Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mostly Photos This Week

The wasps and bald-faced hornets (above) have reached the sweet tooth time of year.  I'd prefer they eat the hummingbird food to the peaches and apples still on the trees.

We harvested our first corn.  Only the bi-color variety was really ready.  But next week...

Slicing cucumbers, English cucumbers, and pickling cucumbers.

Washing the radishes and beets.  No one wants a dirty root vegetable!

Elephant garlic.

I dug a few fingerling potatoes.  The weather was miserable on Saturday (high of 63 on the last weekend of August), so it felt like one should eat potatoes.

This is where the potatoes came from.  I wasn't too impressed with the yield.  I will say that the hilling meant that none were sun-scalded, but they were none to plentiful or large.

I just like this array of vegetables.

Our stand this week.  Note Ozzy the Farm Truck (1950 Chevrolet) in the background.

Yes, the regular eggplant are in with the fairy tales.  Until they produce enough of themselves they have to share a basket.

Beans from Arrowleaf South--Shawn's parents are better farmers than we are this year.

Jalapenos were so popular that I didn't manage to get the photo in time.  Also, we're almost out of kohlrabis (to the right).  Need to pick more jalapenos next week.  People like them best.

Grey shallots.  They've had a bad couple of years--a long story which is better left untold.  They hung in there though and taste good.

I think customers arrived so I didn't get the rest of the garlic photographed.  In garlic news, we've finished cleaning the Wildfire and Thai Fire (these two are sold out), the Georgian Crystal, Premium Northern White, and Romanian (have been at the market).  This week we finished Thermadrone and Metechi and Teri tells me she went back out and started on the Nootka Rose.  For the last three, once we pull out next year's seed we should have them at market.

Squash blossoms are stunning.  People were excited to stuff them; most sold to people who were going to use them.

From the left, beets, tiny cilantro, tiny radishes, bigger cilantro, leeks, beets, potatoes.

When onions are ready for harvest, the tops fall over.  Then you pull them out and let them cure.  The top will die back and then you trim it and the roots and then it's ready for storage.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


As previously noted, we decided that if we can't beat the weather, we should join it.  This week we had a lovely harvest of French Breakfast Radishes.  They are white and hot and delicious!  Luckily for us, people were not put off by the flea beetle-eaten leaves.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take the camera to the market, so no photos.  However, we should have another harvest this week, so I'll try again.
I plumb wore myself out on Sunday so didn't manage to post anything.  Last night I forgot about it as I headed down to clean some garlic.  Tonight I managed to remember!
It was pretty cool (low 40s) the last few nights.  The lack of daylight is very clear; I'm trying not to say it feels like fall. I did enjoy the gorgeous full (or nearly) moon last night.
We had a reasonable number of cucumbers this week at market, but last night the plants were mauled by deer.  I'm really looking forward to deer season this year, when Shawn and his dad will hunt right here.  My plan is to have them camp out on Teri's front porch and shoot the deer whenever they walk by.  I'm that irritated with them.
In other animal damage news, I think we might finally catch the gopher that's been working its way through the delicata squash.  Of course, it killed yet another plant, but this time it finally left a trackable run.  It had grabbed one of the squash and pulled it down the hole.  It had started at one end and hollowed out most of the squash, then filled it with dirt.  Now there is a trap where the squash was.
The tomato plants look really good, I think.  The tomatoes are beautiful, but are green.  But the cherry tomatoes are finally producing enough that I don't have to hold back on snacking.   It's warming back up today; hope springs eternal that the tomatoes will beat the weather and turn red.
The fairy tale eggplants are producing well and the peppers are coming along.  If it were August 1, I think we'd feel pretty good about where everything is.
I forgot to take overviews today.
The gopher's latest victim, with the unsuccessful trap.
Deer pawed a hole in the cucumbers, killing one plant in the process.

One artichoke plant makes a lot of artichokes.

Product placement overview.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pretty Good Week, I Guess

