Friday, October 25, 2013

Hot Water Treatment for disease prevention at planting time

I am spending a lot of time in the bathroom these days! Specifically- soaking bags full of garlic

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Warning about straw mulch, manure

Many of you remember that WeeBee Farms has some herbicide contamination of our Spring seedlings due to contaminated worm castings 2 years ago. We lost 1200 potted tomato and pepper seedlings.
Recently a few of my gardening customers have told me they have had confirmed herbicide contamination, and many more are telling me stories that lead me to believe they probably have had herbicide damage. (Garlic not coming up and tomatoes with gnarly, twisted leaves etc.) Usually they say they purchased straw from a local farm for mulch.
I have started advising my customers NOT to mulch your garlic unless you know for sure that it is not contaminated. Many farmers now use the long-lasting herbicides, and herbicides are commonly used on barley crops which are sold for straw. Newer herbicides can last 2-7 years and can remain that long in the manure of the animals that eat the crop that was treated. These herbicides are becoming common in lawn and garden products as well.
It's not too hard to test soil for contamination, but it takes about 3 weeks to find out. I now test my worm castings every Spring using tomato and pepper seeds as they are the most vulnerable to the herbicides used.
Here's an article link on how to test:
Testing the actual straw would be trickier and would take more time. You could chop it up and mix it with moist soil and let it compost a bit before testing the soil. If you have some straw now, you can compost a small amount over the winter then test it before using it in the spring.

Sold Out for the Season!

Thanks to all my wonderful garlic customers. I will miss you! WeeBee Farms will be back in the Spring with plants for your vegetable gardens. We will have scapes in June and August 1st is usually the first day with garlic bulbs. Now on to planting next years' crop!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Planting time for garlic is mid-October to Thanksgiving

See our posting on How To Plant Garlic from Sept 5th.

Our Last Day selling Garlic!

Hard to believe the season is coming to an end, but alas I am selling out of garlic quickly. Tomorrow Oct 12th will probably be our last day at market. We'll have plenty of Chesnok Red and smaller amounts of Inchelium Red along with a few others and some variety bags with 5 different garlics or 8 different garlics.
We'll have a few sweet peppers to sell too. Mostly sweet green ones and a few sweet red ones. Our stand will open at 8:15 am.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Lots of Long-storing Inchelium Red Garlic for sale Sat. October 5th.

Tomorrow we'll have lots of Inchelium Red Garlic to sell. This is a sweet and milder garlic that is very versatile. It is delicious raw on crackers, in hummus, guacamole and on salads of every kind. It also is good in all types of cooking and is a classic roasting garlic that tastes smooth and sweet.

"Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers" at CHOW DOWN Food Film Festival

Friday, September 27, 2013

WeeBee Farms is helping the Longmont Humane Society raise money

Sept. 28th Garlic Varieties available

For tomorrow (Sept. 28th) we have a good selection of Chesnok Red and Inchelium Red.  Very small quantities of Brown Tempest, Shantung Purple, German Extra Hardy and Shatili.

Chesnok Red!

We have lots of Chesnok Red garlic for eating and planting this Saturday. Chesnok Red is our all-time best seller because it's so flavorful and really stands out in cooking. It has won taste tests for best baked (roasted) garlic. It also keeps its good flavor through sauteeing. We've tested 50 garlics over the years for flavor, and Chesnok is the best for sauteeing- keeping it's delectable flavor, but getting milder and sweeter (as most garlics do) when sauteed.
It's also our favorite choice for roast lamb, marinating meats, adding to our canned salsa, pickles, long-cooked tomato sauce and soups. Chesnok Red is also very high in medicinal compounds so when a cold is coming on we press some and mix it with honey to take as medicine.  The bulbs will store until December.

Friday, September 13, 2013

No Market on Saturday due to flooding

The Boulder and Longmont markets are closed due to the major flooding in the area.

Friday, September 6, 2013

German Extra Hardy- Yum!

We'll have a good amount of German Extra Hardy for eating or planting. It gets its name from its cold-hardiness. This is my long-time favorite garlic for eating fresh. So good on salads, bruschetta, in guacamole, pesto,  hummous, Baba Ganouj and sliced very thin on crackers. For garlic bread, spread it on warm bread after you've mixed it with olive oil and butter. The flavor is super-garlicky, but not bitter. It's often mild, especially at the beginning of garlic season. Eat this one soon, because it's flavor gets hotter with age.


