Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Winter Queen Meets Summer Princess

The summer heat finally killed the Winter Queen-Garlic. Arianna and I (Daniel here) pulled this white gold yesterday and set it on a screen in a shaded dry space to cure. Once the leaves are dry and the necks sufficiently tightened we'll cut the roots and stalks.
Also-a reminder as the heat picks up. Something I am learning slowly:
We are getting a wave of serious heat. It's such a challenge to keep moisture in the soil. But remember, as a rough estimate tomatoes are 95% water, potatoes 80% and corn 70%. Plants need water. Low water during extreme heat can also transition the plant from "growth mode" to "crisis mode". These types of transitions can stunt growth and cause lower quality and quantity yield. The trick is to try and keep the plant in a steady growth mode. Stressed plants are also prime targets for disease and pests, kinda like the human body. Everybody's soil is a bit different so there's no magic formula for watering. Higher clay content means better water retention but too much means poor drainage. Higher sand content (our problem) means great drainage but no water retention. Of course row covers of mulch or hay can help the soil hold water by shading and protecting it from the sun's heat. If you're already generous with the water-good. I tend to be stingy and expect the plant to suck it up. Don't ask me why...but I'm learning.


William Kruidenier said...

Great picture and info -- speaking of water, my neighbor rigged up yet another method for connecting water barrels -- may be the best idea yet. I'll send some pics.

Jason said...

Great words and thoughts there Daniel. I too am learning all along the way with this and one thing that is resonating this year is that everything seems to start with the soil (in that this year our soil is super pumped with compost and our garden is like never before). And, as you point out, the soil determines the way of the water. Awesome pic too.

William Kruidenier said...


The more I reflect on this picture of Arianna the more I believe it has a future. You should send it to the Mother Earth News photo community site (like you did with the concrete wall work in your garden). This picture displays the best of many things and could easily be picked by an editor for use in the magazine.

I do NOT suggest this as a way to make Arianna a celebrity!! My point is what the picture represents to a broader audience --

1. A child learning (happily, it appears) about gardening.
2. A child leaning from her parents.
3. A family who has integrated a child into sustainable lifestyle tasks.
4. The growth of food on one's own property.
5. Abundance of food from a small plot of ground. (Arms full of garlic.)
6. Background colors/images that suggests health coming from the garden.
7. etc., etc.

These kinds of values in a picture appear in magazines all the time -- editors are desperate for them -- but I don't recall seeing one that captures these elements any more completely than this one does. I could see it on the cover of a magazine, or the lead page of an article, on gardening, garlic, family lifestyles, etc.

I hope you'll consider it -- it's a very captivating image that speaks volumes about what is most attractive and rewarding about a sustainable lifestyle.

Kallie said...

The Kruidenier garden looks amazing. Thanks for the reminder about water. I tend to be on the stingy side too and I've now got two very different types of soil in my raised beds so I'm trying to figure the optimum conditions for both. I love seeing your garden...always encouraging and inspiring.