Monday, November 9, 2009

Planting, not just for Spring anymore

The weather this weekend was some of the best we have seen for being outdoors in a few weeks. The fields have dried out enough for us to work in them AND it just so happens that we have some work to do. What a nice coincidence!

So, one of the major tasks for the weekend (when we weren't preparing for, being at or cleaning up from the Harvest Market) was to plant our garlic.

Normally, we would like to get our garlic planted in October. But, wet fields and uncooperative weather prohibited that effort. So, here we are in November, hoping to get the garlic in and mulched before the really cold stuff moves in.

Our farm tends to have heavier soils - which is great for moisture retention in dry years. However, it also makes it a bit more difficult for root crops. In order to address this situation, we do things like plant annual rye grass and other cover crops to loosen the soil. However, we have also found that the broadfork also provides excellent aeration for the soil where we intend to plant a root crop. In fact, the potato rows that had a broadfork treatment this Spring did better than the rows that were not broadforked.

For those who don't know what garlic planting entails:
  1. We do a quick till of the row to be planted with our lawn tractor tiller
  2. We use the broadfork to loosen up the soil below the till line WITHOUT turning the soil over
  3. We do a slow till of the row to make a fine seed bed for planting
  4. We split the garlic heads into individual cloves for planting
  5. We plant the garlic cloves in the bed three wide for the entire 70 foot row. There would be approximately 700 cloves in one row.
  6. We mulch the garlic rows.
Well, we planted five and a half rows of garlic this weekend, so somewhere in the neighborhood of 3800 cloves in the ground. Just a little more planting and then we need to get the mulch so these are covered for winter.

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