2013 Garlic Crop Is In!

garlc harvest 2013Yes! The garlic is IN and hangin’ in the shed! It looks great!

With this announcement, I have another – the short version is, there is not much there.

No – it’s not another infestation disaster. Simply, I scaled way back on the number and varieties of bulbs I planted (and scaled way UP in the permaculture / food forest plantings).

What this means is that although, yes, of course, I am still willing to share (how could I not?) – supplies are limited. I have only 19 varieties (instead of my usual 2 dozen or so), which means that there is still a little bit of most everything (obviously, I wasn’t very good at cutting back on the varieties). Consequently, I will no longer be selling at discount prices in wholesale quantities and, at the risk of losing some of my fans (I hope not!), I have made the difficult decision to only sell locally, i.e., I will not be mailing garlic this year.

“What the heck happened?” you may ask (and many have – I appreciate your concern on many levels).

Truth was, 1300 bulbs for this little old lady to plant, harvest, clean, ship, etc. – along with everything else – was just a bit much for one person. I wasn’t making the kind of profit to hire help (not even close!), nor did I have the infrastructure to expand to the next level.

Ok, so it’s not always about money – and when it comes down to it, I’d rather make friends than money, and garlic is a great way to do that with like-minded people of a certain odoriferous attraction, if you know what I mean.

However, there is also a logistical problem. Garlic does not take up a lot of room, but it does need to be rotated. As we have converted more and more of our garden space to permaculture-type plantings, including more native plants for birds, bees, and other wildlife, as well as perennial vegetables, herbs, trees, shrubs, and berries, it gets harder and harder to find that new sunny spot for the alliums, particularly where the soil has already been strengthened with cover crops and compost.

So – you can imagine, after building up the seed stock over the years, what it was like to try to decide what to keep and how much. Very difficult indeed. Based on the volume of emails I am getting, I am wondering whether it is a decision I might regret; however, I can’t logically scale back up without resolving a few issues, and of course, it can’t be done right now, which is when most people want their garlic fix, myself included.

On the bigger picture, however, the garden has literally exploded! The sheer volume of biomass has been nothing short of awe-inspiring! I admit to always feeling one step behind, but focusing on the mulch harvest rather than on pulling “weeds” has made a huge difference. I welcome the chaos! The diversity keeps getting better and better! The Willow Room has taken on a life force of its own and little children, voles, bees, birds, frogs, and more all play there! We have constructed pole tee-pees and supports here and there, and the birds sit atop and greet us with morning songs! Our two beehives have expanded to six, a process that has made us much more appreciative of community decision-making, as well as more aware of a wide variety of other pollinator species. Together, these small creatures have provided us with an abundance of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, loganberries, marionberries, honeyberries, blueberries, currants, gooseberries, jostaberries, Nanking cherries, medlar fruits, goji, goumi, and seaberries. We also have another bumper crop of cherries and loads of apples and plums on the way, despite a heavy tent caterpillar infestation across our region this year.

Obviously, devoting a lot of space to a monocrop, even something as beloved as garlic, no longer makes sense in this landscape.

So for those who exclaim, “How could you?!?” I could talk about other things that get “in the way” of any particular focus – love, sickness, health, travel, life decisions, celebrations, music, art – and all those other things that accompany having 5 kids and a half-dozen grandchildren….(one yet to be born!). What can I say – getting side-tracked is a way of being, and life has a way of getting away from you at times. Or maybe it’s that nature has a way of getting a way with you at times. A subtle but important difference. It’s a close encounter of a third kind. And yes, this is a good thing.

Please stay tuned.

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