Caley's Lemon Cucumbers, ready for salad

Our son Caley is the "Cucumber Guy" he plants the seeds in pots, plants the seedlings in late May and helps harvest them every week. His favorite (and our family favorite) are the lemon cucumbers which he sometimes eats like an apple.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

How To Plant Garlic

Plant garlic in mid-October up to Thanksgiving (earlier for high elevations.) The idea is for the roots to start growing in the warm soil while not having the tops grow. However some years the tops do come up in November and the garlic does fine anyhow.

Choosing Garlic to plant- Start with locally grown garlic, adapted to our environment. Garlic from California or China or other parts of the world may not grow well here. It also may have been treated with an anti-sprouting agent. Our bulbs average 8 plantable cloves per bulb. 10 bulbs would plant 80 heads. After your first crop, keep the best garlic to replant in your garden.

Site Selection and preparation- Choose a site with full sun and good access to water. Garlic is not too finicky about soil, but it will grow larger with good amended soil. Use organic amendments and/ or cover crops to enrich the soil 3-4 weeks before planting garlic. For fertility and soil health we plant cover crops from organic seed. The last crop is tilled in a month before planting. Our plots are rotated yearly, with cover crops grown on them in between planting years.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Garlic to plant (or eat) is now for sale. Cucumbers for sale too!

Tomorrow we'll be selling 5 different garlics that are suitable for planting or eating. Chesnok Red, Inchelium Red,  Brown Tempest, Shantung Purple and German Extra Hardy.
Please ask for planting instructions if you need them, or look at our previous post on planting (10/3/12).
These garlics have been harvested from the newer field, that has not shown any evidence of garlic disease. However we do recommend hot water treatment of your garlic before planting as a precaution. ALL of our garlic is great to eat!
Caley has harvested a bunch of cucumbers from his garden and will be there selling them from about 10-1. Lemon cucumbers, Asian and "Munchers".

Friday, August 16, 2013

Saturday August 17th Market update

We will be selling several types of great eating garlic tomorrow: Inchelium Red, Dukanskij, Brown Tempest, Siberian, Shatili and Shantung Purple. There will also be a little bit of seed garlic available: German Extra Hardy and Brown Tempest if you ask for it. It won't be on display yet, and I'll have a 5 bulb limit on these.
Next week, August 24th, we'll start to sell more of the planting garlic- and will have it through September or until it sells out.
(refer to previous posts on garlic disease to differentiate seed garlic from eating garlic)

Garlic descriptions and color codes

Here are some of the recent garlic descriptions and color codes for our garlic:

•  Inchelium Red-  Softneck that is excellent for roasting.  Discovered on the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington State. One of the best-tasting softneck garlics with a mild but lingering flavor. Stores til January.     RED

• Chesnok Red- Excellent-tasting hard neck garlic, originally from the Republic of Georgia. Earthy lingering flavor with a unique zesty bite. One of the best baking and cooking garlics. Will store through December.     PINK

• Shantung Purple- Extra-flavorful chinese Turban has 6-8 beautiful rose and beige cloves. Cook for a strong earthy flavor, or eat raw for a fiery heat! Stores thu Oct.  PURPLE

• German Extra Hardy- Great raw! Slice thin on crackers. An addictive garlic taste, with full flavor. Big, easy to peel cloves. For cooking put in at end of heating. Keeps to Nov.  BLUE
(Note The Blue color code was used for Dukanskij Aug 3-17)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Garlic disease report

The good news from OUR NEW GARLIC FIELD
We sent our garlic out for disease testing and the garlic from the new field has a clean bill of health so we can sell it for planting for home gardeners and use it for our own planting. Yay!!! (We will use a heat treatment to be safe). We'll sell garlic from this area in about a month.
The bad news from OUR OLD GARLIC FIELD
The bad news is that some garlic from our older field had garlic bloat nematodes which caused some rot of the bulbs. Luckily 98% looked good and is great eating garlic, but the garlic shouldn't be used for planting. Apparently the nematode larvae can live in tiny specks of soil in the roots and spread to a new area. A hot water treatment can be used to kill the nematodes.

