Saturday, August 17, 2013

Garlic and Potatoes: 2013 Bumper Crops

A four inch long and thick as my thumb tobacco hornworm devoured my green zebra tomato plant this week. I neglected to monitor for this voracious caterpillar. That was just the last in a sad story of my tomato crop this year. Only the sun golds are producing their sweet fruits, providing a little bit of cheer in the tomato row.

The younger of the two peach trees is full of fruit on the verge of ripening. Unfortunately we also have brown rot, a fungus that turns perfectly beautiful fruits rotten very quickly. So, we are improving sanitation in and around the tree by removing spoiled fruits and picking healthy fruits even if they are not fully ripe. Despite the brown rot we have plenty of juicy delicious peaches to eat.

Most other garden crops are holding their own. Lots of peppers, but few are turning red due to the cooler days and nights of August. I love the weather, the peppers and eggplants are not so good with it.

Two crops were splendid this year: potatoes and garlic. I planted three 100-foot rows of red norland and kennebec potatoes at New Roots Farm -- about 35 pounds of seed potato. Farmer Jeff and his assistant Ben cultivated the soil before I planted in May, leaving me deep, rich soil. That was a good start. In June and July I weeded and removed lots of potato beetles. Farmer Renee gave them one treatment of organic spray to control the beetles. Although they got lost in the weeds a bit in the latter part of July and early August, I easily hand dug one row on Thursday.

And what a crop. The haul from that one row weighed in at 135 pounds. Assuming the other two rows are just as productive the total harvest will be more than 400 pounds from the original 35 pounds of seed: more than 10 to 1. One of the white kennebec potatoes was twice the size of my fist: big enough for two servings of baked potato.
My sister and I are visiting our parents this weekend. We spent the morning on final trimming and cleaning of our garlic harvest. Thanks for your help too Mom. We ended with 485 bulbs, about average, but nearly all were in good condition and in a range of sizes. We saved out the biggest 100 bulbs for the fall planting. The rest are destined for many meals from now until next summer.

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