Weeding for a Living

Today is a big day for us here at the farm. Ok, No it’s not. We had planned to weed all day but it started raining last evening here in Yellow Springs so I’m finishing updating our website and listing some of our variety packages. Boring. I know, right?
We actually needed the rain but we also needed to be weeding. Ah, such is farming. Unpredictable, Out of control, but a place that I hold true passion. We strive to do everything possible to provide the garlic with everything to make it strong and beautiful and a product our customers will be glad they purchased and planted.
Yesterday I went to Home Depot and purchased an assortment of hand tools to use while I ride on the planter so I can be fast and efficient to yank and hack away at any wild green monster weed. So I placed a pile of metal tools on the counter, and I must confess I felt a little self conscious that I might look like I was making a nefarious purchase. The cashier lady looked at the counter then at me and exclaimed, “Wow!” I didn’t exactly feel friendly at first since I really felt embarrassed. Her eyebrows raised while I said nothing and she just stood there. Ok ok. I lowered my eyebrows which I had raised like a dog in a stand off. We farm garlic, I said. She looked at me like I was insane because who would farm or proclaim to farm anything and use hand tools? Right? I continued to tell her we are an organic farm and we use sustainable practices and are chemical free. She grinned and said “I grew up on a farm. A tobacco farm. I well remember all those field chores.” She continued as I relaxed now feeling she was on my side. “When we had to plant or weed or harvest we just took off our shoes and got down in the mud. When it came to harvest it didn’t matter the weather. We were just out there, come hell or high water” I felt a instant kinship to her at this moment. She knew hell or high water farming deadlines. She laughed exuberantly and it felt great to share with her a fond moment from another time of her life. The topic of garlic farming seems to do that. People seem interested about the why’s and what’s of growing garlic. I absolutely love visiting with people and sharing my experiences and listening to theirs as well.
Last season we had such a rainy Spring that early on it became apparent that the season would be a challenge to have dry enough weather to spray our fishy foliar feeds and cut scapes, let alone harvest in downpours, but we managed. And our harvest was a successful one. Now I look back and laugh at how sweaty and hot we were while out there in the rain. But I can tell you first hand that garlic repels mosquitoes. While we would often cut scapes in the cooler part of the evening when the mosquitoes were already out ( that’s about 5 o’clock here), the scapes would drip their garlicky juice on my hands and of course I’d wipe my face but nary one mosquito would bite. I’d stay out there weeding my own vegetable garden til nearly 10 pm. I could hear those buggers buzzing my head but they stayed away. We should be wise and come up with a garlic bug spray for this year as the scapes will be coming on in just a few weeks. I’ll keep you posted to our farm tasks in the near future. Well the sun is finally lurking and I have a date with a wild weed.

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