Garlic for sale August 3rd

We will be selling garlic this coming weekend. Inchelium Red, Chesnok Red, German Extra Hardy, Malaysian and more.
This will all be garlic for eating. Planting garlic will be available in about a month.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Harvest is almost done. We had one "bad" field where the garlic looked a bit better than I thought it would. Mostly medium sized garlic, but no dreaded white mold. There was some cutworm damage, some rot, some tiny garlic, lots of spotty areas where the garlic didn't come up among other issues. The "good" field was a big success, except for one or two suspicious looking garlics which I'm sending off for disease testing. Lots of big, beautiful garlic and the digging was easy since I watered right before the rain/hail storm June 29th.
 The boxcar is filled with garlic drying
The garlic harvest "crew"

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Saturday June 29th: Lots of Curlies, a few plants. Last week for curlies!

On Saturday I will be harvesting some early garlic (Inchelium Red) while my trusty helper Georgia will be at market selling garlic curlies. Come and get some scapes while we have them! They last for a LONG time in the fridge and we will have generous bags for $1.50 (or $1.25 if you bring your own bag). We'll also have some cucumber and squash plants, flower starts and a few other plants for your garden.
WeeBee Farms will not be at market in July and then will come back August 3rd with garlic bulbs for sale.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Garlic Scapes For Sale!!

We will have lots and lots of garlic "curlies" (scapes) for sale tomorrow! Come get them while we have them. They store for several weeks in the fridge in a plastic bag.
• Chop and add to cooked beans, chili, eggs, omelets, quiche, soups, stir fry, tomato sauce and veggies.
• Chop and sautee in olive oil for a minute. Serve generous amounts over pasta or veggie dishes
• Chop fine and eat raw in cold salads, potato salad, tuna or salmon salad, hummous, tabouli
• Roast on the grill whole with a little olive oil and salt 
You can use the whole thing including the blossom, maybe slicing off part of the tougher ends.

When do I harvest the garlic?

How can you tell when to harvest your garlic?
Harvest- Dig up when half of the leaves are brown, usually June 25- July 10. Shade immediately. Hang or put on ventilated shelves for 3 weeks to “cure” with stems on. They must have good air circulation and shade.
How To Store- Clip off the stems after they are cured. Store at room temperature or cooler, out of direct sunlight. Cool basements and garages can work well for storage. The bulbs need air circulation, but storing in paper bags can keep them from drying out too much. Hardnecks generally store up to 5 months. Softnecks up to 9 months.

Garlic falling down

Usually garlic doesn't fall over, unless you have gone way past harvest time. This year is an exception for me. The Turban type garlics (Tzan, Shantung purple, Thai Purple, etc) got stressed out by the weather this year. Probably the 1 degree temps in early April were too much for them since they are the earliest garlic and were pretty tall by then. When garlic is stressed by the cold, it can form strange looking bulbs or no bulbs at all, just "rounds".
The Turban garlics have very weak stems this year and most are laying flat on the ground. The very bottom leaves have yellowed or fallen off (as is normal a week before harvest time), but they are still 80% green.
 I am digging the tiny bulbs up early (the ones with the skinniest stems) because I may not be able to find them later when they become more dried up. I am also digging any that half the leaves are yellow. The rest I'm leaving to see if they will bulb up in the next few days.
The "rounds" that I get (no cloves, just one round onion shaped bulb) will be saved for re-planting in the Fall. They will produce huge garlic bulbs for next year.
Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Where are the scapes?

Quite a few people have been asking when the scapes will come. Last year the garlic was super-early and scapes were already harvested and even some early bulbs were out of the ground.
This year everything appears to be exactly on time, or maybe a bit late. Our scapes will probably appear in a week or so. I'll sell them at market June 15- 29th. (Probably just a few on the 15th) Scapes only appear on hardneck garlic, not softnecks like Inchelium Red. They should be harvested when they make a full loop on top. This will help the bulbs get bigger. Leave a few on for fun, or for longer storing garlic bulbs.

The bulbs aren't developed yet, but will be soon. When half the leaves are brown- it's time to harvest! For us this is usually around July 1st. Earlier for the Tzan and other Turban types.
Look for garlic bulbs at market starting August 3rd.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Peppers! And more peppers!

