Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Garlic Scapes and BioChar

Today we picked all of the garlic scapes. All of the hard-neck varieties of garlic will produce a flower and as part of that flower they produce little bulblets of garlic. For this reason they are also known as top-setting garlic. You could eat and plant those bulblets like regular garlic, but they are small and hardly worth one's time to process. So we break the tops off of the plants and prevent them from flowering and setting the bulblets. This has been shown to shunt the plant's energy into creating bigger bulbs in the ground, maybe a 20 percent increase in yield.

The tops are known as scapes and can be chopped up and cooked. The tips can get stringy, but the bulk of the scapes are just crunchy and crisp. One way we cook them is the chop them into cut green bean size and then add them to a stir fry. Raw they have a very strong bite, but cooking mellows them out.

There will be scapes in the first harvest's market.

Bag o' scapes - feed me Seymour!

Individual scapes.

Also this morning Anne and I dug up a bed in the new greenhouse and planted some middle eastern cucumbers (spineless and sweet). In half of the bed we added some crushed charcoal as an experiment. When I was in Honduras, my coffee farming friend talked a lot about the beneficial effects of adding charcoal to the soil. It ends up functioning like regular organic matter, but it never decomposes. My research when I came back home turned up the term "Bio Char," which sounds really good. Bio Char is one way to sequester carbon. So we will see how it works here.  Bio Char links for you:

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