Friday, May 22, 2009

And the winner is...

Northe! Doesn't look like much but these are the first garlic shoots of the spring. This is my third season attempting to grow garlic, but only my second spring of seeing garlic shoots as the first year none of the garlic I planted wintered over. Last year I harvested about thirty some nice size garlic bulbs in September. I almost didn't get any garlic in the ground last fall as planting time coincided with the birth of my daughter. We had harvested most of the garden and I'd been eyeing where I was going to plant the garlic. One morning I woke up to snow and realized it might actually stay. Amid flurries of big flakes and advice by all that we might as well eat the garlic rather than waste it by sticking it in the ground to rot, I rushed up the hill with my brown paper bags of garlic. I was determined. I went to stick the shovel in and the ground was completely frozen! The only workable ground in the garden was part of the potato patch and that was only because Dustin had dug the last of the potatoes earlier that same day! So without adding amendments or hardly working the ground at all I barely managed to stick in one thirty foot double row of garlic. I almost just mixed all the garlic I had together but I am so glad that I did not, as now the rows are still clearly marked and Northe is successfully up. I also planted Siberia and a mix of what I'd harvested last fall.

I don't know a lot about growing garlic, but I know that most of what farmers are growing up here is hard necked garlic that is planted in the fall and wintered over. I add a lot of bone meal and composted manure to the soil and I mulch heavily with a mixture of year old goat stall compost. Last year we had too much rain and some of my garlic started rotting in the ground. I had ordered a lot of garlic that didn't get planted and it lasted until January or so and then started to dry and shrivel up. I talked to one friend/farmer who said that they blend their garlic with olive oil and freeze it, and I will certainly be doing some of that next fall.In other news here is Honey in her new home with her chicks. She is in a small movable chicken tractor that Dustin built last summer. It is perfect for a hen and small chicks. Honey really wants to get out and take the chicks to where the grass is green. She is on gravel right now because the pasture needs a head start. The Welsummer and Sexlink chicks have moved into her old section in the chicken coop. I'd like to see them getting outside here soon as well. We had moved an extra Brahma rooster and a Standard Cornish hen up to live with the goats and clean up all the wasted grain on the ground. The first night they went into the stall with the goats and I thought they'd be all right. But the second night the Standard Cornish was killed by something, we are guessing a weasel. Whatever it was took only the head and the guts, all that nice chicken meat just wasted! And she was going to be dinner too, but we thought the rooster would like some company and we were hoping she'd start laying. Well, now we are concerned that whatever killed her is going to back waiting for us to make another mistake. I'm hesitant to leave anyone out in their pens because if an animal was determined enough he could dig under the walls or through our fencing.

The picture above was taken tonight at about ten p.m. In the last couple days the trees have really leafed out and gone from a light spring green ( photo below) to a lovely true green. The ground is still overwhelmingly brown but the trees and the hills echo "summer". Both of these photos are just about the same view, same time of night, just a week apart. Our sun is setting later and later, it is midnight now and I feel like I should be out planting beets.

Above is rhubarb coming up and below is a birch bud leafing out. I took these pictures about a week ago meaning to write about them then, and now there is so much more to discuss... garden is mostly planted, Noah has been playing in the mud every day and is going to plant his own little garden, Avery is back to her jolly self with two teeth to show for her temporary grumpiness, we are about to start milking the does daily - mostly just waiting for a fridge to get fixed so we have a place to store all the milk and Dustin is starting a new job on Tuesday doing environmenal sampling on Fort Wainright. He is going to be working six days a week, ten hour days, for the next five weeks. Then taking other jobs with the same company as they come. So we are in for a real change of pace around here, at least I am in for a reality shock. Luckily we have farm and kid help scheduled to come up a few hours a day throughout the week!

1 comment:

☼ҢąnñαҺ♥ said...

wow, beautiful pictures! I love the ones of the forest! We have done a lot of gardening this weekend too!