Garlic Harvest 2014

I finally harvested our crop of garlic that I planted back in April 2014.  You can read about where and what variety I planted in this post titled “Planting time for Brassica and Allium“.

It seems very late in the season to be harvesting garlic, but I checked back to previous years, and the timing is about right.  Mid November here in Melton with our climate.

So how did it all go?

Well, it was the biggest and best harvest ever!  The raised garden beds in the front yard are producing the biggest and best produce on our Suburban Food Farm.  It must be all the sunlight that area gets.

You can see that they have a bit of dirt on them, but that is intentional.  When you pull a bulb out of the ground, just dust off the loose soil and allow the bulb to dry.  You do not need to wash them.

Garlic Harvest 2014

So much garlic, and each clove that I planted survived through the year and produced the most wonderful bulbs.  I also found a disused dog bed that I gave a scrub with warm soapy water that is the perfect place to dry off the garlic once it is picked.

I keep it under cover until the tops fully dry, wipe off the layer of skin that has the soil on it, and then I twist off the bulb and store in a wicker basket in the back of the pantry.  If you are wondering how we store it, check out this post titled “How to store garlic“.

Garlic harvest 2014 - Australian Purple Garlic

Australian Purple Garlic

As you can see, this Australian Purple Garlic is amazing.  It produces a decent sized bulb, which is about the size of the palm of my hand.  It also smells amazingly earthy.

There is nothing quite like cooking with fresh garlic.  It is fat, juicy, peels quickly, and crushes easily with the blade of a large knife.

And the flavour?  Well, simply put, it is sensational.  It brings whatever meal you add it to alive with garlicky goodness.

Who else grew garlic this year?  What was the result, and were you pleased with the flavour?

TGoG Podcast 089 – Suburban Food Farm Late Spring

Listen to the Episode Below (00:25:55)

One of my regular Suburban Food Farm updates, this time for late spring.  We, hopefully, had our last frost of the season, so I have been going crazy in the garden planting up this season’s crops.

It certainly kept me busy for most of the long weekend we had here in Victoria.

During the show, I mentioned these links;

I also talked about the method I use to harvest broad beans.  I mention the nitrogen nodules that grow on the roots.  For those who have never seen them, here is a photo I took the other day.

Broad Bean Nitrogen Nodules

Broad Bean Nitrogen Nodules

Near the end of the cast, I let you know about a recent newspaper interview which should appear in the Melton Leader soon, and a little about a blogging course that I taught last night, which is the reason the podcast episode is a day later than normal.

Also, if you live in the Melbourne area, and are interested in attending a very reasonably priced Blogging for Beginners course ($48 for 5 hour course), leave me a comment so I can gauge interest.  I am in two minds as if I should to run another one due to the fact that it took over 8 months to fill this course.

Thanks for listening to The Greening of Gavin podcast!

Late Planted Potatoes

Home grown potatoes are just the best.  They certainly beat the bland commercially grown potatoes hands down.

Even though I am very late with my potato planting this year, it is just as well.  The reason I say this is because we had a very late frost last week that would have decimated any potatoes had I planted them mid August as per recommendations for our climate.

I had already lost rockmelon (cantaloupe), pumpkin, and tomatoes seedlings to frosts in September and October this year, so I was taking no chances.  It is not normal for use to receive frosts this late in spring, but then again, with climate chaos, what is normal?

This year I chose King Edward,  which is a very old variety with a floury texture and creamy white flesh with a round to oval shape and smooth pale skin with pink markings. Its floury texture means it makes beautiful mash, fluffy roast potatoes and can be dry baked but is not recommended for salads or frying.  As we eat most of our potatoes mashed or roasted, this variety is ideal.

King Edward Potatoes

King Edward Potatoes. source: www.gardenexpress.com.au

I also chose Sapphire, which has purple skin and purple flesh, ideal for mashing, boiling and roasting. The colour is maintained even after cooking, which should be quite novel.

Potato Sapphire

Sapphire Potatoes. source: www.gardenexpress.com.au

With the varieties chitted (letting shoots grow about 2 cm), it was time to get planting.  Firstly I dug the entire bed over to break up any large clods of soil.  Then I dug a trench.

Late planted potatoes

This year I am attempting to increase the yield of each bed by planting in three rows instead of the two I planted last year.  This row above is about 25 cm deep, with a layer of well-rotted manure along the bottom of the trench.

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I then placed in the Sapphire seed potatoes with as many shoots facing upwards, watered in well, then I backfilled the trench and watered again.

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The centre row was the same depth, and about 30 cm (1 ft) away from the first row.  Same process as before; manure, spuds facing with shoots up, water then backfill.  This row was shorter, so I managed to get half the bag of King Edward planted.

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The final row was shortest of all.  I managed to fit in the last of the King Edward, and a few volunteer taters that I found when I was loosening up the soil.  All had shoots, so not being one to mess with nature, I replanted them.  I believe the volunteers are Pontiac from the early winter crop.

Once this final trench was backfilled, I covered the entire space with pea straw.  As the green shoots begin to appear, I will cover with increasing amounts of pea straw and dampen it down.  Hopefully this will act as a mound and not get blown around the yard by the wind.

There you have it.  My late planted potatoes.  I will just have to keep the soil moist over the rest of spring and the hot summer.

Climate change be damned.  I will have my potatoes this year.