Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Planting Time at Richcrest
Lest I be accused of always harvesting and never planting, I can report that I had a fine time at the Richcrest Farms Garlic Planting Party last weekend. I didn't end up taking the moto - alas, a good friend talked me into a carpool. It was a tough choice, but having some quality catch-up time with a girlfriend, even in a car, is a good thing. I lie - it wasn't a tough choice at all. Having another good friend, just now, out of the blue, diagnosed with stage 4 cancer is a not a very gentle reminder that relationship upkeep should be pretty high on anyone's priority list. I figure I can post about my day here anyway, since it was supposed to be a moto trip.
Now if I do my math correctly, our little group of 15 or so field hands planted, oh, some 30,000 cloves of garlic. Wait, can that be right? Sixty-three rows of about 190 feet each, two to three cloves or so per foot, depending on the variety (white, purple and elephant, which, incidentally, is really a type of leek)... yup, that's 30,000, give or take. Whoa. Even though we can expect a germination failure rate of 25-30% (I don't know why) that'll be quite a few heads of garlic to harvest in May. Sounds backbreaking, doesn't it? Actually not at all -we were done well before lunch, really. Of course, the field was already plowed and furrowed, and most (not all) the garlic was already separated into cloves, and Farmer Jim has yet to run the tractor over the field to cover up the furrows (which will take a good half day), but still I was impressed with this motley field hand crew of all sorts.
With deadly speed and accuracy we dropped in our cloves. Funny - each person had their own "technique." Some were squatters. Others stood upright and dropped the cloves in, their aim improving with each row. One gentleman used a walking stick both to lean on and to scoot errant cloves into their proper place in the lineup. I was a fan of leaning over, resting my weight on my elbow, which in turn, rested on my knee sort of yoga style.
After plantin' was done, we sat down under the fall foliage of the fruit trees (sadly not demonstrated in this photo) to a hearty lunch, provided by Etta, the good wife of Farmer Jim.
To borrow a phrase, I am truly blessed.