A lot of good news happening at the farm- I got my ginger and turmeric starts planted out! They had sat around in the crates long enough and the soil temps seemed warmer out in the field than in the crates so they should move faster out there. Amazingly, I’m seeing very little transplant shock. In fact 48 hours after, I’d swear they’re growing already. I worked 10 years at a mixed veggie farm and most transplants take a week just to look not terrible. I mean, getting plucked out of your cush starter soil and having your roots disturbed should set you back a bit. But the ginger and turmeric seem to be moving right along.
I went with a two row system because they are supposed to be hilled- similar to potatoes- and in my experience, it’s very hard to be efficient with fertilizer in a one row hilling system. The material just dribbles off the hill’s slope and you just sort of hope it’s leeching down to lateral roots. With a two row system ( 12 inches / 30 cm apart) I’ll apply the fertilizer in a band right between the rows. The two rows form one megahill with a flattish part up top. It also means I do 50% as much hilling work. Since my fertilizing is more efficient I will use 50% as much fertilizer per plant as the other method, as well. Also improves per-foot costs on rowcover and hoops, and should not affect yield much at all. It is the Northeast, after all, so the main constraint on final yield will be the October temperature shutdown, not a nutrient based shutdown. The plants supposedly like partial shade to help with super hot temps in the peak of summer so going with a higher density helps them all self-shade each other.
In the photo, the 3 wide bands are the ginger/turmeric. I've temporarily set black plastic between the beds to kill weeds til the plants are big enough for their first hilling.
It’s my first year growing them personally, so I’ll keep y’all posted on how it turns out. My old colleagues at Windflower Farm, plus some other local farmer colleagues at Owl Wood Farm, are growing ginger and turmeric this year too so we’re all comparing notes. Lots of different theories going on on how to do it best! There’s the paradox of it being a tropical plant that needs heat, yet doesn’t love to be superheated, plus it needs plenty of water, some shade, but not too much…so much to account for!
I’m relying on a holy trinity of nutrients- two year aged goat manure, Kreher’s 5-4-3 organic fertilizer, and high organic matter soil to start with. I don’t have irrigation on them but it’s a low spot with natural high moisture.
Anyways…the farm is moving along as well in the digital realm- if you haven’t yet, check out the website for any useful garlic information you might find! Just today I added the Garlic Tech Support Page, information about bulbils, and also a permanent postup of my 2018 festivals.
I also want to add some “garlic calculator” resources to the website to help people figure out how much garlic to order for seed / planting needs. This depends heavily on the variety and luckily I have the info, so I just have to decide the best way to make it available. There’s a per-month calculator widget I could buy but also thinking of just creating a shared Google Sheet / Google Doc system to accomplish the same. Any thoughts?