Thursday, October 28, 2010

Allium cepa, Allium sativum

The time is now to get your sets in! If you've never planted garlic or onions, you have to give it a try! They are one of the easiest things to grow over winter here, and even if you mess up, you'll have some good results!

For best results, garlic and onions should be grown in loose, well drained soil. While many garden books say to plant in spring, DON'T! Out growing season is too short, and by getting them in a few weeks before first frost, you'll allow them to grow just enough to survive their winter dormancy.

Our recent haphazard springs over the last two years have played havoc on onions, since the back and forth between heat and cold often forces them to seed. Onions that have seeded cannot be stored, as they have a hollow core, which invites rot. However, the seed heads and stalks are easily sautéed, and leaving flowering onions in the ground until the minute you want to use them brings amazing flavor to your table!

Garlic can flower, seed, and get trampled to almost no ill result. My first year planting garlic, it contended with bear, deer and great dane puppies tramping through the patch, and we had an excellent harvest.

To plant garlic, break the bulb apart and place the cloves in rows, one foot part and six inches apart It is best to plant them right side up, with the pointed tip facing upwards, though they'll figure out a way to right themselves if you don't. Onions use the same spacing, but after planting, you want to pack them down a bit, otherwise they tend to push their crowns out of the ground.

As they grow, you may occasionally have to re-mound soil around the tops of the bulbs to keep them from getting sun scarred. Make sure to keep the moisture level steady, never water logging or allowing the soil to completely dry out.

Onions and garlic are ready to harvest when the tops of the plants brown and wilt, usually in mid to late summer. I like to bunch my garlic together with just twine and hang them by their stalks to dry. Onions are easiest to harvest when their stalks fall down. Take a firm rake and rake gently along the top of the rows to break off the tops, and let the onions sit in the ground. A day or two later, pull the onions up out of the ground and leave them sitting for a day or two to further cure. You can use them  right out of the ground, but this curing makes them store better through winter. You should let them dry single stacked in a cool, dry, place protected from excess light if possible, then stack them in milk crates, mesh bags or similar containers once the weather starts to cool. Keeping them in a dark place helps prevent sprouting.

Cleaning the internet. . .

Taking advantage of a new office, and resulting hermitage, I set out this month to take advantage of the lessened distractions to really clean things up for ALL of the Farm Supply internet hangouts. You'll notice, of course, the new look at our blog (, for those of you reading this through syndication or Facebook). But I've also cleaned up our website at to make it easier to use. It's got better, cleaner navigation, and some changed features. We removed the unused classifieds sections (go craigslist!) and added all of our old newsletters (a surprisingly long process to get them formatted right). I'll slowly be adding old features back, such as our facebook widget, etc, but I am now doing some serious backend work to make sure it all fits together right, instead of looking perpetually kludged.

Our paper newsletter, the growing gazette, is growing. Tired of being limited to such a small space, I'm trying out a paper version of the "read more" link. Now our newsletters will feature the beginnings of articles that will be kept in there entirety on the web. Those of you who saved my three part series on planting onions and garlic last year, will be glad to know this month's newsletter features a consolidated revision and the originals are now on the website. if you'd like to subscribe to our e-mail newsletters, you can sign up by registering at! Newsletter articles will be featured in the articles section of the website, as well as here on our blog.

So, check it out, and if you love it or hate it, let me know! I'll just be sitting here in my hermitage. . .

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hay Days 15% OFF EVERYTHING!- Saturday October 16th

We do two big sales each year, and when we say big, we mean big. To begin with, everything is 15% off, except Nutro products which are $10 off ALL OF THEM! (Big thanks to Nutro) Additionally, we try to make these big sales more of an event. For our autumn Hay Day, we've got quite a bit going on.

The Livestock Swap
We've moved our usual second Saturday livestock swap to the third Saturday this month, to mesh with Hay Day, which means a lot more people to see your animals. If you haven't made it out to a swap yet, this will be the day to check it out. We've have just about any animal you can imagine here, from Guinea Pigs to Horses. It is proving to be a fun place for families to bring their kids after the Farmer's Market, as it does have a sort of petting zoo feel to it.

Well Mannered Mutts
Sallie Palmer, one of our favorite dog trainers will be on hand offering spot training, tips and advice to dog owners. Sally's business, well mannered mutts spent quite a bit of time holding classes in our warehouse and she is one of the best trainers we've ever seen. If you've ever been impressed by the behavior of one of the Farm Supply dogs, thank Sally. (No, the rowdy bunch of mini-aussies out front have not met her yet)

Ukiah Natural Foods
October is national co-op month, and we've joined forces with Ukiah Natural Foods to increase awareness of the importance of the Co-Op structure to local economies. It seems very few people remember that the Farm Supply has been a co-op for 61 years, and it's time for that to change. Did you know that with you farm Bureau membership you become eligible for a patronage dividend that has been as high as 16% in the past? We're also proud to offer 5% off every day to all Ukiah Natural Food Co-Op owner/members. Just come in and show your card or key fob, and we'll set you up!

PGG Seed / Agricom Seed
The endlessly entertaining expert, John Snyder will be here discussing best practices for cover cropping, erosion control and building soil and pasture health. Even if you just have a bare patch in your lawn, John is worth talking to you, he'll set you in the right direction, and leave you laughing for the rest of the day. We're still trying to get him to do a stand up routine mid-day.

Roni McFadden Book Signing
Farm Supply has long been a primary underwriter of many programs at Ridgewood Ranch, this historic home of Seabiscuit. When we were approached to sponsor the publication of "Josephine, a Tale of Hope and Happy Endings." the support the T.R.A.I.L program at Ridgewood, we jumped on it! Month later, the book is a huge success, and we are happy to invite Roni McFadden here to talk about her book and sign copies!

The Raffles!
Alright, if you've ever been to one of our big sales, you've probably won a raffle prize. This time, Darcie went all out and bent every arm in the industry! We've got giveaways from EQ Solutions, Lextron Animal Health, Farmer's Feed, John F. Mahaney Hardware, Ware, Greenies, Science Diet, Farnam, Natures Miracle, Fresh Cab, Petmate, Veterinary Supply Incorporated, Precision Pet products, Wrangler, and more. We're sorting things out now to try and make sure everybody wins something, as we've got about three pallets worth of stuff hidden away!