My Danish in-laws brought with them rain…
…so I get to write this week’s update from the cottage they rented this week instead of watering plants for 4 hours! After today’s showers I did a quick check and the rain is slightly less than 1 inch saturated into the soil, but I will gladly take it.

This week’s blog view! Slight change of scenery for this garden slave 🙂

Garlic Harvest
I managed to get out last week and harvest all our garlic. It ended up being about 175 Music (large white bulbs, with medium strength) and another 550 Small Russian Red (small white and red garlic bulbs, rather strong). I found only 5 bulbs with possible evidence of Leek Moth damage, which may have come in the seed garlic I purchased last year – since the field is virgin soil. While the Leek Moth is a devastating pest, I am told that with so few garlic damaged I can still control this problem and that I just need to be sure to plant the biggest and healthiest garlic this year and keep an eye out for the Leek Moth next year. Most of the garlic was fairly dry already, but I spent some evenings hanging it in small bunches to dry further. You can expect to see garlic regularly for the remaining weeks of CSA baskets.

Hanging up the garlic…

Family to the rescue
One of the many problems with drought, when coupled with organic farming, is that there are many opportunistic weeds that can grow easily without much moisture and can soak up what little water there is in the ground left for the plants for which the moisture is intended for. Plus after something like 2 months without any significant rain, the earth is starting to get real crispy and it takes much more time to carefully weed without pulling out heaps of earth with each weed (and the good plants with it). This is where family comes in! Emily and Jeremy were back for another weekend of intensive weeding backed by my visiting Danish in-laws – Tinne and Peter. We were a force out there and managed to get all the Pigweed and Lambs Quarters out of the onions. Emily took on all the beans, chard, and kale. We were tackling tomatoes today. All in time for the afternoon rain. The patches are looking much better and we’re hoping that without the weed competition, we can look forward to better yields in the coming weeks.

Beans are lookin’ good!

Bob is extremely happy about our progress.

Harvest days
CSA and Market days start early and I head out with the truck, clean bins, scissors, pruning shears, twist ties, elastics, my iPod Shuffle, and a big cup of locally roasted coffee. I need to get especially the greens in from the field early to prevent them from turning bitter. I love these days. I read in an article recently that talked about how we have evolved to enjoy harvesting… when we spot a fruit on a plant, ripe and ready for harvest, the act of plucking it actually releases dopamine – the article called it “Harvest High”. We evolved to love this stuff. I even see how happy my urban friends are, posting updates and photos of their balcony gardens. Growing food is such a natural pleasure.

Loading the truck with a few early morning goodies.

Best day at Market this year
Saturday was our best day at market so far this year. We were so pleased to come home with only 5 items from our table. Check out the assortment we came with! It is a joy to deliver such beautiful wholesome food to the masses!

Lots of goodies at the market!

Please keep supporting your local farmers
As this severe drought persists, I feel I haven’t emphasized enough the devastation this has brought upon the livelihoods of our local farmers – those who have spent their entire lives building their farms and flocks. I have heard numerous heartbreaking stories this past week, including one from a local beef farmer who rents our hay fields. He is doing herd cull as he does not have enough hay to feed his cattle over the winter. Another neighbour and close friend of our family is selling his dairy quota this year (getting out of dairy farming). He has spent the last 30 years building his herd – placing much attention and resources into breeding, record keeping, etc. This farmer who knows the names of each dairy cow cannot even sell his cattle to another herd since no one has enough hay and feed to take on more animals. As such, these dairy cattle will very likely go for meat. Knowing the unimaginable work that my own parents and grandparents put into building our own dairy herd, this brings tears to my eyes. I also heard about a local pig farmer who needs to cull 75% of his flock due to food shortage.

Please, for the sake of all our farmers, families, and farmland in Renfrew County, consider focussing your grocery spending/dispensable income on supporting local farmers whose livelihoods are suffering huge at this time. Check out the local farmers’ markets, roadside stands, the Ottawa Valley Food Co-op and other vending locations who sell REAL local food. Beware of falsely advertised “Local” food. Sorry stores, but Niagara Falls is not local.

Natural beauty everywhere. A neat find while harvesting garlic. One lone garlic scape… a perfect companion for this little vine.

Thanks for reading, have a great week and as usual, keep those rain dances going!