The First Plot
A while back, Stefanie wrote about our super important mission to rescue the garlic from our previous home’s backyard. It was written into the contract when we sold the home that we were to come back and harvest the garlic when it was ready. Through some serious digging and weeding, Stefanie was able to uproot the premature garlic and get it over to our friend Ron’s back yard where he would keep it safe until ready to harvest. When Stefanie finally was able to harvest the garlic, she promised some to Ron since he came to our rescue. Since then, our garlic has been dried, cured, eaten, delivered to Ron (along with delicious garlic scape pesto), and some reserved for the next planting. That planting happened this past weekend, and it was the first official planting at The Twenty.
We knew that garlic was going to be a major focus at the farm. The garlic we have was first purchased from the now out of business Horn Seed Company in Oklahoma City probably 5 years ago. We’ve always set aside a portion of each harvest to plant for the next crop. It’s a sort of seed saving; a way to preserve quality from year to year, and even generations. Not everybody knows that when you plant garlic, you’re pretty much planting individual cloves of garlic straight into the ground. Each clove then grows into a full head of garlic by the time it’s ready to harvest. Now, I should say that it’s not recommended that you just go to the store and buy a head of garlic and use that to plant. Most garlic at the store comes from far away places and has long since past the point of being good to plant. It also isn’t a great idea to plant varieties that aren’t proven in your area, or varieties with unknown genetics. This is another reason why seed saving is a good idea…you can trace your plants back for generations. In addition to the 120 or so cloves we planted this weekend, we also ordered three different organic varieties from SeedsofChange.com thanks to our friends Kelsey and romy. By the time each variety is in the ground, we’ll have about 360 or so heads of garlic to grow. Mmmmmm.
We knew that garlic was going to be a major focus at the farm.
So how do you plant garlic? First you need good soil, which we don’t have at The Twenty. But never fear, the city of Norman, OK collects grass and other yard clippings from residents, and composts it at a giant composting facility that they open up to the public once or twice throughout the year. Anybody can show up for the stuff, and it’s just 10 bucks a load! Unfortunately our little blue farm truck has some issues with the frame, and is not currently fit for farm duty. It’s probably a good thing it wasn’t fit for the task because the pickup we rented from U-Haul, which was a much bigger truck, could barely handle the HUGE load of compost they dumped into the back. The farm truck would have been completely destroyed had I shown up with it. I took country roads all the way home because I was so terrified to get on the highway. If I got above 50 MPH, the U-Haul truck started to wobble back and forth. But it was a nice drive. It gave me lots of time to think about how much fun it would be unload the compost…one shovel at a time.
It took quite a bit of work to get the compost unloaded. And then a week later, it took quite a bit of work to tear up the seemingly unending supply of sumac and other unwanted plant species so that we could till up the native soil and mix in with our compost gold. We hauled over four giant cedar timbers that we had set aside from the many piles of cleared trees and used them as a border for our very first garden plot. Getting all of that garlic in the ground into an organized garden bed felt incredible. It’s bringing our vision for The Twenty closer to a reality. Now only 240 more cloves to plant.