It’s hard, but try to remember the temperatures in April and early May; frigid should be your reaction.  Winter extended far too long this “spring” severely impacting our most dependable crop, garlic.  Long-term members know to expect garlic beginning in late July and lasting to the final delivery.  We have sold garlic to Willy St Coop for a dozen years.  We provide garlic at the Pesto Fest and offer garlic for sale to members who attend farm events.  We keep enough garlic back each year to replant next year’s crop.   We grow lots of garlic.  Year after year growing garlic has been a resounding success for us.

BUT, Old Man Winter has stopped us in our tracks.  The garlic is a near total failure and we are just hoping to have enough to replant for 2014.  Garlic is planted in the fall.  Each clove produces a bulb for the following  season.  The freshly planted garlic puts down a few roots and occasionally will slightly emerge before it hibernates for the winter.  In the spring it is the first green thing to appear, my first sure sign of the new growing season.  And so it was this year as well, row after row of sprouted garlic; 60,000 plants in total.  Then winter played a dirty trick and took over spring with extremely cold nights, a few days of normal temperatures, then more extreme cold; this pattern repeated itself over and over, each time setting back the garlic.  I watched the plants as they looked weaker and weaker with each successive deep freeze.  Most of the tiny garlic plants could only rebound so many times and did not survive.  This week we are harvesting the surviving few garlic plants.  Maybe after we do our inventory and set aside our seed for 2014 there will remain enough for a CSA delivery, but I am not optimistic.  For the first time, Pesto Fest participants will have to bring garlic.

To try to put a positive spin on this, maybe the surviving plants will pass on extra resilience and this was nature’s way of ensuring garlic for all, long into the future.  I prefer the long term view on life and garlic.

David Perkins

Jesse planting garlic last fall

Jesse planting garlic last fall

Garlic as it should look before harvest, this picture is 2012’s harvest, 2013’s is too sad to show

Garlic as it should look before harvest, this picture is 2012’s harvest, 2013’s is too sad to show