2 years ago we lost our entire garlic crop to hail. It was the biggest hail storm we had ever experienced.
It was about 5 weeks out from harvesting so at the early stages of bulbing. We tried everything to save it, to strengthen the plant, but the crop was unsalvageable. As you probably know all the growth of the garlic bulb is in the last part of the season when it draws the energy down from the leaves. In the end what little leaf it had left became overcome by rust and so we worked into the night with our friends and family to pull it all so we wouldn’t retain rust into our soils.
We’d been building up our garlic crop over a few years, acclimatising the garlic to our environment and we were finally hoping to make a profit but it was all gone. It was beyond devastating. I’d poured my heart and soul into the crop with 3 tiny kids by my side and a massive amount of help from our friends and family. My husband had been terribly sick in bed since January of that year and so it was only through the community around me that I could even get a crop in.
Last year we tried again but since none of the garlic bulbed enough the previous year we were starting from scratch and had to reacclimatise new bulbs. The harvest was, as expected, small. As I sat there wondering how to get an income from the tiny garlic just before Christmas I had the idea of making them into wreaths. Small bulbs they may be but maybe we can turn this into at least enough money to sort our tractor out so we could prep and replant the following season with more acclimatised bulbs. I sat each night experimenting with different ways of making wreaths until I found something that worked! And we got the tractor fixed!! We have just started harvesting our crop this season and to see the difference with bulbs that are acclimatised is amazing. Next year we will finally be back to where we were before the hail.
Some people have asked us why we have continued and I say to them because locally grown good quality produce is so important. We want our farm to be a place where people can bring their kids and see how their food is grown, that they are connected to their farmer and most importantly are feeding their families nutritious, safe produce. We are all about using organic practices (and hope to be able to start certification in the new year) and maximising the nutrition in the soil to maximise the nutrition in the plant.
We have used the name Central Coast Veggie Patch for a few years but we are now going by the name The Giving Farm. We always want Giving to be at the forefront of our minds. People have given us so much help getting back on our feet after the hail storm and we want to pass that onto others around us.
Much love as always