Sunday, June 17, 2012

Garlic Harvest 2012, plus Pickled garlic buds and scapes

I apologize for such few posts recently, but I HAVE been really busy in the garden (plus I'm having some health issues on the side). This is my 2012 garlic harvest, better bulbs than I expected from just 2 short rows!

Actually, this photo is not all of them, just what I had already dragged up to the porch to dry when I took the photo. They will get hung to further dry in the tool shed in a few days. I think my harvest is more than enough to see me through the winter and still have enough cloves to replant in the fall.

The shallots and onions won't be far behind, but the leeks won't be harvested until early fall.

About a dozen or so of the garlics were hardneck, which develop a scape with a bud on top. I cut the scapes and put them in to lacto-ferment, cutting off the buds to ferment them separately since they don't keep as long.

Close-up of the seedheads...

The lacto-ferment "brine" and technique is easy. Use 1 tablespoon of non-iodized salt to each 2 cups of non-chlorinated/non-fluoridated water. Cover the foods with the brine, leaving a space at the top of the canning jar, and the lid loosely tightened to allow gas to escape. Use a weight of some sort to keep the food submerged if necessary. (I used a piece of plastic cheesecloth on the seedheads since they wanted to float. The scape pieces sank, so no weight needed.) Keep on a warm counter for several days as they ferment. (Caution: they may overflow, so I put mine on a saucer.) After about 7-10 days the fermenting (bubbling) will have ceased. Tighten the lids and store in a cool, dark place... or refrigerate.

I use Ball plastic lids to avoid the lids getting corroded.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cool Weather seeds

This is the first time any cool-weather crops have survived a winter in my garden, and several are now making seeds... something I usually don't get to see (much less save any seeds from them!).

Red-stemmed Swiss Chard

Carrot, looking feathery and ready to flower and make seed

The leaves on the cole plants are so eaten by insects that I cannot tell what is cauliflower, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts. They all have formed long skinny pods that look alike. I don't really care which is which because I'll sow them for this fall, and eat whatever comes up! I will try to save the seeds from each plant separately and label them A, B, and C before I plant a few to see if I can ID them later on.

Elsewhere in the garden, the garlic, shallots, onions and leeks are doing fine. In between the rows of garlic are some Belgian Endive, outlined by the white box in the photo below. The garlic will come out shortly, and give the endive tops plenty of sun to grow deep roots. I'll dig the roots this fall and put them in a tub of sawdust in the dark root cellar. With any luck, I'll have lovely blanched endive heads by January or February.

Belgian endive and Pear Salad, Photo by ExperienceLA

The Jerusalem artichokes I planted last spring have multiplied greatly. They should be a bright spot in the garden when they flower! In the fall they will be dug from this location, and many will be re-planted along the white rail fence (barely seen in the background) as a hedge and windbreak. I'll save a few to eat, of course!

The Babington leeks I planted last fall have shot up 1 flower stalk so far. The top of the flower stalk is 4' tall, and it looks like the flower will be gorgeous! The globular seeds in the pod will drop to the ground and root after the flower is gone.

Here's the Babington Leek seed pod 12 days earlier. Most of the seeds that I sprouted this spring died from neglect of a place to plant them, so I'm delighted to see some seeds from last fall's planting.