Saturday, June 15, 2019

6 more weeks until harvest!

It's mid June now and it's still raining more often than not! The garlic field at Railway Creek Farm is looking great despite all the moisture! I hope your garlic patches are also doing well. By now the plants should be all leafed out and in the more southern parts of Ontario, scapes are forming. The scapes are not showing at all here North of 7. 

With all this rain we are having, not only do we have May flowers finally blooming in June, but the weeds have taken advantage of the few sunny days and exploded into seed already.

Leek moth has not shown itself in the garlic field yet. Maybe the cold winter did most of them in, and maybe the late spring took care of the rest. I'm not making any assumptions, I am still going to be vigilant in my daily walkabout in among the plants, carefully monitoring for them. If I see one, I will squish it.

I just want to remind you all if you want more daily posts of my activities in the garlic patch, or would like to know more about cover cropping/no-till, and other on-farm behind the scenes events, I urge you to check out the Instagram account. Click HERE. For Facebook, click HERE. There you will discover what life is like on a small acreage farm run by a middle age woman.

If you have comments and questions, you can post them on those social media places or send me an email. I encourage feedback and reading your stories about your garlic growing adventures.

Hop on this garlic train with me.


Monday, April 15, 2019

Spring 2019

Dear garlic growers, spring is here, and that means garlic will be poking its green tips out from the ground. Where I live in the Hastings County, the garlic has not shown itself yet, but I have seen reports from other growers in some areas of Ontario, garlic is up! For any new growers out there, this is the time to un-mulched your beds if you put down straw or leaf mulch in the fall. I like to remove quite a bit of it to allow the soil to warm up. I did mine this past Saturday, April 13th. I am glad I did remove the straw as there were a lot of still frozen water in patches where the mulch was very thick. Mulching helps to regulate the temperatures under ground at a higher reading while the air temps can be as low as -20 during the winter. Now the air is much warmer as it is spring and the soil temperature is lower than the air and this is the time you want to warm up the soil to give that garlic a chance to grow. I keep the mulch in the path way so that I can replace it to conserve soil moisture if we are experiencing dry spells. I may add the mulch back for weed suppression after I hand cultivate between the rows within the bed. 

One more thing I would like to touch on is the Leek Moth. Once the night temperature reaches 10ยบC, the adult moths will emerge, mate and begin to lay eggs, 80 to 100 on the leaves of garlic and other onion plants over a 3 to 4 week period. After a week or so the eggs will hatch and the little greenish larvae will chew their way into the stem of the garlic and eat their way down, usually, towards the bulb. They will actively eat for about 2 weeks then the larvae will emerge from the plant and spin their cocoons on the underside of garlic leaves. Pupation is 12 days or longer depending on the weather. This second generation will be ready to mate by mid to late June and possible even as late as mid July. Pheromone traps can be place in the fields to monitor the population. I am usually in the patch weeding, and I can observe the damage and establish a rough guess as to the potential damage the garlic will suffer by the second and third generation. To control leek moth is difficult. You can cover the growing beds with floating fabric row covers well anchored down to the soil, or hand pick them off. There is a product called Spinosad that has good results as a natural insecticide. I have not used it yet.

Part of the joy of growing garlic is the hands-on cultivation one experiences while watching the plants grow into nice large bulbs. Removing mulch, hand weeding, and inspecting for leek moths are the most important task one should do in the spring along with roguing out sick looking plants and maybe adding some manure tea to the plants if you think they need a boost. The other joyous parts of growing garlic is harvesting and eating it!

Good luck.

Removing mulch from the garlic beds to allow the sunshine to warm up the soil.

Monday, September 3, 2018

It's time!!

Porcelain cloves waiting to be planted.  

The time has arrived for ordering your planting stock or your eating supply. Please specify for which you are ordering and follow the instructions on the how to order page. 

Once your package arrives, open it up immediately and check all the bulbs for quality. 
 Make sure you dont mix anything up if you ordered more than one kind.
Included in the order will be more instructions for you to read.

Happy Garlic Planting!!


Monday, July 16, 2018

Harvest 2018

I am living the dream of a crazy garlic farmer!! It is harvest time! The crop looks amazing this year! We are on day 4 with over 3000 already dug out. We have a steady supply of helpers and volunteers to make the job easier. Pulling the garlic out from the field is probably the toughest part of the harvest for two reasons. The soil is very dry and hard and the roots of the garlic need to be loosen sometimes with a garden fork before pulling. And it is darn Hot at over 30C ! We got 27 mm of rain on Monday evening, hopefully that will help to loosen the sandy soil. 

We will be posting in the next few weeks what will be available this year on the garlic catalogue page. Prices will be added to each kind of garlic available. There might even be some new kinds on offer!! We will also add an tab at the top to explain how the ordering is done since we don't use on-line shopping cart.

Any of you who already grow garlic from Railway Creek Farm, we hope yours is doing as well as ours. Any questions, please feel free to email me. Also follow us on Facebook and instagram.

Happy garlic harvest.

Mum at 83 and still helping out with garlic harvest.