Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Garlic Queen Harvest
Every July I put on a different hat and become "The Garlic Queen." It started just a few years ago with my desire to create my own garlic farm. I never expected to get rich from it but I had hoped to have enough garlic to last all year for my own needs and to give and sell some. So far each year I have improved the size of the garlic and quantity. I buy seeds from all around the world in hopes of achieving the tastiest garlic around. Little did I know back then that the process is very involved.
First Comes the Scapes
Last October, when I planted my cloves, I gave each and every one a hearty breakfast of pulverized egg shells, coffee grounds and bone meal. For their lunch, I added some fish emulsion and dinner consisted of cow manure and compost. It's important to me to keep the garlic organic. I also have opened a new plot of land on my grounds for the garlic each fall. For the 2016 planting I have enough of my own very large garlic curing in my wine cellar (yes, sadly it has turned into my garlic cellar!) to use for my planting. This is a first since the last few years did not reap any really large bulbs worthy of replanting.
Freshly Harvested Scapes
The garlic farm is special to me because my dear son, Charlie, helped me to get it started. He moved on to another realm a few years ago and I think of him as each clove goes into the ground. It is as though his spirit is with me as we talk to the miniature life forms together, bidding them a hearty farewell into their winter sorjourn. I also feel Charlie is with me as I harvest each beautiful bulb. He is smiling and saying “ Good job mom, keep on growing your garlic and growing your life.”
Then the Garlic Straight From the Ground
Curing for 2-3 Weeks is the Next Step
The Garic is Clean and Ready to be Braided
The season is over and it definitely feels anticlimactic but October planting is just around the corner. The braids are almost all sold now but I have enough garlic (small) left to continue to make my garlic sprinkles and Dracula’s Demise all year. Come see me at the Roanoke Farmer’s Market every Saturday. We are open all year. I will also be sending my brother-the Queen’s courier- to Greenbriar Nursery Garden on Starkey Road. If you happen to be in Roanoke, please stop by and say hello. I am at booth 18.
Finally, Here I am as the Garlic Queen Giving Advice and Selling my Garlic on the Market