12 Types of Sweet Peppers 9 Types of Hot Peppers!
• All but 2 from Organic seeds
It's finally time to plant peppers! I know a lot of you planted them earlier- and you Boulderites have a bit warmer temperatures so they should be fine. We will plant ours early next week. They do NOT like cool ground temperatures and it was 39 degrees here last night. (The peppers are more prone to fungal diseases when they are too cool.) We have gotten a good crop of peppers every year with the late planting strategy. Some will have to be covered when we get the first frost in September or October. Most of the green ones will turn red by September, some in August.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Delicious Licorice Mint - An under-appreciated native herb

Licorice mint is so easy to grow and is so tasty to nibble on. Just plant it outside or in a big pot. Pick off the leaves to nibble or to make tea. It's also a Chinese Medicinal plant with many uses including to treat anxiety and nausea. Put it in full or part sun in the garden or a pot and give it moderate water. Picking the leaves from the top will help it grow bushier. In summer it will make beautiful purple flowers that bees love!
It grows about 2ft high and is usually perennial, and will drop lots of seeds. Other names for it are Korean Hyssop, Korean mint and Agastache Foeniculum. It is not a true mint, so will not aggressively take over the garden.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Come between 8 and 10 on Saturday! Creekfest is this weekend. Look for us near the Market T-shirt stand

Between 8 and 10 is nice, quiet and pleasant. Maybe even up until 11am. After that the rides begin, the music starts and the corn-dog crowd descends on the street!
I will have a huge selection of plants! Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, basil and squash. (maybe a few eggplant) Also the end of the cool weather kale, lettuces, salad bowls. And Alpine strawberries, mint and more.
WeeBee farms will be on the south end of the street, on the East side. Just north of the Farmer's market booth that sells t-shirts and market bucks. In front of the brick museum. I will start closing down my booth between noon and 1pm.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Protect cool weather plants and Salad Bowls during hot weather!

This week is forecasted to be extra hot. The salad bowls, lettuces and mustard greens are wilting in the heat and intense sun. Make sure to water them like crazy, and if possible, give them shade during the hot part of the day!! Freshly planted seedlings are more vulnerable to heat because their root system has not spread out yet. Even more vulnerable are plants in little black pots. Keep these in the shade on hot days, or plant them in the evening and water them deeply.

Tips for growing cold weather greens and Salad Bowls

Our "salad bowl" planters are ready to put on your deck or porch. Here are some quick tips.
Salad bowl greens love cold weather and won't be bothered by frost or snow, but do not do well in heat. Harvest about half of each plant when the plant is around 6" high or so. Lettuce will be fairly long-lasting if you keep using it. Harvest often, by pinching off outer, bigger leaves.
Here are a few veggies that may be in your bowl:
  • Mustard (Osaka purple, mizuna or komatsuna, ruby streaks): short-lived, eat leaves while small.
  • Kale and chard: eat leaves while small, do not let it get big or it will take over the whole bowl.
  • Spinach or Arugula: short-lived, eat small young leaves.
  • Chives: a long-lived perennial. Harvest by clipping or pinching. Replant outdoors when bowl is done.
  • Garlic Greens (sometimes marked by a stick if they haven't come up yet) Pinch or cut off leaves and use in salads or with rice, eggs, stirfries, soup, etc. Bulbs will be tiny and not fully formed- not worth waiting for.
  • Italian Red Bunching Onions - eat green part, or wait and use little bulbs like scallions
Keep the bowl well-watered in a place where it gets at least a half day of sun. It will probably be mostly finished growing by July. Bowls can be re-used for years or returned to us.

Tomatoes from WeeBee Farms - Plant outside in late May- All from Organic seeds

              Started from Organic Seeds
      The All time Favorite at WeeBee Farms
EXCELLENT, sweet flavor! Has produced huge amounts every year at WeeBee Farms under all kinds of conditions. Medium to large tomatoes that are fabulous in salads and also our favorite for salsa-making.  An older French market tomato. Disease-resistant, and resistant to blossom-end rot. Open Pollinated Organic Seeds.
75 days,  Indeterminate

    Started from Organic Seed
Favorite Early Tomato at WeeBee Farms
Developed at Latah County at the University of Idaho . Very early bright red tomato that average about 2 inches across. The flavor is very good and better than many of the super early varieties, although it doesn't produce heavily. Indeterminate, regular leaf foliage. Light, airy foliage, small plant.
50 Days to maturity. Good for Containers

See all our tomatoes by clicking "Read More" below

Cut worm alert

We have been having a terrible problem with cutworms this year. They come out in the evening and cut down the newly planted seedlings at the base. They have cut all of our onion transplants so far, and unfortunately have done widespread damage in one of our garlic fields. (The first time we've had a pest eating the garlic). The good news is that the miller moths that come from the cut worms are great food for birds. And the cutworms are good food for lots of creatures including skunks and chickens.
To protect your young seedlings, wrap the base with wet newspaper or brown bag strips. The strips should be an inch below and an inch above ground. Our seedlings that have these strips have not been cut. Read more about cutworms at this link:
Above: The collar on the broccoli planted in April kept it alive, so far
  Notice the collars at the base of the peas?
                  The culprit

Friday, May 3, 2013

Our "normal" Spring begins NOW! Right?

