Garlic Planting EDIT

Okay!

So quick update on garlic planting. I don’t know what I was thinking, thinking it would be a good idea to till the ground with a rototiller before winter.

I believe my thought process was the following:

1) don’t want to till (due to knowledge I have acquired from quite a few books)

2) but what if ground is too compact (doubts, doubts, doubts)

3) need to loosen it up/aerate (other peoples opinions)

4) want to use broadfork but too expensive (my Scottish side coming out)

5) will use rototiller then.

However, after speaking to a coworker and fellow aspiring gardener, I realized that tilling the soil and leaving it unprotected over the winter is not a good idea. It would simply not be good for the soil. Also, my coworker pointed out that the soil I am working with is most likely not very compact. It used to be trees and shrubs and is barely walked on and so I need not worry so much about aerating.

All of this is very true, and so I have returned to where I originally began. Although I have gone in a spiral and not a circle, for now I have more knowledge.

I do not need to rent a large rototiller, and I do not need a 200$ broadfork.

This weekend I will simply remove the sod from where I intend to plant the garlic (and let the sod turn to compost). I will then double dig (simply dig about 12 inches deep) with a spade in order to loosen the soil, and then plant my garlic.

And then I will have the winter to decide what I will do in the spring.

In the meantime I will also cover the rest of my intended garden with whatever I have available to protect it. Be it a tarp, a leafy mulch or a straw mulch. I may even leave part of it bare (simply leave the grass uncovered) if I don’t have enough mulch or tarp. It’ll be an experiment! Covering the ground can help prevent the growth of grass and weeds in the spring, but it will also allow me to plant earlier for it will be warmer and dryer under cover.

So that’s my recap/update. I just spent a good half hour breaking apart the 60ish garlic heads I have into about 240 decent sized bulbs. They were big strong heads and not the easiest things to break apart. I actually think it may have counted as an arm work out.

And I just realized that we sell Le Petit Mas (the farm I got my garlic from) garlic products at my store. Ecollegey (the store i’m working at) is awesome by the way! You can check it out at http://www.ecollegey.com/

We have everything you need. It’s all organic and local as often as possible. And we make delicious in-house muffins, wraps, salads, soups and hummus!

Working here just makes sense. I love food, and now I am surrounded by it. Its awesome! (I’d be worried about getting fat if it all wasnt so healthy! okay, im still a little worried about getting fat cuz our muffins are awesome but ill just run a bit longer from now on)

Cant wait to tell you how garlic planting goes! Till then!

Planting Garlic in the Fall

Okay! First new blog about gardening! (My attempts and experiences of gardening on my own that is.)

This week I will be planting my garlic. I hope to have about 200 heads of garlic next summer. I am planting the music variety, which have big fat cloves, so there are only on average 4 cloves per bulb/head. So in order to plant 200 I bought myself about 50 heads of garlic, which I will break apart 2-3 days before I plan on planting them (so Wed or Thurs). One clove planted = one head/bulb harvested. Also, the music variety is quite potent but not as potent as some other varieties, such as Korean Purple.

Okay, so yes, we are planting our garlic in the fall! You plant garlic in the fall and then harvest it the following July. It is best to buy garlic from someone in your region because garlic becomes acclimatized to the region. It is also a good idea to keep scape bulbs (scape: flower of the garlic) and/or plant extra garlic to keep for replanting the following year. (I will talk more about this at another point when I become more informed as well).

You can plant garlic in the spring, but planting in the fall gives your garlic a head start and therefore they will be bigger and more flavorful than those you would plant in the spring. You want to plant garlic before the ground freezes over. There can be a few frosts, but you definitely want to get it in the ground a good month before the ground freezes over for good. Hence why, for our area, we want to be planting it at any point between mid-September to early early November.

I will be renting a rototiller to loosen the soil of my whole garden area once in the fall, and once in the spring. (I still want to learn more about tilling vs no-tilling and experiment with things myself). I would have liked to till the land without a machine (usinga broadfork instead) but not only is it more tedious, but a broadfork also costs about 200$ brand new, whereas I can rent the rototiller from Loutec for 4 hrs for 40$. Decision made. (At least for now).

Now, where to plant the garlic? Like almost all vegetables, garlic should be planted in an area where they will receive full sun. We also want to make sure the soil is well-drained (crossing my fingers that it doesn’t rain too much this week). If you are planting a lot of garlic, you should plant it in a bed about 1 meter wide. You’ll have about 4 rows of garlic (the rows spaced 20 cm apart). You want to space the garlic about 15 cm apart in row. And you want to plant them about 5 cm deep (with their root side facing down).

