Week 19: October 12, 2019

Shaping beds for fall garlic planting at We Grow LLC

So Starts Another Season

The end is near! It seems like no matter when that first frost and winter weather arrives, we are not ready. In the past, it was definitely us procrastinating but as the kids get older we find ourselves taking advantage of those nice fall days and doing things with the like hiking, canoeing, hunting, fishing and cabin time. Then when the weather man warns us that it is all coming to an abrupt end, we start the fall scramble and quickly try to get done as much as we possibly can in those last few sixty degree days. All too often we anticipate one more return of that summer-like weather, but it seems more often than not that it never returns. These last few days of fall is precisely when the garlic must be planted.

Winter Squash
Sweet Potatoes
Daikon Radishes
Mixed Onions
Garlic Bulb
Ground Cherries
Salad Turnips (larges)
Cauliflower (larges)

That brings us to this point, when we get to ask ourselves if we should continue on growing another year. This is it! We are about to plant to garlic and once we do, we are committed to the next season. We have well over one thousand dollars worth of garlic seed ready to go in the ground. Garlic is a valuable crop, vegetable gold one could argue. This season we saved back two times more seed garlic than we ever have. It grew beautifully and we hope to sell a portion of our 2020 crop as seed for other organic growers next year.

Wednesday, late in the day, the garlic beds were shaped and fertilized and are now ready for the next dry spell when we will use the waterwheel planter to plant it all. Individual cloves will be pushed into holes 6” deep, then top-dressed with composted manure and finally covered with a thick layer of leaves we acquire from the village of Rib Lake. Hardnecked garlic must be fall planted because the cloves need to be vernalized, or cooled to 32ºF for several weeks before they will grow. The naked cloves will send out a huge root system yet this fall, still growing down to near freezing temps. Next March when the weather starts to warm, it will be the first sign of spring. Through the snow, tiny green garlic shoots will begin to pop and give us hope that a fresh new crop of farm food is on the way. Even Mother Nature’s harshest Wisconsin winter can’t defeat the venerable army of garlic cloves.

Respectfully growing for you,

Eric & Rebecca signature

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