Planting Overwintered Dandelion

Last year, I selected my favorite Italian Dandelion plants from our market planting. I chose them based on the level of leaf serration, the red stem and green leaf contrast, and vigour.

In fact, I’d actually been eliminating whatever I didn’t like all season long. Whatever was too green, too round leafed, or too marked by disease would get it’s growing tip cut off by the harvest knife as I made bunches for market.

By the end of the season, I was left with a bunch of plants that looked like what I thought Italian Dandelion’s should look like.

(Do note that Italian Dandelions are different from the garden weeds Taraxacum officinale. Italian Dandelions are actually Cichorium intybus  – the chicory species that includes such delicious bitter greens like Radicchio.)

Dandelion Leaves

In the fall, we dug up the roots, trimmed the leaves, and planted them in potting soil in Rubbermaid bins. We stored these bins over the winter in our cold room.

By spring, the roots were starting to sprout blanched leaved in the bins.

 

Dandelion Bin

I took them out to inspect them. All the roots had survived.

Dandelion Roots

We went out to the field and planted away!

Brendan Planting

We planted them one row per bed and one foot spacing per bed. These plants are going to get big.

Dandelion Planted

While we were at it, we also planted out a bunch of different turnips. We’ll let these cross up to create a crazy population that we can select from.

 

Turnips laid out

 

Atwater Seed Library Launch – Tuesday May 12

TUESDAY, May 12 at 6:30 pm

The Atwater Library is inviting the public to the launch of its seed library, a seed-sharing program for everyone in the Greater Montreal region.

The evening includes a showing of the film Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds with discussion.

Plus… free distribution of seeds and tomato plants — Large Red Tomato, Petit Moineau, Blanche du Quebec, Striped Caravan, Purple Brandywine, and Litchi.

Atwater Library, 1200 Atwater Ave. at Ste-Catherine (métro Atwater).

Free admission; donations invited. Everyone is welcome.

To find out more, contact Deanna Kazina at deanna@actioncommuniterre.qc.ca.

Seed Library Launch - Atwater Library.ppt (Read-Only) copy

Video About Large-Scale Garlic Scape Processing

I just watched this report on la Semaine Verte about garlic scapes.

The video showacses Le Petit Mas and their garlic scape harvest. They harvest 1000s of pound at a time and shuffle them around in bulk bins. They then process the scapes and lacto ferment them.

If you are interested in garlic, you should watch it even if you don’t understand French!

Below is a picture of our high-tech garlic scape storage system: garlic scapesI

Seed Connetions 2014 Conference!

One month from today we will be in the middle of Seed Connections 2014.

If you work with seed or want to know anything about seeds, you should not miss this event. If you participated in the 2012 edition, you know what I’m talking about. If you missed the last Seed Connections, well you can read my blog post about the 2012 event.

Seed exchange 2

WHEN: Friday Nov. 7 to Sunday Nov. 9, 2014

WHERE: MacDonald Campus of McGill University in St.-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC

WHAT: ECOSGN Seed Connections is a fully bilingual event bringing together farmers, seed-savers, seed companies, community gardeners, researchers, and experts on organic seed production to share knowledge, skills, and experience over a packed, 3-day agenda!Whether you are a beginner gardener or an expert seed producer, if you are interested in ecological seed production in Canada, this is the conference to attend.

HOW: Click on the following links:

If you have any questions regarding the conference, please e-mail ecosgn2014@gmail.com.Looking forward to seeing you there!

Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Garlic Festival on Aug. 23

Two days until the Ste-Anne-Garlic festival! Find out more at http://steannegarlicfestival.wordpress.com/  or on Facebook

We are busy brushing garlic bulbs with toothbrushes for the occasion!

2014-08-11 garlic fest 2

If you can’t make the event, you can live vicariously through last year’s garlic fest video.

Image

Seed Saving Farm Tour At Tourne-Sol Farm

The Concordia Seed Project (http://concordiaseedproject.weebly.com/) invites you to join us on Wednesday, August 13 from 2-4pm for an afternoon with seed saving expert Daniel Brisebois at the Tourne-Sol Co-operative farm. This farm tour will focus on large-scale organic seed production. Hands on seed saving demonstrations will be part of the afternoon activities. This tour is suitable for both expert and beginner seed savers.

This event is hosted as part of the Concordia Seed Project, which is a partnership of Action Communiterre’s (http://www.actioncommuniterre.qc.ca/) Seed Share Montreal program and the Concordia Greenhouse City Farm School (https://concordialoyolacityfarm.wordpress.com/). This tour is free of charge and only 32 spaces are available. Please indicate if you are able to drive as we only have 18 spaces available in our rental vehicles. The first 18 people who register will be offered these spaces. Registration is required for this event. Please visit the following link to register: bookwhen.com/tmwcx

For more information on the Tourne-Sol Co-operative farm, please see Daniel Brisebois’s blog at: https://goingtoseed.wordpress.com/ or the Tourne-Sol Co-operative website at: http://www.fermetournesol.qc.ca/.

If you have any questions please contact Deanna Kazina at: Deanna@actioncommuniterre.qc.ca

Farm Tour_Poster

Mulched Garlic vs. Unmulched Garlic

We have always mulched our garlic crop. Last year, we planted one unmulched bed of Porcelain garlic as a trial.

In the spring, the unmulched garlic sprouted and emerged from the soil earlier than the mulched garlic. Visually, there seemed to be more winterkilled cloves in the unmulched garlic (though a low enough amount to not be a concern). There have also been many more weeds in the unmulched garlic. However we could weed with hand tools since there was no mulch in the way.

None of those results surprised me. (I was happy about the low winterkill.)

I was really surprised (knocked right off my feet!!!) when I harvested a few Porcelain garlic plants to sell at market as green garlic. I started with the unmulched garlic and was pleased to see that the bulbs were a mostly a decent size. When I pulled the mulched bulbs, they had barely begun to swell and were a fraction of the size of the unmulched bulbs.

2014-07-04 Garlic comparewtmk

I imagine since the unmulched garlic emerged earlier, it also put on more leaf growth earlier, and therefore had more energy to start bulbing earlier. I’m guessing that the unmulched garlic will also be fully mature 1-2 weeks earlier than our mulched crop.

We will be repeating this trial in the fall. We’ll also add a Rocambole and Marbled Purple Stripe to the trial to see how they fare without mulch. If  we can consistently get earlier garlic without mulch and have acceptable winterkill rates,  we could grow a portion of our crop unmulched to spread out the harvest over a longer window.

Do you have any stories to share about mulched vs. unmulched garlic?