Our lettuces and kale gardens have survived 4 blizzards now, and our low temperatures (1 degree in early April, 12 degrees this Wednesday night). And our high of 81 on Sunday. They get a bit flattened, then perk back up. A few broken kale leaves- yummy to nibble. The arugula and mustard were hit the hardest (note to self- not as cold hardy as the lettuce).
Now it's really time to get going on gardening! Right? The forecast for next week calls for a low of 31, and then mostly lows in the 40's. A few possible showers. No Blizzard!
Plant cold weather crops before it's too hot! Wait until late May for tomatoes and basil. June 1st for peppers.

Friday, April 19, 2013

At Market 4/20, but have laryngitis!

I will be there tomorrow, but mostly whispering. I'll give out handouts so I won't have to talk as much. I will have plenty of plants to sell, but some of them are not quite ready for planting because I couldn't keep them outside to harden off with the foot of snow and 6 degree temp we had on Wed.
Come see what we have, and if you buy plants, make sure you are ready to harden them off yourself, since you will probably not plant them til the ground dries out.
Next weeks weather forecast calls for normal Spring weather, snow or rain on Monday, then sunny and warm. It may be dry enough to plant by the end of the week. My best advice is to wait til next week to buy plants. They'll be hardier after I harden them off properly, and your ground won't be as muddy.
See you there!

How to "Harden Off" your plants

Acclimating Your Plants before planting them in your garden

WeeBee Farms takes pride in selling you plants that are ready for planting today. However, during periods of extreme weather, we need to protect the plants in the greenhouse and they may need re-acclimated to the outdoors. Or you may have kept your plants indoors or in the shade for a few days and will need to harden them off yourself before planting.
Cold weather plants (lettuce, kale, broccoli, chard, peas, etc)
Acclimating your plants to the outdoors is extremely important to their survival. Because plants usually are grown in greenhouses, they've been pampered. They need to be introduced slowly to the elements of wind and intense sun. The cold temperatures don't bother the plants as much as wind and sun.
Initially, you will put plants outdoors only for short periods of time, perhaps for an hour.  (If you see it wilting, put it back in the shade for a while). You'll want to set them in a semi-shaded area of the yard. Gradually, you will increase the time plants are kept outdoors; you also will gradually increase their exposure to sun. After 6 to 8 days, these plants will be ready for the outdoor life.
Do not cut back on watering. Plants that are in small pots dry out very quickly and need to be kept moist. Plants are also more susceptible to heat and cold in their small pots. Once in the ground, the soil will moderate the temperatures.
It's a good idea to transplant on a cloudy day or in the evening, when the plants won't get full exposure to the hot sun on their first day in the ground. Water the plants and planting hole deeply.
Hot Weather Plants  (Basil, Tomatoes, Peppers, Cucumbers, Squash, Beans)
We don't plant our tomatoes or basil out until May 31st, Peppers a week or two later. They will die at 32 degrees, and they do NOT like cold ground temperatures, especially peppers. We have been successful at growing tomatoes and peppers for 16 years. We are in Boulder County 10 miles north of Boulder. Boulderites may be able to get away with planting a week or so earlier.

(partly adapted from the CSU extension information)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday morning after the storm

I said the lettuce was hardy to about 10 degrees, especially with a good snow cover. It turns out it is reasonably hardy at 1 degree, with just an inch or two of snow! These were in an unprotected garden. Some of the outside leaves will probably die on the plants that were planted on Sunday, but it looks like the plant will grow back. I'll be checking in on these to see. I hope all the plants that were planted in Boulder fared well, too. The extra snow in Boulder should have helped insulate the plants.
Garlic poking up through the snow. We had about 2 inches of snow, and it was 1 degree above zero last night. Good thing garlic is super hardy!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Will be at market this Saturday, April 5th!

We'll have lots of cold-hardy vegetable plants. Kale, lettuce, peas, chives, onion starts and more. Also Salad bowl planters, alpine strawberry plants and organic kitty oats.
Come say hi, and get ready for Spring gardening!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Garlic poking up out of the snow. It came up on January 29th, about the usual time, but hasn't grown much because the nights have been so cold. We watered in early February and this nice little snow will help keep that moisture in!

photos from the greenhouse


Kale, seedlings, and onion seedlings in the greenhouse.