July, 2015

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Cabinets and closets

Friday, July 24th, 2015

This set finally done!


Progress of the beans

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

The magic beans are doing well. Here are some pics along the way and a few random notes.

beans at day 10

beans at day 10

beans at about 6 weeks

beans at about 6 weeks

first blooms

first blooms

Miscellaneous notes:

  • The beans took about a week to come up. I watered them daily until they were about 6″ high and then less frequently after that.
  • The germination rate was close to 100%.
  • Somewhere around week 2, the leaves of the beans started getting eaten pretty good. I suspect cutter bees. Since they aren’t around much and are supposed to do more good than harm, I decided to just leave them and see what happened.
  • As expected, the cutter bees didn’t stay around long. They did a fair amount of damage, but nothing that couldn’t be overcome.
  • At about 4 weeks, the monsoons hit, and the beans started growing much faster (like everything else).
  • Today, at about 6 weeks, we saw the first blooms. I had heard they would be very pretty and red. these are a dark orange. We’ll see how the others look.

Garlic and Shallots for 2014-2015

Monday, July 6th, 2015

Back in the fall equinox of 2014, we planted 300 garlic and 50 French shallots. They plodded along all winter and then took off in the spring. After a few years experimentation, we’ve concluded that garlic/shallots like being sprinkled (as opposed to just dripped) — at least come spring (we hand water in the winter).

We had a very good year for both with greater than 100 percent yield. What you say? During early spring, Karen noticed garlic and shallots volunteering themselves in various beds around the garden. I told her to pull them up and compost them. Instead she began carefully digging them up and replanting them in what we began to call the “rogue” bed. I had a lot of doubts, but I was wrong. What little loss we had in the main beds was more than made up for from the “rogue” bed.

boxes of garlic

The garlic harvest

Garlic store quite well, but sometime around December-January each year our eating garlic starts to get a little soft. In an attempt to stretch out our supply a little, we’re switching to two types of garlic. The purple majestic is ready a little earlier then most garlic — around the end of May, early June. We’re adding a type of garlic called Music (very white in color) that is ready about a month later in early July. This doesn’t mean it will last a month longer, but it’s worth trying.

For our shallots we’ve settled on just the French shallots. I like red shallots a lot, but they don’t like the heat here — especially after they’ve been harvested.

The shallots have been harvested and are curing now. It’s interesting to note that while garlic are really missing something if you eat them before they are cured, shallots are yummy immediately.

The total haul for the garlic (post curing) this year is twenty-two and a half pounds. We won’t know about the shallots until they are finished curing.

One thought I had this year when I was doing the final processing of the garlic is just how much you touch garlic to produce it. At the start, you separate the cloves by hand. You pick each one up to plant them. Once they’re harvested, you pull them up by hand, and you spread them out to cure. They final step is to cut off the roots and the top before you rub vigorously to remove all the loose layers of skin.

garlic on a scale