It's time....... time to begin the 2011 garlic harvest at our place. All the flowers have been cut off to allow the nutrients to go back into the bulb, the plants how have two to three dead leaves at the base and the rest are starting to dry off.
The mulch is removed from the pathways so as not to block up the cutter bar as it goes through and cuts of the roots of the plant. DS holding the first garlic of the season. Yippee.......
DH and DS making sure the depth of the cutter bar is ok, periodically DS will pull up a plant to check the roots, too long or too short and the cutter bar will need adjusting. This photo was taken at about 5.00am.
Once this has been done we then go through and pull up the garlic and lay it in bunches on the beds. This is a big job and at times we need an extra set of helping hands. So throughout the year we trade - DH put in a driveway for our neighbour in exchange for her help at harvest time.
When all the bed is finished the garlic is layed on the truck and taken up to the shed where they are topped and tailed and laid onto the drying racks to dry in our new drying shed!!!! Apart from building the shed a few days before harvest we acheived a frantic pace. You see two days ago this truck wasn't even running but the boys burn't the midnight oil and alas it was ready in time. The drying racks that we used last year had gained surface rust so they needed to be painted to prevent the rust from staining the bulbs. This was my task and I can report that after a few practises that brush was flying and a rack could be completed in 10 minutes. On top of this we need to make an additional thirty new racks. Now I did say frantic and by no means am I exagerating!!!!!!!
All the tops (stalks and leaves) and tails (roots) were stacked into a trailer and brought back down the paddock. Now remember earlier the boys picked up a ute load of pony poo? well this is where it comes into play. You see it and the tops and tails and a bit of the dry mulch from the paddock are used to make compost which all going well should be ready to add to the paddock as fertilizer in about a years time. This has a two fold benefit, first we don't have the problem of what to do with all the by product of harvest and second it becomes a low cost food for all the life in the soil.
The harvest took about three days this year. The list of post harvest jobs have started and should make life a bit easier for next year. Have we had time to look and ponder over the fruits of our labour, sit back and take a deep breath maybe? In short the answer is no. We are now presently helping another neighbour harvest his crop and all going well today it should be finished. Then maybe then we can just sit still in which case we will all probably collapse in a big heap.............