Last night, my sister contacted me about seed potatoes. She had put her order in at Veseys Seed on Prince Edward Island and received notice that seed potatoes were unavailable.
I checked Veseys’ website but did not find any notice about a disease outbreak. However, all varieties of potatoes are labelled as “Not Available for 2022” and “Out of Stock”.
I found several news articles about PEI potatoes unable to be shipped to the United States, but I am unsure if this is the reason they are not leaving the island for Canadian destinations. The article Canada Halts Exports of Prince Edward Island Potatoes on Modern Farmer states this, “After cases of potato wart fungus were found on two PEI farms, Canada has put a stop to potato exports into the US.”
On November 4th, I planted my Midgarden garlic. I had prepared the bed a few weeks earlier by cleaning out the weeds and spreading two inches of compost over the top. No, I do not work it into the soil. I practise the no-dig method.
I estimated between 33 and 44 cloves from the 11 bulbs I had harvested in August (see the post: Garlic Update for 2021). However, I was shocked to have 71 cloves. That’s an average of 6.45 cloves per bulb. I knew the bulbs were big, but I had no idea I’d get more than four cloves from each.
Doing the math, this indicates I may get 458 cloves to plant in the fall of 2022.
Heavily processed and unnatural food practices have been a normal part of the food system in North America for only about 60 years. Before that time, most foods were naturally organic and few people ate processed foods. Both my parents grew up in rural areas where everyone in the community got 90% of what they consumed from their backyard, the forest around them or the ocean. Flour, salt, sugar and a few other basic baking ingredients were the only food items they bought.
While governments, organisations and activist groups prattle on about environmental issues and claim the end of the world is nigh, they offer little in real solutions. They keep talking globally when the answer is locally. When I think of the popular slogan “Buy Local”, I don’t think about buying from a local store. I think of buying food and products grown and created near me, not a thousand miles away. I want apples grown within 100 miles of me, not 500.
I use a lot of garlic. While I’ve grown it off and on over the years, I’ve never planned for the future of my garlic patch. I’d buy bulbs in the fall and plant in October, then eat all I harvested the following year thinking if I decided to grow it again, I’d buy more bulbs at the garden centre.
That changed in 2019 when I walked into the feed store and saw locally-grown organic garlic for sale. Something in my brain said, “Buy it; grow it; grow it again. Be sustainable in garlic.”
Stepping onto the Self-sustaining Path
With little money to invest in my big plan, I bought one bulb. That one bulb had three cloves. It was already mid November but the ground was still workable, so I planted the three cloves at the end of a garden bed that had grown tomatoes that year. After tossing a small mound of hay and two evergreen boughs over the patch, I walked away and hoped for the best.
Planting 3 cloves of garlic in the garden November 2019