It's all about the garlic. Well not really but the garlic really was the highlight of my week last weekend. But first let me share 2 little experiments we began last week.
Both involved mulching. The first began when Danny went to help his brother George chip up some spruce trees that were no longer required:
What does one do with all this bounty? First off you kind of hesitate to put in your compost heap because all these spruce chips could very easily make your compost more acidic. Not a good thing; one of the reasons people lime their gardens and lawns is to lower the acidity of the soil and make the land more fertile. But still one hates to see it go to waste; all this mulch must be good for something!
Danny of course immediately had an idea. Currently we use electric fence in a lot of places on our farm. One of the issues that comes up with electric fence is that you have to keep the grass down around/under an electric fence. All the grass that grows up around and hits the electric fence shorts out the fence. A few stalks of grass is okay but a lot is not. Often we have to send someone to mow out underneath the fences when we wish to move cows or sheep. The job is usually hot and boring, not to mention well attended by flies of the biting variety. I have never offered to do this job. Neither does anyone else; they usually have to be told to do it and not infrequently paid. What if we mulched under the fence, killed off the grass and then we didn't have to mow under that fence again?!!!
It sounded like a pretty good idea so off to the field Danny went with his intrepid crew, Eben and Hannah as well as a Wwoofer, Sarah.
First we laid some cardboard.
Next comes the spruce chips and...
Hopefully this fence will no longer require as much upkeep. We didn't do the whole fence but Danny assures me there are lots more woodchips and that we can do this fence and some others if this idea works out. Just in case your sitting there saying wait a minute, how can this not work? Let me point out a few things. It might not work well becauseas I pointed out before the ground around the fence may become too acidic to produce good pasture. It's a tricky thing, we're going to wait and see. we want some of the grass to die out but most of the grass to produce as well as it ever did. If it doesn't we'll go back to the original wayuntil we come up with another idea.
Our second experiment was very similiar to the first one. This past winter I started saving all my coffee grounds. I had an idea that it might be a good idea to mulch around my beehive with them. All that excess coffee would kill the grass, preventing it from blocking access into and out of the hive. My hive did not make it through the winter, to be perfectly honest I'm more a bee haver than a bee keeper. My management of the hive was not that great but it did survive for several years in spite of me. Anyhow I decided to try out my idea anyway; mostly because I hated to see all those grounds go to wasteand since Danny was trying out his idea...
I'll check both places out in a few weeks and letyou know how everythings working out.
In the meantime let me tell you about the most important thing that happened last week. I harvested my garlic!!! Yes I did and there was a lot of it. First off let me be honest and say that it was not the resounding success I had hoped it would be; I should have harvested it at least a week or two sooner. I think it really was a little on the too mature side and some of the leaves that cover the bulbs were too far gone. I should be all right though because I have decided to plant it all anyway so I can grow even more garlic next year. (Vampires beware!)
Anyway last Friday night Angela and George wanted to go out for some quality time so they brought Eben's cousins by. I think they thought they would be allowed to play and have lots of fun with Eben and hannah but not so:
Everyone was put to work pulling and digging (some of the stalks broke off without the bulb coming up to the surface; it was Eben's job to dig these up for me).
As we pulled up the garlic it was moved off to the shed and laid out there to rest for a day or two.After some fooling around.
Eben did a great job sorting it out and laying it out in the shed. But it was obviously way too much for the space so we left it there Friday night and all day Saturday because we had the Market and it was raining anyway. Come Sunday though we got back to business.
Everyone sorted through the garlic, tied into bunches of 10 and piled it on a pallet attached to the tractor to help it get to it's next destination.
Danny hauled it off to the barn for me. we had discussed it quite a bit and racked our brains trying to think of a good drying location that wasn't too light and that had good air circulation. We came up with one (good?) idea and yet again my farmer husband proved his love for me.
Now how did he do that you may wonder? Well let's just say that neither of us has a head or liking for heights. And the best space that we could come up with was hanging from the rafters of the leanto portion of the barn!
It turned out there were over 450 bulbs of garlic ( I had thought therewas only about 250).
So while all my garlic dries everyone try to be kind to each other.