Monday and Tuesday were taken up with garlic activities.
Monday we spent all day (8am to 6:30pm) prepping garlic for planting and than planting around 2000 cloves. prepping means collecting the nicest bulbs we have and than breaking the bulbs down to the cloves. this is what I did Sunday from 8 am until around 3pm. Tedious work that has, in the past, made my left hand very sore and swollen (but not this year for some reason). After breaking up garlic bulbs so I have 3000 cloves more or less (more really since about 1/3 of the cloves in most of the bulbs do not make the cut for seed garlic due to size and/or quality) I count them to make sure we have enough (and for two of the 3 types I did not have nearly enough and had to go hunting for garlic bulbs that were big enough to yield suitable cloves for planting and spend another hour or so breaking them up).
While I was working with the garlic Eugene was up in the garden putting a hoop house back together. The plastic came off in some unexpected high winds that came through Saturday night. than he helped prep garlic for a couple of hours than went back to the garden to do final preparations on the 6 beds slated for garlic production, taking thousands of cloves with him. By the time I got up to the garden he had the German White just about laid out (I wish I had brought the camera with me to get a photo of this). I helped him finish laying out the cloves and than repositioning them (another tedious task, but if this is not done in an anal retentive, OCD way we pay big time in the spring and summer because things are not growing exactly where we need them to be growing) So after 45 minutes of repositioning the cloves and adding a bunch more to the 2 beds I started putting the cloves into the soil.
By this time the sun was sinking low in the sky but was not yet really setting. the air was brisk but the soil still had summer warmth. I sat down (this saves the back big time)and started poking cloves into the soil with the root end always pointing downward. We always plant 3 rows per bed with the cloves set 4" inches apart. I worked on the middle and one of the outer rows working my way north. While I planted the German White Eugene laid out 2 beds of Chesnok Red (AKA Shvlisi). By the time I finished the germ white Eugene was poking the Chesnok Red into the soil. I wandered over to those beds and got to work poking garlic cloves (root end down) into the soil and as the sun started setting we finished up 2/3 of the 2008/09 garlic planting.
Tuesday Eugene finished up the last 1000 cloves including the two new types we have-Purple Glazer and Music. So We have around 3000 cloves planted that should grow into around 3000 garlic plants that will be harvested in early to mid July 2009.
I traded tomato seeds with my virtual friend Natalie Foster (AKA The Garlic Lady) for garlic and she sent a lot more than I expected. I got a box with 4 bulbs each of two kinds of garlic. It will be nice to have two additional garlic types after growing the geopolitical trinity of German White (Germany), Chesnok Red (Georgia) and Persian Star (Iran).
While Eugene finished planting, I started the process of drying garlic for our famous and powerful Progressive Garlic Powder. First I had to clean up tarragon and cinnamon basil with which I had filled the two Excalibur dehydrators. That took about an hour. After that was done I was ready to load garlic into the dehydrators. I started with all the cloves that did not make the seed garlic cut plus any extra garlic cloves that were big enough to be seed but we did not need. I put those cloves on dehydrator trays. In the past, I would have filled up all the dehydrators I had (a small Excalibur plus 3 other cheaper models) and still had more garlic to do. This year, because I bought the biggest dehydrator Excalibur sells, I had enough room in the one big dehydrator for almost all the garlic. But all the garlic are not just the rejects from planting. I also use any deformed, damaged or small bulbs that are in the sales baskets. This meant I had to collect more garlic bulbs and break those apart so they would be ready for the dehydrator. Now the garlic just has to dry out for about a week and than it will be ready to be processed into garlic powder. And than we will have garlic powder again and that makes me excited.