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from the Field

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July 8, 2018
Big Harvest Time
Notes From The Field
by Farmer Derek

Carrot check
It's upon us, the time to harvest carrots and garlic. Carrots were direct seeded into cold and chickweed-threatened raised beds back in early April, went through multiple rounds of cultivating and weeding, and appear to have made it through our wettest-ever month of May. Raised beds and a slightly pitched field hopefully kept all of the carrots in perfect condition by draining most of the excess water away. We won't know the truth of this until we undercut the beds to loosen the soil and extract all of the roots, but our test tugs have revealed tasty orange carrots. Our goal this week will be to harvest the approximate 5000' row feet and begin distributing them next week. Dry soil allows for tractor-loosening the beds which makes this task 10-100 times easier and faster.
Garlic, garlic, garlic. Garlic is an amazing crop. Planted in November as a clove, it spends the winter under an inch of soil and several inches of straw, growing rapidly above and below ground April through June after the soil sufficiently warms to its liking. Anchor Run has saved and used its own garlic cloves as seed since 2004 and we now have our own unique varieties. This may or may not be fully true, though, since we basically are planting clove clones each year. They're not really mixing genes since they don't flower and there is no cross pollination followed by seeds. This is because we pull out and eat the scape, which would eventually turn into the flower. By removing the scape we're forcing the plant to redirect its energy into its bulb instead of for reproduction (so cruel). So, by saving cloves based on flavor, size, performance, etc, we are basically narrowing down to a variety that suits us best. At this point, though, we'd rather have a nice mix of varieties with a variety of flavor and size of bulbs, cloves, and let what we save and plant be random, up to chance.
We all enjoyed the green garlic in the early spring, then the scapes were a treat. Next we'll enjoy the fresh garlic from uncured bulbs straight out of the soil, followed by cured and shelf-stable bulbs through the remainder of the season. Around 300 pounds of the cured garlic will then be planted as seed this coming fall and the cycle will continue.

Pulling garlic in 2016.
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