Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Getting the garlic in

I did it. It's been a long time coming, but I actually managed to plant the garlic right on time this year. Three years ago I got it in in early fall and had an amazing crop. Well, for what I planted. The following year, we had a string of nasty weather and I kept putting it off. Until January. Needless to say, all I got was crap.

Last year, I did a little bit better and planted the garlic at the end of November, but I just used a combo of garlic seed that was starting to look suspicious and some garlic we had lying about the house. I got a couple of decent heads out of it, but it was really nothing worth reporting.

This year, though. Ah, this year. I picked up some hardneck garlic from Walt's Feed in Ballard when we went there to buy some chicken feed. It was a beautiful day on Saturday and so, I let the chickens out and then commenced stuffing the garlic into one of our raised beds. There were about three heads of garlic that I split up. The amazing thing was that each head had about 5 or so big juicy cloves. In previous years, the variety I planted had puny little cloves that didn't look like they had any hope of making it.

Roxy, the Barred Rock chicken, immediately thought I had a bag of treats and ran over to see what I had. I let her peck at one of the smaller cloves and she decided that hunting for bugs was a better bet and wandered off, with Sarah hustling her big fluffy white bottom close behind. If you've never seen a chicken running, you are totally missing out.

Anyway, this will be the first year we are growing hardneck garlic so I'm looking forward to some garlic scapes out of the deal as well. You remove (and eat!) the scapes around mid-June to help promote bulb growth. The variety of this year's crop is Killarney Red, which is somewhat rare to find and is hot and spicy and does well in wet weather. Which we'll have plenty of.

I have great hopes for 2011's garlic production. Granted, I'm not expecting a ton, but even if I get 10 heads of garlic next summer out of a few minutes of pushing some garlic cloves into the ground, I call that success. It's one of my favorite things to grow and, if you get yourself in gear, it's also the easiest and most productive. All you need is some great garlic and some patience.

So, if you haven't done it yet, get out there and plant some!


Vegetable Garden Cook said...

Yay for garlic! I just got my garlic planted... this year I picked out "music" garlic as it is supposed to store a long while.

meg said...

Yay! I love growing garlic! I can never remember when I plant it I can never remember to start that garden journal I always intend to start. But usually the last half of October. This was my first year harvesting soft neck and it was fun to braid...but the scapes are so awesome from the hard.
As soon as I pick my spot for planting they are going in!

Anonymous said...

You're one up on me, Meg. I've yet to remember to Plant the garden. :(

sowbug said...

Growing garlic is the best!! So easy! I'm still amazed how many people don't even know that it grows in the ground.

Greenpa said...

I envy you the satisfaction. I love good garlic. Turns out it's not that easy for us in MN; very cold winters CAN be a bit of trouble, but more is our continental climate habit of one of the summer months not having any rain at all, kind of at random. Just iffy.

"but even if I get 10 heads of garlic next summer out of a few minutes of pushing some garlic cloves into the ground,"

My experience is that garlic is EASY... (IF you know all the tricks.) Seems to be a ton of gardening that works that way. Lots and lots of tiny bits of information that used to be passed from Grandma to grankid, painlessly (sort of); and now we don't even know what we don't know.

Kristi said...

Gotta love garlic! I planted 45 cloves of hardneck (Music) and 45 of softneck (Inchelium Red) this year, as certain people (read MIL) like to take quite a bit.

@ Amy - Music does store quite a while, about 8-9 months for me. I usually run out first.

Jennie said...

Speaking of garlic, I'm doing a Winter Storage Experiment on my blog for the next 6 months.
Garlic/Potatoes/Apples/Squash How much does my family use over a winter and can I successfully store that quantity?
Come join me if you're interested.


LadyJayPee said...

I LOVE growing my own garlic and have for two years now! Just harvested 40 bulbs of musik garlic and gearing up to plant some Susanville for the coming year.

Robj98168 said...

First you get chickens before me and now you get your garlic planted first as well? This is WAR!!!!

Robj98168 said...

Actually I am so pleased to hear that you are getting so... well Domesticated. Now, let Henry have a dog there Donna Reed!

Troy said...

I wonder... if you feed the chickens garlic, will it make them taste better when you eat them?

I know that garlic is supposed to be planted on the shortest day of the year, but I got ours in yesterday, planted 120.

I'm looking forward to a great garlkic crop next year.