It's the time of year for garlic planting. I wrote a long post last year describing the process, and am pretty much following the same routine this time around. I'm using the now vacant potato bed. The season of potato cultivation followed by the chicken cleanup patrol results in low weed pressure and slightly depleted fertility, which makes garlic a good fit (garlic is very sensitive to weeds and a light feeder in terms of fertility).
After lightly tilling in some amendments, the last step is to loosen the soil with a broadfork like above. It is very labour intensive, but aerates the soil without inverting the layers, which is much better for the soil ecology. Once the soil is prepared, individual cloves can be planted. Cloves are painstakingly selected by hand based on size and overall quality. Friends and family who have visited the farm around this time of year have all been roped into clove popping. Miraculously, they have still wanted to return for more visits...
Little hands make for good clove popping. Below is photo from 3 years ago, when we had just moved to the farm and were still living in a tiny trailer while building our house.
That's 3 year old Rose, working hard to pop and sort cloves while 8 month old Sylvia tries to figure out which end of the garlic bulb to put in her mouth.