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Garlic, Gophers and More

July 21, 2013
Inchelium Red garlic, out in the field

Inchelium Red garlic, out in the field

I dug the garlic just about two weeks ago. It seemed early to dig the garlic, though it looked like I should have dug it even  a week or two earlier than I did. It surprised me that it was ready so soon, though I attribute that to the warm weather this spring and early summer. I wasn’t expecting it to do very well, since I planted it in early January, instead of my usual late October. I thought it wouldn’t get very big…but it did! Even bigger than usual! I think this is due to the spacing I gave it this year. In the past, with my limited space, I put 6 rows, 6 inches apart, in a 3 foot wide bed. This year, I only put 2 rows in a 3 foot bed. The row spacing was the same, 6 inches apart in the row. That was the only major difference I made in how I grow garlic, besides completely different soil, on a different farm. I was expecting to buy seed garlic again this year, but now I think I can save quite a bit of this garlic for seed. I planted four varieties, so I just have to make sure I can tell which garlic is which, since the writing faded on the markers I set out in the beds. I took pictures when I planted, so I think I’ll be able to figure it out. The best heads will be saved to seed next year’s crop, but there will still be quite a bit of nice garlic to share.

Sometimes, nothing is left, sometimes, just a little.

Sometimes, nothing is left, sometimes, just a little.

On another note, the gophers seem to be increasing their activity in the fields. I know this is going to be a long process, to get the gophers under control, like it will be with thistle. I had one positive sight last week: the top half of a gopher. We were taking the trellising out of the peas to move into the hoop house for the melons, when I saw the top half of a gopher laying there. Something got it. The next day, it was completely gone. I certainly hope this means that something is out there eating the gophers. Maybe coyotes? Whatever it is, we need a lot more of them! I went through the lettuce this morning, after I turned on the irrigation and found 5 spots I had to repair, where the gophers snagged the t-tape as they were digging their tunnels. It gets a little frustrating. Not only did they eat a bunch of lettuce, leaving just a hole where the lettuce was, but they damaged the t-tape, too. I am afraid I have no sympathy for these creatures. We may end up losing the battle with them this year, but I am determined to win the war.

The first ripe Stupice tomato

The first ripe Stupice tomato

I made a few other sightings this past week. One was the first ripe tomato. Yeah! We ate the first one and more are coming. Soon, very soon. Just tonight I saw the first little beans forming. And melons, too! Yes, there should be melons this year. Another sighting was two elk (we think), in the field we lease. We watched them browse through clover and oats, hoping that would be enough and they wouldn’t find our fields. And finally, we saw a pair of owlets in the hay loft. I don’t know much about owls, but given the fact that we have only seen the adult pair until now, I am guessing these will move on when they are old enough. Anyone who knows about owls want to comment?

First sightings are one way to make my week.

The Provider beans are on their way

The Provider beans are on their way

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 22, 2013 6:44 am

    Hope those gophers didn’t eat it all… John was just asking about lettuce. So fun to hear about the owlets! I have a friend who knows a lot about owls – I will ask him. Hope to see you later this week!

  2. Mary Ellen permalink
    July 22, 2013 9:21 pm

    Have you thought of providing an alternate food source for the gophers? Lol!!

  3. Karen Hancock permalink
    July 23, 2013 10:23 am

    Good luck with the gopher war. They are taking advantage of your irrigating. Put on your Grizzly Adams hat and do some trapping. Those owls might help if you can keep them around. Or let loose some gopher snakes! That luscious red tomato is something we don’t see in Alaska.

    • jcgarden permalink*
      July 30, 2013 9:13 am

      Nice to hear from you, Karen! I hope all is well in Alaska! We haven’t done any trapping yet, but are hoping the Rodenating is doing some good (sending explosions into the tunnels). And we are hoping not only the owls, but coyotes are hunting, too. I did find the top half of a gopher one day and the next day it was gone as well. Someday, we hope to put up some poles for hawks to perch on for hunting in the fields. I’m not sure I want to let loose any snakes…

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