Once planted, we want to place mulch over the garlic to keep it (and the ground around it) from going through freeze and thaw cycles. Most people place down straw, but you can place down any mulch, including dry leaves (which there are a ton of right now). A mulch layer of about 10 cm is enough to protect the garlic and the ground (apparently) but im pretty sure more is better in this case. You will have to remove it in the spring though once any chance of frost has passed.

So, that’s it! Now you know how to plant garlic! Go for it! I am 🙂

I’ll explain how to take care of it in the spring and how to harvest it in July once we get there. For now, just throw your garlic in the ground (store variety will most likely not work) and stay warm over the winter. The garlic can take care of itself.

 

Resources:

Much of this information I acquired working at Luxy, and on the Farmers Almanac website (http://www.almanac.com/plant/garlic) which is a great resource! Elliot Coleman and his books and have also taught me a lot. He is like the Godfather of organic gardening and an amazing resource.

The end of one chapter and the beginning of another.

Okay, so this is my last Luxy Farm Blog.

I am writing this after having said goodbye to my parents with whom I had my first official dinner in my new apartment.

So I now sit in my living room, with boxes all around me, but I surprisingly feel at home. I’ve been so busy the last couple of weeks, I really can’t believe I am where I am at the moment.

My internship is over; I have learnt how to grow food on my own. I am excited about starting my new job at Ecollegey-The Real Green Grocer. And I now have my own place; a beautiful, sunny and comfy place that already feels like home. Things have just been rolling, rolling into place it seems, and here’s hoping that they keep on rolling.

This all started April 22, when I first started at Luxy Farm. The first 2 weeks were pretty rainy and cold, but I didn’t mind because everything was new and exciting. I guess it was fitting then that my last week on the farm was also rainy and cold. But even though it wasn’t as new or exciting anymore, it was still enjoyable. I realized (and reminded myself) that although it was rainy and cold, working outside in the fresh air was still better than sitting at a desk all day long.

Being back in the city is definitely going to take some getting used to I think. I am excited about being home with friends and family, starting a new job, having a garden next summer, and getting involved in the green community in Montreal. But I really have been living in a different world for the past 5 1/2 months. Whenever I came home on the weekends I felt like I was travelling from one world to another. I’ve never had the ‘city life’ experience and I do want to experience it. I know I am going to have a blast living downtown, being close to my friends and eating at yummy restaurants. And I will appreciate it for however long I am here, but I know I don’t want to be here forever. I hope to eventually make my way back out to the country, even if it’s just a St-Eustache farm.

And I know this because of what I did this summer. I have learnt a lot of things over the past couple of months and I have grown as a person, but I believe the most important thing I have gotten out of all this is a goal for the future. It may not be perfectly painted out, the specifics may not be laid out straight, but I now know for sure that I want to live a simple and self sufficient life. I hope to eventually have a piece of land, away from the hustle and bustle of city life, a place where I can feel completely alone and yet not alone at all. A place where I can grow food for myself, my family and friends for the whole year. A lifestyle that allows me to be outside in the fresh air most of the day. One in which I wake up with the sun and go to bed with the sun. A life where I am creating things on my own, the master of my fate.

Leaving the farm, I feel like I can take on the world. I am extremely empowered by the idea of being able to grow my own food. Last week I was out in the field jumping/dancing to my music, and the sun was setting over the trees right in front of me. In that moment I felt like I was having a staring contest with life, and I knew I was going to win. I realized then that I can take whatever life throws at me, because no one and nothing can take my spark, my passion or my smile away from me. No matter what happens, I will never lose what makes me me, I will never lose the fire I have for life.

And with that, I pretty much feel like I can end this blog. I was going to write about the songs of the summer: Elmo’s song (thank you Ayla) and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody (seemingly the only song Rebecca had on her Ipod). And I was going to jokingly write about my extremely healthy digestive system (poor Rebecca) after a summer of green vegetables but frankly I’m tired and I’m sure you can live without the detailed explanation of the latter.

Before I end this blog though, I would like to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to the Luxy Crew. Thank you Daizy and Johnny for allowing me to come to the farm this summer and learn from you. Thank you Johnny for teaching me how to grow food, and for putting up with all of us women, I know we aren’t the easiest beings to work with. Thank you Daizy for feeding me delicious meals and wonderful baked goods. Thank you Ayla for being the cutest thing in the world and always putting a smile on my face. Thank you Oma and Chris for being mothers to all of us girls. Thank you Molly, Jango and Marie-Lou (the dog and cats) for being my animal companions and showering me with love. And thank you Chloe and Rebecca, for being the amazing people that you are. I couldn’t have asked for two better companions. I am so happy I was able to share this experience with you guys.

