Greens and Garlic Galore

The work on the new hoophouse is proceeding apace - in all of Ben and Nick's spare time. But they have gone from three bows to 23, which is nearly half of what we need for the hoophouse. Below you can see them fastening the bows and their support trusses together.

It's that time of year again! We are going to give ourselves a big pat on the back for getting the SEED GARLIC ready by mid-September. We will be bringing seed garlic to market starting this weekend until we sell out of it! Feel free to ask us any questions, but please also refer to our Seed Garlic page. 

It is also the time of year when the cooler begins to be positively stuffed with produce. We are getting into some fall veggies: we have lots of greens, radishes, turnips, winter squash, leeks, potatoes, cabbage, and more! We will have one-pound bags of lettuce mix, spicy mix, and arugula for sale for $12 each for all salad-lovers out there!

The Harvest Moon is the full moon tomorrow night on September 16th - and the waves of fall harvests are just beginning. Enjoy the bounty!

See you at market!

-Ailish

Cleaning Frenzy

We had enough help this week to start getting some real garlic cleaning done. The garlic has been curing for three weeks, and it has dried down really well. Now it is ready to be trimmed, cleaned, and sorted. We trim off the stems and roots, and then we rub the dirt and loose paper from each garlic bulb. When they are clean, we use a nifty tool Ben made to separate the garlic by size - small for culinary and large for seed (below).  If the garlic passes through the opening then it is small enough to be culinary; if not, we save it for seed. The reason we save the larger pieces for seed is to selecting for the genetics that produce larger garlic, even in a dry season such as this one. 

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Then, after cleaning, we box them up for storage. This week we will start selling a little culinary garlic of this first variety, Inchelium Red, that we are cleaning, but we actually have to clean and sort ALL of the garlic so that we know how much seed to keep for ourselves and how much we can sell at market. See pretty, cleaned garlic below:

I got some questions about our irrigation tank setup a couple of weeks ago and finally remembered to take a picture this week. Below you can see the tank, and the hose coming off of it and running into the field (between a bed of swiss chard and a bed of kale). You can just barely see them in this photo, but every twenty feet or so we plug little sprinklers into the hose. The sprinklers rest on three-foot-high green metal poles, and they are pretty good at covering a circle about twenty feet in diameter. 

See you at market!

-Ailish

Full Swing

The time is now...for garlic harvest!

We will be harvesting our garlic tomorrow (Friday). We have approximately a quarter-acre to harvest, and we have five people on the crew tomorrow to get the job done. Today we spent a few hours in the afternoon preparing the hoophouse in which we will cure the garlic. You can see the crew laying out landscape fabric to keep the vegetation out in the photo below. We want to keep the vegetation out because that can raise the humidity in the hoophouse and encourage mold growth in the garlic.

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For those of you who are growing your own garlic (and you may be aware of this if you bought seed garlic from us last year), we have instructions for how to plant, grow, harvest, cure, and store garlic on our website: http://whatleyfarm.com/seed-garlic/. Just scroll to the bottom of the page. 

Summer is really in full swing. Tomatoes are really starting to come in, and we have the first peppers - all green - both hot and sweet. For sweets we have green bell peppers and shishito (japanese frying peppers), and for hots we have anaheim/numex chili, havasu chili, hungarian hot wax, poblanos, and jalapenos. No, we can't wait to start to start roasting peppers again either, but it will probably be two weeks from this Saturday that we start. 

The greenhouse project is also going gangbusters. All the beds are laid out - see the boxes filled with soil in the photo above - and next week we should be pouring concrete to make the pathways and the pad for workspace. 

Wow. So much going on! But don't worry - we will see you at market!

-Ailish

The Rain, Rain, Rain came Down, Down, Down

Has anyone ever watched those old Winnie the Pooh videos? That was what Wednesday was like. I almost expected Heffalumps and Woozles to follow. 

We got over 6 inches of rain on the farm. We're not exactly sure because the rain gauge overflowed. Fortunately, though, we had minor damage overall. We had a little erosion in the field behind the truck (above), and our harvest was definitely curtailed Thursday morning. The earth was so soft and squishy we had to give it plenty of time to dry out in certain places. Therefore, we didn't have lettuce mix or spinach this morning, sorry! We just couldn't get to them yesterday. 

We have garlic planting and cultivating instructions up here on our website now! Hurray! I will try to get some pretty pictures up there soon. Also, please let me know if you have questions that I have not answered on that page, and I will do my best to get that information up there.

See you at market!

-Ailish

A Gentle Welcome to Fall

We have been enjoying the weather this week (though we wouldn't mind some rain!). The cool nights and warm days are really great for working hard outside and then getting a good night's sleep. Actually, most of the nights this week, temperatures have dropped below 50 degrees F, but not too far below 50. A lot of heat-loving summer vegetables are very sensitive to temperature - peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, ginger, etc., do not do well at temperatures below 50 F. Fortunately, we have all these crops in high tunnels (unheated hoophouses), and, as we do in the spring, we are now closing up the tunnels at night to keep the plants warmer, and opening them during the day so the plants don't bake.

Above you can see the greenhouse on the right (where we start seedlings and grow the ginger) and a high tunnel on the left. We did not even open them completely today; although it was very sunny, the air was so cool it never got above 85 inside the tunnels. You can also see in between the tunnels where, until two days ago, there were flowers. The end is near! No, not really, but I'm afraid flowers are done for us this season. 

Below is a view of the greenhouse getting closed up for the night. The sides roll down, and you can see the water stain at the height they were rolled up to all summer. You can also just see some mint seedlings on the tables inside the greenhouse. Those will get planted this fall, and we hope to get a good stand of spearmint and peppermint going for next year.

A reminder, for those who have seen our signs at market, and an announcement for those who haven't: we will be selling seed garlic at all our markets starting tomorrow, and until we run out! We have six varieties: Music, Georgian Fire, German Extra Hardy, Phillips, Russian Red, and Inchelium Red

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See you at market!

-Ailish