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A mediocre allium year

Garlic harvest

Two weeks ago, I harvested our Italian Softneck garlic, and this week the Music and Silverwhite Silverskin were finally ready to join their precocious siblings on the curing racks.  It's shaping up to be a mediocre year for alliums, probably because of a cold winter, lack of sun during the critical bulking up period this spring, and perhaps mineral burnCuring potato onionsAlthough I'm a bit disappointed that my garlic heads are only 75% to 100% as large as storebought rather than 100% to 200% as large, we plant extra to hedge our bets, so we'll still enjoy a garlicky season.

Half of the potato onions were also ready this week (with the ones closer to the shady hill needing a bit more time).  Again, the bulbs were smaller than last year, but larger than the year before when I gave up on one variety and changed over to this one.  With the curing racks completely full of garlic, I had to cobble together makeshift arrangements for the onions.  Most went into old freezer baskets propped off the ground, but I'm hoping even the ones on this gutter downspout (not under the gutter) have enough airflow to dry well.

Bowl of berries

Completely unrelated, we're making the transition to raspberries, and loving every minute of it.  At the peak of strawberry season, I can't imagine wanting any other berries, but now that the quality is declining in the strawberry beds, the raspberries become my favorites.  A delicious quart full!

Our chicken waterer keeps hens healthy so they can lay more eggs.


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Can you tell me how long it takes for berries to go from but to ready for picking. My Wife & I moved into a place with lots of berries (goose, black, raspberries) that are just starting to bud. We want to know how long until we can pick so that the birds dont get them first
Comment by Keith Tue Jun 18 14:16:10 2013
I've always harvested garlic when it's half yellow and have had excellent results with bullb size. Some of the bulbs have rotten wrappers but it's never affected the quality of the clove. I'm in southern Ontario and we usually harvest hardnecks in late July. Our last frost-free date is mid-May.
Comment by Chris Tue Jun 18 15:23:23 2013

Have you guys heard of making biochar? This is the first year i have heard of it and i plan on making it. I hear it has been around for hundreds of years and was used to make rich fertile soil from the poor soil. Keep blogging, I love watching your farm grow.

Comment by john Wed Jun 19 07:03:46 2013

Keith --- I haven't paid all that much attention to time between buds and ripe fruit. Instead, I just keep an eye on each kind of fruit until I see that it's ripe, then get a rough idea of when that happens in our climate. For us, black raspberries are ripe now, gooseberries should be starting within a week, and red raspberries have been going for a while.

John --- We've posted quite a few times about biochar. (You can always put a word like that in the search box and come up with an answer quickly.) Here's a sumup of our biochar experiments.

Comment by anna Wed Jun 19 07:59:32 2013

Thanks, After the bushes get done with producing, we are going to transplant them out of the tree line to a place where we can net them. Then we wont have to be so worried.

It wouldnt bother me so much if it were our chickens eating them, but I dont want to feed the wildlife any more than I have to.

We planted mullberries & a chicken garden by the hen house. My wife says that chickens love them and I dont blame them as I love mulberries too

Comment by Keith Wed Jun 19 09:28:24 2013

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime