Friday, July 28, 2017

Garlic Harvest 2017... Finally!

In the garden, pulled and dried for half a day
With our long, cool, wet spring and a late summer finally in full swing, my garden remains about four weeks behind schedule! Since my last post and garlic update, I checked a few heads again today. With five skin wrappers over the bulbs of both varieties, they were finally ready to harvest! For more detailed information of how to test the heads, harvest and set up for curing, check out my Featured Post 'Garlic Harvest 2015'.

Unlike years past, the heads are smaller and my watering schedule a bit different. I removed the mulch and watered every second day for 4 weeks past my usual 'Stop Watering Garlic Date' of June 22nd. 
Partially cleaned, tops cut to 12-inches
I stopped watering on July 20th this year and with the warm days with some wind, the bed had dried out nicely. I pulled the garlic late morning and let it dry in the garden for half a day. 

After dinner I used gloves to gently rub off any dirt and cut the stems leaving about 12-inches of the tops. I decided to give this a try because when pulled, I noticed they had dried in the ground more than I had seen in the past. The tops were not as tall and had also dried more than usual. Seeing as nothing else was going 'as usual' I might as well keep up with the theme! Besides, the curing process will take up less space and not be as messy. You will see what I mean by comparing the photos from this year to my 2015 post of the garlic drying on the screens
Drying on screens with fans
I'm also hoping this will expedite the curing to make up for some lost time.

Using elevated old window screens with fans is the method I prefer. It is under cover, in a garage, which provides the option of an open door for increased air circulation and completely weather safe. This year we managed to escape the little, unexpected rain showers and the roots are very dry compared to last year.

I can breathe a sigh of relief now that the garlic harvest is finally curing under cover!
Till next time... Happy Gardening and Bon Appétit!

Photos by Sally Rae

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Denman Island Saturday Market 2017

Denman Island Farmer's Market
The Victoria Day long weekend, Saturday May 20th, marked the opening of the 2017 season of the Denman Island Saturday Farmer's Market. It was a chilly day for May but there were a good number of vendors happy to kick off the season and share the weekend with the 30th annual Denman Island Pottery Studio Tour. 

The weather has not been cooperating so far this year... rainy and cool then a short heat wave has pushed some of the vegetables to bolt in complete confusion. Everything in my garden is about six weeks behind 'normal'. The garlic scapes were picked several weeks ago and I have pulled a few garlic heads to check their progression. I'm disappointed with their small size, so will leave them in the garden an additional six weeks past my 'normal' timing. The heat loving plants... tomatoes, winter squash and pickling cukes are struggling and still look pathetic and small. I had them covered with plastic cloches until the weather warmed, then had to shade them with perforated plant trays as in years past... but now it is cool again. Not much we can do but keep riding our West Coast weather roller coaster!
Cucumbers and Kohlrabi
E~Z Pickler with glass weight
I've been ecstatic to finally have fermented dill pickles in the fridge again! Although the Corentine pickling cucumber plants are small, I have picked three times already. The first two pickings were small, so the jars had to be topped up with cauliflower or kohlrabi, which are both delicious dilled. Finally, this week's harvest produced enough for a full quart of Garlic Dill Pickles in my 'E~Z Pickler' Single Jar Fermenting Kit. I have 12 Corentine pickling cucumber plants in the main garden this year, so when the weather warms, I look forward to a huge weekly harvest to ferment. 
Since last summer, I've been using a glass weight and glass separator cup in the fermenting jars. In the photo to the right, with just cucumbers, you can see the thick, glass weight in the top of the jar, holding the vegetables below the brine. The weights are especially helpful with sauerkraut.
Denman Island Saturday Market  2017
Look for me at the Denman Island Saturday Farmer's Market through the summer. At my table you will find; my 'E~Z Pickler' Single Jar Fermenting Kit, fermenting accessories (the glass weight and glass separator cup), my cookbook 'For the Love of Food' and my packaged line including; 'Rainbow Lentil Soup Mix', 'Curried Rice Mix', 'BBQ Dry Rub' and my signature 'Garlic Seasoned Pepper'. Stop by and enjoy a sample of crunchy, fermented vegetables that change weekly... cauliflower, kohlrabi, daikon radish or possibly even dilled cucumbers if they last that long! 
Hope to see you at the Market! 

Till next time... Happy Gardening and Bon Appétit!

Photos by Sally Rae