We decided that if we can't get the stuff we usually grow to produce, maybe we should try something else. So we put in a fall garden--more radishes and beets, lettuce, and cabbage.  We got some cool, wet weather this week, so it seemed extra appropriate to be pretending it's spring.  The radishes and beets are starting to germinate already.
It was a very strange weekend.  Usually at this time of year, we pick pretty much all day Friday.  Then there's market on Saturday morning.  Saturday afternoon and Sunday are spent processing something--I think something should be pickled about now--and some relaxing.  This weekend was weeding and cleaning some garlic (most isn't ready yet) and actually cooking a little bit.  Shawn's reading a good book.  There's a gnawing feeling that things are being neglected.
I was able to eat several tomatoes this week.  Toward the end of the week the cherry tomatoes started to seem like they were operating as I expect them to--providing me a snack on every garden visit.  Fruit is setting nicely, and I think if it stays as hot as it's supposed to this week, there might be enough to do something with in two weeks.
The corn looks good--no complaints there.
The watermelon are sizing up.  We ended up with cantaloupe purchased from the youth authority at Hilgard.  I don't know what kind they are.  They seem pretty small, but are changing color.  If there's a ripe, yummy cantaloupe, I'll be happy.
The beets seem to be progressing slowly.  I've decided all they can want is water, so this week they'll get a ton.  We planted both red and golden.  The red germinates much more quickly, then grows faster too.  The goldens of the first planting look terrible.
It seems like we should be digging potatoes, but they haven't died back yet, so the potatoes are still growing.  I robbed a few out for a potato salad to eat this week at work, so can't yet report on deliciousness.  We planted the potatoes very late, which partly accounts for their longevity.  However, this is the first year we've really hilled them, and they are huge.  Of course, they are a plant that also likes cool, wet weather.  To many variables.  We'll see what the yield is like, especially since some are hilled better than others.

A couple of fine looking cantaloupes.

Our biggest beans, with its smaller cousins behind.

This is what quail do to tomatoes they can reach.

Yet another killed winter squash.  The gopher trap is set.

I don't know how high an elephant's eye is, but I suspect we're there.

The artichoke has tiny siblings now.

The wheat should be harvested by next week.

I get a lot of questions about basil.  We don't do anything special.  The two things that I think make a difference are that it's in FULL sun, and that I cut it back a lot every few weeks.  The little plant on the left was cut this week; the plant on the right is what it looked like before.

All the Garlic We Grew

Here is the list of the garlic we grew and the numbers of heads of each.  Descriptions are adapted from Fillaree Farms, Hood River Garlic, Seed Savers' Exchange, Boundary Garlic Farm, We Grow Garlic, and Territorial Seeds.  I'll also be adding a bit of our own thoughts, so this is a bit of a work in progress.  Hopefully eventually I'll add pictures of each.  

Thus far in my farming career, I have managed not to know what artichoke, rocombole, etc. mean.  I've lived in the simple world of hard- and softneck.  I suspect I'll be trying to figure it out, and I'll post it when I do.  In the meantime, either disregard, or look it up and post a comment explaining to us all.  I'm not sure all of these are correct as to category yet--would like to confirm with the actual product.

Asian Tempest--251--hardneck, artichoke
From South Korea via Horace Shaw in Oregon. Beak on bulbil can reach 18 inches in length.  Is positively wonderful in baked dishes.  The taste when baked is somewhat sweet with a bit of a baked sweet garden pepper flavor to it.  It is positively breathtaking if eaten raw.  Averages about 5 cloves per bulb.

Brown Saxon--72--Rocombole
This is a unique Rocambole with large brown cloves; harvests late.  Double cloves are rare.  A strong character and a great storing qualities.  Averages 7 cloves per bulb.

Chesnok Red--491--Hardneck
Characterized by its beautiful purple stripes, this Middle Eastern hardneck comes from Shvelisi, Georgia. One of the best all-around cooking varieties because its clear, bold, full-bodied flavor lingers and is retained after cooking. Especially nice choice for baking as it has a very creamy texture. Easy to peel. Stores 4-6 months. 10 - 12 cloves per bulb. 50 - 60 cloves per pound. Mid harvest. Stores 5 months. Small bulbs store the longest. [Hot] (a.k.a. Shvelisi) It has large easy to peel cloves. 

Georgian Crystal--568--porcelain, hardneck
Large bulbs with 4 to 7 beautiful, fat cloves. Clean white appearance. Good flavor, mild, smooth, yet zesty; smooth buttery taste when roasted. Long storing. Great for salsas and pesto.  A healthy choice for its high allicin content: allicin helps lower cholesterol, increases circulation and boosts the immune system. Tear dropped shaped bulbs with large cloves. 4 – 6 cloves per bulb. 35 – 45 cloves per pound. Mid harvest. Stores 6 months. [Medium] From the Gatersleben Seed Bank (#6819), also known as Cichisdzhvari.  

Georgian Fire--156--hardneck, porcelain
Similar to Georgian Crystal. A raw taste is strong with a pleasant hotness. A good salsa garlic or salad warmer. From the Republic of Georgia. Great in chili or mixed into garlic burgers. The skins range from yellow to purple in color. 5 - 9 cloves per bulb. 30 - 45 cloves per pound. Mid harvest. Stores 6 - 7 months. [Hottest] Obtained from the Gatersleben Seed Bank (#6822) in eastern Germany. Described by chefs as a truly “white hot” garlic. Raw taste is strong with a nice hotness that is not at all unpleasant. (AKA Cichisdzhvari #4)

German Brown--224--Rocombole
This strain came to Fillaree Farms mixed with German Red, but was distinctly different. Bulbs uniformly large. Cloves colors exhibit a distinctive brown hue rather than red.

