and hay crowner. That worked good for the first couple of rows where the ground was still moist, as long as we went slow and kept it deep. But then the ground was too hard and dry in spots and we couldn’t get the crowner deep enough. We were cutting lots of garlic and cutting into the other half’s patience and temper. So back to hand pulling the garlic we went! It actually went pretty quick with the help of lots of hands of friends and family! We are so appreciative to have so many loving, helpful, kind-hearted, hard working people around us!

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We are only about half way done with the harvest. I’m positive getting rest of garlic out of the ground will be another fun learning experience. There is already talk of using a cultivator or renovator, which will still result in hand picking it off the ground, bundling and hauling it to the shed to dry . . . . . . . if one of those methods of getting it out of the ground works. We are learning that growing garlic requires lots of time, labor and a strong back. Every step of the process of growing garlic requires handling it by hand or hoeing it by hand.

Once the garlic dries, we cut the head off and bag it. Then it’s ready to go. And hopefully, we will forget how much work, frustration, and back pain is involved in growing garlic for rest of the summer so we will be willing to plant more of it again this fall and start the whole garlic growing cycle over again.

The Beginning of Summer

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It’s beginning to look a lot like . . . .  summer! The most wonderful time of year! I feel like I’m singing a Christmas carol or maybe I sound like Olaf singing In Summer on that very popular kids movie this past year.

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Well, at least, summer is my favorite time of year. And the beginning of summer is great; when the work winds down and the fun begins or maybe I should say the planting winds down and the eating of fresh produce is abundant. The planting is almost done, there are plants that are just sprouting and ones that are up are thriving and starting to produce. A time of year when we can really enjoy the vegetables of our labor. This past week we were able to start harvesting and eating parsley, fresh dill, and garlic scapes. The sugar snap peas are soon to come, possibly this week, along with the swiss chard. I just love DSCN7003watching plants grow and produce, not that we get time to actually sit and watch the plants. It’s more of a quick observation as we are passing by them or a meandering look as we are working close by.

Although, this time of year also means we will start weeding for hours a day to keep them pesky weeds at bay.  Besides using plastic ground cover, we are trying areas with wood chip and hay mulching to keep the weeds at bay. If this works, those areas will go to no-till. I also hope this means less weeding for this year and in future years and more free time to go hiking and fishing. Or time to sit in shade on those hot afternoons sipping ice tea reading a good book or blogging.

Strawberries, Rhubarb, and Our Farm Boy

All of our kids impress us everyday. They have their own strengths and interests. But this time I’m impressed with our little farm boy. He is involved and loves every chore and task that takes place on the farm. He gets up early on his own, get his breakfast, does his feeding chores and then heads to his garden to check all the plants and weed.All of our kids have their own garden space to tend and grow as they see fit. Our farm boy gets just as excited to harvest as he does to plant. And then once the “fruits of his labor” are harvested he’s ready to make them into something nourishing to eat. He loves to be in the kitchen cooking and creating just as much as he loves the outdoors. It just amazes me how he embraces all aspects of growing, tending, harvesting, and cooking food.

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This week’s harvest and abundance is rhubarb and strawberries. The kids have been going out to the berry patch everyday to pick those juicy, sweet first strawberries of the summer. Usually eating most of the berries before they make it back to the house with the bowl, but this time our farm boy took his own bowl out to save the strawberries he picked for making a yummy, creation in the kitchen. Strawberries, rhubarb and a hungry, creative minded child in the kitchen; any guesses what he wanted to make? He has his father’s love for pies so, of course, his choice was a pie (I’m sure the picture gave it away too). I mixed up the crust and he did the rest himself; rolling out the crust, the chopping, mixing and all the finishing touches. A strawberry rhubarb pie for dessert. I can’t wait to eat this creation!

Our next harvest and abundance is going to be garlic scapes. And it is my turn to create something wonderful in the kitchen with garlic scapes. I want to come up with something more creative than presto, although I do love pesto. Any suggestions?

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