August is our busiest month.
August is when everything happens at on once. CSA and market harvests are going strong with a full array of crops to pick and wash. We’re still planting leafy greens, radishes, and lettuce . Seed crops are ready to harvest and there’s nowhere to put them until we thresh and clean the previously pulled crops. And the storage crops are coming in, specifically onions and garlic that not need only harvesting but quite a bit of cleaning too. Not to mention those few little weeds that escaped earlier in the season and aren’t so little anymore, or the cover crops that need to be seeded to put on enough growth before winter, or the freshly delivered manure pile that we need to spread to be ahead of next spring’s game.
August is also wedding time. My co-farmer Fred got married last Saturday – the second wedding I’ve attended this summer. And of course, there’s typing up these blog posts. I need a strong little dose of intention to get them from my roaming brain to the computer screen. And I almost forgot canning, freezing and putting food by.
August is the time of year where we make priorities and try not to compromise anything by letting too much slide.
One task that comes near the top of the list is bringing the garlic in on time.
We started harvested on July 20th (4 days earlier than usual) and finished on August 2nd (6 days early). I usually stretch the harvest out to catch each garlic strain at it’s perfect maturity period. This year they all seemed ready at once and I wasn’t always sure what to pull first. We had a nice period of sunny weather that gave us a bit of flexibility and just as the forecast turned rainy we brought the last bulbs in.
We’ve broken up the harvest into a number of jobs.
One person loosens the garlic plants with the broadfork.
Most of the team pulls the plants from the ground …
and lays them down gently in piles of five.
One person puts three piles of five together and ties them up with baler twine.
On the left: 3 piles of five. On the right: a tied bunch of fifteen plants.
We pile up our trusty wagon and drive it to the barn.
We bring the garlic inside and place the bunches on the ground prior to hanging them up.
The bunches are hooked on nails on the walls. Each nail holds four bunches in addition to a blue a string that holds another 4 bunches.
Then the garlic cleaning race begins!