Killarny Red--196--Hardneck, rocombole
Most likely a mutation of German Red or Spanish Roja but now it is superior to both. Better adapted to wet conditions than most others. Only drawback is frequency of double cloves.  The cloves are large and easy to peel making them a favorite in the kitchen.  Averages about 10 cloves per bulb.

Korean Red--86
A  lively Rocambole.

Metechi is a Marbled Purple Stripe.  The plants are more upright and broader leafed than others and has large bulbil capsule and bulbils.  The bulbs are nicely colored and very firm.  Cloves are few, but large and fat, with blushed and lined skins that are thick.  Long storing.  Raw it tastes fiery but with a nice finish.  Averages 6 cloves per bulb.

Montana Giant--53--Rocombole
This strain is said to produce consistently extra large bulbs, but we at Arrowleaf Farms often feel it's just a cruel joke.  Montana Giant is consistently tiny, in a pathetic sort of way.  Full rich garlic flavor.  Averages 8 to 10 tight cloves per bulb. 

Music--107--Porcelain, hardneck
In trials at Michigan State University, Music out-produced all others with a harvest of over 13,500 pounds per acre! White skinned with just a blush of pink, this garlic makes big cloves that are easy to peel. The taste is a good, sweet, pungent, medium hot, true garlic flavor that lasts for a long time. Music will store 6-9 months to a year. Very cold tolerant.  Also known as Ontario, Music was named by the Ontario Garlic Growers Association in recognition of Al Music, who brought it to Canada from Italy. Music has a high content of allicin, which helps boost the immune system and increases circulation. 4 - 7 large easy peeling cloves per bulb. 25 - 30 cloves per pound. Mid to late harvest. [Medium] Hailed as one of the best varieties for consistent production of 2½" to 3". Sweet pungent flavor, very tight, durable heads.

Persian Star--338--hardneck
(a.k.a. Samarkand) This variety was collected in Samarkand, Uzbekistan by long-time SSE member John Swenson. Pleasant flavor with a mild spicy zing. Good all-purpose variety that produces reliable yields year-after-year. Hardneck, 8-12 cloves per bulb.
Vivid clove colors. Outer bulb wrapper sometimes smooth white but inner wrappers purple streaked. Red-tipped cloves with marbled streaks on whitish or yellow-brown back ground. 
Persian Star is a lovely garlic - fun to grow, an elegant flavour, and beautiful looking. 

Premium Northern White--419--porecelain, hardneck
Mostly 4 cloves per bulb. Easy peeling and great for baking. The heritage of this unique garlic can be directly traced to northern Germany. It could possibly be the most cold-hardy variety known, having been documented to -18°F in Eastern Oregon. One grower, who had cultivated this variety in New York for more than 10 years, claims it withstood -60°F. Does not keep particularly well.  Heat comes on late in the tasting.

Romanian--420--porcelain, hardneck
Came to British Columbia from Romania. Cloves streaked and lined on buff brown background. Very good storage.  Hot and pungent with a healthy, long lasting bite. Huge easy to peel cloves. 4 - 6 cloves per bulb. 25 - 30 cloves per pound. Late harvest. Stores 6 months. [Hot]Romanian Red  (porcelain hardneck variety)  Bulb size will be noticeably reduced if you lose control of the weeding around this variety.  

Wildfire--no count, more than 100--hardneck
Asiatic.  A hot garlic that lives up to it’s name. Averages 6 cloves per bulb.  Early variety, subject to injury.  Very hot. 

Large bulbs and 4 to 5 cloves per bulb. Cloves well streaked on back but soft brown-pink with lines on inside. Raw taste strong and pleasant with no aftertaste. From Republic of Georgia. Praised by Cook's Illustrated magazine. Porcelain variety. Another variety from the Republic of Georgia.  Zemo has a high content of allicin. The creamy white bulbs have large tear drop shaped cloves with a beautiful pinkish tone. A spicy garlic flavor with moderate heat. 2 - 6 cloves per bulb. 25 - 35 cloves per pound. Late harvest.

Inchillium--321--Softneck, Artichoke
In 1990 taste test at Rodale kitchens this one was a top rated softneck. Discovered on the Colville Indian Reservation; original source unknown. Mild but lingering flavor with a tingle, great baked. Stores very well for 6-9 months. Light purple blotching on very large bulbs. Compound bulbs have 8-10 large outer cloves and 10- 15 small to medium cloves in the center of the bulb. 