And so, that ends my blog. Fret not however, for although this may be my last Luxy Farm blog, it is not to be my last blog. I will keep blogging that is for sure. I plan to work on my recipes and resources pages. I have read lots of books over the summer and I plan to share them with you. I plan to provide you with notes/summaries on different topics from different books, so that even if you don’t get around to buying or reading them, you can still learn with me. Perhaps I will also start a daily or weekly food blog (it’s bigger than me really).

Therefore I will write again soon. For now I wish you a very good night. And I very much hope you have enjoyed my blogs, for I have enjoyed writing them.

Till next time!

The first week of October: Warm, Yummy and Colorful!

I am entering my last week on the farm! Monday will be the last time I was bins. Wednesday will be the last CSA pick up. Friday will be the last time I harvest for market. And Friday will be the last time my parents have to come pick me up from the farm. We will definitely be making an LCBO pit stop, along with a stop at the St-Albert Cheese Factory (they have jalapeno cheddar), a stop at the local Casselman brewery (for a jug of stout) and a stop at the Thai/Cambodian restaurant for a quick Tom Yum Soup to hold us over until we get home to my new apartment. (If you’d like me to pick you up something from any of these locations send me a msg via txt or fcb)

I could go off and ramble on about my new apartment, the move, my new appliances (that I just bought this morning) and my plans for decorating it but this is a blog for the farm. So let’s stick to that, especially seeing as it will be one of the last.

Last week was beautiful. Every morning was pleasantly warm in comparison to what I was expecting. The days were sunny and fresh. It was a pleasure to be outside each and every day.

We finished harvesting the first batch of carrots that were planted. There are still 6 beds, which will be for storage, Johnny and Rebecca will be harvesting them a bit later on. We’ve also taken out the last of the Kohlrabi. Basically, there’s not much left in the ground, we are slowly but surely harvesting what is left. We will be harvesting our brussel sprouts on Monday, finally! They were one of the first things we planted. I do love brussel sprouts but I think I might leave the growing of them to someone else and use the room in my garden for something else.

Speaking of brussel sprouts, its Thanksgiving next weekend! I get excited just thinking about the menu: butternut squash soup, turkey lurkey, Nicholson/Yale stuffing, homemade gravy and cranberry sauce, bread rolls (hoping to make some homemade ones), baked and buttered acorn squash, caramelized brussel sprouts and carrots, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole and the list could go on and on and on. But we must not forget pumpkin pie! My mom makes a pretty awesome pumpkin pie but think I might try my hand on making a pumpkin cheesecake version. The photo of it looks amazing.

And speaking of cooking, it was Daizys birthday last week and so we made her a veggie lasagna without noodles. The first layer was zucchini topped with spinach, then cottage cheese, sage, mozzarella and sauce. The second layer was butternut squash topped with kale, more cheese and sauce. And we finished off the top layer with more zucchini. I even made the sauce from scratch with the cherry tomatoes that I had pureed. I simply cooked them with some garlic and onions and a bunch of oregano and thyme. It turned out pretty good, a bit watery, but flavorful nonetheless.

The lasagna was served with a walnut, goat cheese and pear salad with a honey lemon dressing. I also whipped up, for the first time ever, a homemade chocolate/coffee cake with chocolate cream cheese icing. The icing was to die for and the cake was perfectly moist, if I do say so myself. As I cook more and more, I am definitely getting better. However there are still many a time when I try something new, and although it tastes good, I feel as if it could have been better, as if there is a touch of something missing. But this cake I tell you, I was pretty impressed with myself.

This week I hope to buy a batch of garlic from a farm east of Montreal. I will be buying about 40 heads of garlic, each with about 5 bulbs, so that I have about 200 heads of garlic next summer. If you are interested in planting garlic as well, or even if you would just like to buy some garlic for storage over the winter contact me. I will wait to see who would like some, but would like to place the order as soon as possible. About 20 heads of garlic is 20$. So I’ll be buying 40$ worth and getting 200 heads out of it next summer. Garlic is planted in the fall (late Oct, early Nov) and is harvested the following July. This year seems like it’s going to be a cold one so that is why I would love to buy them soon. Planting late October, instead of waiting until November seems like a good idea.

And I think i’ll leave it at that. Its late afternoon on a cool but sunny Sunday. I’m going to try out the sweet potato casserole tonight but am going to work up my appetite with a little zumba workout. My zumba workout is basically just me with earphones on, in the field, dancing like a madman, and throwing in some “workout” moves. Its going to be fun. I was even thinking that when I get back to Montreal I could start a jogging/zumba/workout group. I’m pretty peppy, I could lead a class, ya?

Anywho, I hope you all had a relaxing weekend. I also hope you have a good week. And I can’t wait to come home and see everyone and have you over to my new apartment where I will feed you delicious meals made from organic food from the grocer I will be working at, and we will sip on some organic wine and beer together.

Tata!