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Toledo Farmers Market

October 25, 2013
By Dawn Troutner - Market Master , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Market Report for October 18th

It was a chilly market night. With only one more market left after this one, the customers were plentiful. Larry and Caryn, Vernon and Wilma, Dale, Chuck and Ginger, Dawn, Cheryl, Lois, Marie, Brenda and Ethan, Frances, Shirley, Freddie and Michael, and Karen had plenty on their tables. Some of the items available were eggs, apples, honey, honey product, popcorn, snack mixes, pears, pies, breads, kolaches, potatoes, hot and sweet peppers, egg plant, tomatoes, cabbage, onions, watermelons, rosettes, jams, jellies, fresh herbs, kale, lettuce, beets, leeks, swiss chard, ceramics, candles, and garlic. Only one market left in this season, be sure to make it out Friday night from 5-7 pm on the east side of the Courthouse.

Just because market is almost over doesn't mean that the season is over for the vendor. It is time to clean off the garden, put the cages, tools, pots, and stakes away. It's time to organize the garden shed for winter and get your garlic in the ground for the next growing season. When all of this is done, then it is time to tackle those household chores that all of the growers/vendors have put off. When all of that is done, it's time to start planning, ordering and planting the garden again. It just keeps going round and round and round.

Article Photos

Dawn Troutner
Toledo Market Master

Garlic needs to be planted in October. You say" October, why?" They say the ideal time to plant garlic is about four to six weeks before the ground normally freezes. That allows good root development but not top growth prior to winter. Garlic appreciates winter cold because it somehow invigorates the plant and brings out the best quality. It also tends to make garlic taste hotter. Below ground roots and bulbs are seldom damaged by subzero temperatures and frozen soil unless the soil freezes very suddenly and very deep. Snow cover usually insulates soil against rapid deep freezes but heavy mulch is also recommended.

The ideal environment for most garlic is one with moderately cold winters, good snow cover, adequate fall and spring moisture, a warm and dry June and July with good direct sunlight and low humidity, and a light sandy loam with moderate organic matter and good drainage. If you have all that in nine months you will have a phenomenal garlic harvest.

The most tedious task of garlic planting is "clove popping" of the seed bulbs into individual cloves. Only select the firmest bulbs. If the bulb is soft, it is telling you that dehydration is going on and less vigorous cloves. Soft cloves can also increase possibility of molds. So only select rock hard bulbs. Garlic does bruise and bruised bulbs are the target for fungi and disease organisms in the soil to attach the bulb. Bruises also allow more rapid dehydration. Be careful not to break the clove stem at the clove base. The basal plate (the hard dark scab at the bottom of the clove) is actually the true stem of the future garlic plant. When a portion of the true stem breaks off as the clove is separated from the mother bulb, the garlic literally has a broken stem. Root buds occur around the outer edge of the true stem, especially on the side farthest from the center of the old bulb, so a broken stem means that the root buds have been lost,and a less vigorous plant is the result.

When planting garlic clove it is very important that you understand which end of the clove goes down. Don't plant your bulb upside down. The scab end or basal plate goes down. That is the true stem from which the roots will grow. Garlic cloves are not seeds, they're plants. Space the garlic cloves two and half inches apart. Plant the garlic clove with one inch of topsoil and then mulch. If you don't mulch, plant the garlic clove with two to three inches of topsoil.

Garlic is tough. What other plant can you plant in the fall, leave in the ground through winter and know it is doing its thing under ground? When you plant your garlic, it has just started its season of growth. See you at market.



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