Nootka Rose--441
Well colored strain; a northwest heirloom from the San Juan Islands off the Washington coast. From Steve Bensel of Nootka Rose Farm in Waldron, WA. Mostly 5 clove layers and 15 to 24 cloves with up to 35 cloves possible if large outer cloves subdivide. Cloves streaked red on mahogany background with solid red clove tips. Colors fade in rich soil. Medium to large bulbs and very attractive braider. Strong flavor.  Nootka Rose is a beautiful bulb, silky smooth skins with some pink blush on outer cloves.  Great flavor for a softneck variety.   It has a long shelf life and makes for a great looking braid.  

Oregon Blue--119--Softneck
Vigorous plant with deep green leaves. Good storage. This maritime Northwest heirloom is a real producer! A few years back, we received a sample of this variety along with several others, and Oregon Blue topped the yield charts. It has nice hot flavor, dark green leaves, and a purple cast on the skin. Good storage variety.  Braids nicely, particularly because the heads do not get too big.

Polish Softneck--737
Introduced into North America around 1900, Polish Softneck is larger than most softnecks and has proven to be one of the most winter hardy. An excellent choice for northern gardeners, but it also performs well in southern regions. This one's for lovers of hot garlic! Even after roasting, when most garlic mellows out, Polish Softneck maintains impressive heat that's not too overpowering. Tasted raw, it will remind you of the last hot pepper you ate. Good choice for braiding.

Saint Helens--Softneck
baked it has a subtle, nutty flavor. Hot raw. Heirloom from Western WA.Brawny heads of zesty, spicy garlic are explosive like the fiery Mount St. Helens. Bulbs are covered with silvery skin touched with purple; inside, the round cloves have buff-colored wrappers. St. Helen's Red has excellent storage capacity, makes stunning braids and makes for a savory, roasted treat.

Thai Fire--No count, more than 100--softneck
This typical Turban was purchased at Bangkok market.  Complex full flavor with rising heat level. Early variety, beautiful purple stripes.

Commercial strain from France. Impressive, large, long storing bulbs.

Transylvanian--225--Softneck, Artichoke
Originating in the heart of the Transylvanian mountains, this variety specializes in vampire repelling.  Nice size bulbs produce plump, firm cloves. Slight rosy blush, patches of crimson red on bulb wrappers.  It has a buttery smooth start that finishes with some heat. Withstands cold winters. 12 - 16 cloves per bulb. 85 - 90 cloves per pound. Early harvest. Stores 5 - 6 months. [Medium]

It gets its own category, because I believe I read somewhere it's more of a leek than a garlic.  (And what is the difference?  Beyond the visuals I don't really know.)  Anyway, there are 109 heads.  There was a planting mixup and the elephant and some regular garlic were planted in the same place, so neither was particularly happy.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Need a Garden This Size for a Family of Two this Year

Being gone for a week was good for our psyches, and the garden grew so much in that week!  The euphoria lasted a while, but then we went from being pleased to have a few peppers and eggplant to take to market to puzzled at why it's still taking so long.
We did finish the garlic harvest--about 7000 head.  Teri of course slaved away as we vacationed.  It looks really good on the whole.  A couple of varieties were in the ground too long, but I guess that just means more garlic powder.  I'm working on a post with breakdowns by variety and descriptions of each variety.  Hopefully it won't take as long as the tomato census which I started months ago but never finished.
The beans started blooming and I harvested the first cucumber.  The corn is tasseled out--the earliest varieties are those which had the worst germination rates.  But I think there will be enough for us and friends.  Hopefully some will come to market.
People are getting impatient for tomatoes, and I can't blame them.  Even the cherry varieties just aren't doing much.  We're having some problems with cracking since we got a crazy thunderstorm week before last.  I grabbed those off and made our first batch of salsa.  I'm ready for more!  Plus I need to do a lot of canning this year as I mostly canned sauce last year.
We're trying to get motivated to put in a late fall garden--spinach, lettuce, more beets, etc.  I had a bunch of non-garden things to do this evening, so hopefully I can motivate tomorrow night.
I harvested two of our peach varieties that are ridiculously early--they've never produced anything before, so apparently this is the weather they've been waiting for.  They're ready at the same time as the apricots--strange.  Lots are bug-nibbled, but they do taste good.  I'm trying to decide whether we can eat them all or if I should can some.

Good gravy, I figured out captions!!!!!  This is what happens when you abandon your zucchini--baseball bats.
Bloomin' bean.
Empty place where the garlic used to be.
Carmen (sweet pepper we're growing for the first time) approaching ripeness.
Itty bitty artichoke.
One of my favorites.
Our peaches.
Apricots--yes, they are about the same size as the peaches.

Had to add panels to the garlic shed.  Note Teri at right of frame.
Garlic art, by guest photographer Ralf Meyer.
A fine sunflower in amongst the tomatoes.
Overviews, by guest photographer Teri--that's Catherine in the red shirt.

For Teri, who despairs that there aren't pictures of us on the blog.