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Planting Less

November 24th, 2014

Generally I grow way too much garlic, which isn’t a big deal as I give a lot of it away. This fall I decided to plant only about 1/3 or 1/4 of what I normally plant. I didn’t buy any seed garlic since I used stock that I grew myself.
planting garlic
All my garlic was planted a few weeks ago, six varieties were planted. Yesterday I gave them a nice layer of duck house litter to protect them during the cold winter and fertilize them next summer. Here’s hoping for a much smaller amount of garlic to weed and harvest next year.

Are you cutting back on amounts of anything you plant?

Elephant Garlic

August 14th, 2014

Last week I harvested my elephant garlic. The regular garlic was harvested about a month ago and is curing in the top of the garage. This garlic is much larger and takes longer to reach maturity. Last fall I planted three cloves, which was all I received in my order from GrowOrganic.com. Each of these produced 7-9 cloves and now I have lots more to plant this fall.  I may eat a few, but I might forgo eating them to expand my collection.
elephant garlic 1
Elephant garlic isn’t technically garlic, at least not the same as what we think of as garlic. It’s a variety of the common leek that forms bulbs, much like the perennial leeks that I grow. It produced the most beautiful flowers, purple spheres that tower above all the other plants. I forgot to take a photo of them in the garden, so you’ll have to imagine what they look like standing 4 feet tall.
elephant garlic 2
This is a great alternative to the giant alliums that are grown for their flowers, mostly because they are much cheaper. Bulbs for giant alliums can be $25 for three bulbs and they don’t always come back each year. Elephant garlic is especially nice since it multiplies readily, making it easy to amass quite a number of them in a few short years. If you live in one of the states where decorative allium bulbs cannot be sold, you can grow these beauties in their place. While the flowers aren’t quite as big or as showy as the alliums, they give the same effect in the garden.

Do you have any edible alternatives to ornamental varieties to recommend? 

Garlic Giveaway

October 17th, 2013

It’s that time of year to start thinking about planting garlic. Mine is going to be planted where the sweet potatoes were this summer. I plan on planting a lot of garlic, loads and loads of it. I never seem to have enough and I like giving it away as well. We eat a lot ourselves and I feed it to the chickens and the dogs every now and again.
garlic harvest 2012 2
Last year I did a giveaway thanks to Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply (also known as GrowOrganic.com), a company that my parents have been purchasing from since I was a kid. I’m more than happy to get a great prize for one of you while helping spread the word about this great company!  Peaceful Valley also has a in depth weekly newsletter with loads of how-to videos and lots of useful information.  They’re also on facebook if you want to keep up with their sales.
garlic combo Giveaway 3
The garlic giveaway special will feature: a Garlic Combo collection, a quart of liquid kelp and plant labels. The garlic combo pack contains: 1 head of Elephant (conventional), 3 heads of California Early White (organic softneck), 3 heads of Music (organic hardneck), 3 heads of Russian Red (organic hardneck), 3 sets of French Red Shallots (organic).
garlic combo Giveaway 1
So why the liquid kelp?  Garlic bulbs do better when soaked in liquid kelp before planting.  It gives them the boost they need to get a strong root system going before winter arrives in earnest.  The plant labels were included because I have a very bad habit of never labeling my garden plants, particularly the garlic.  As a result I have different kinds of homegrown garlic in my pantry but I don’t know which is which.  The labels should help you keep things organized!
garlic combo Giveaway 2
If you’ve never grown garlic before, don’t worry. I’ll have a garlic growing guide up on the blog next week.  Deadline to enter is Wednesday, October 23 at midnight. Winner has been chosen via random.org – #72 – Matt who said, “I’ve loved garlic all my life.. Now I’m starting my own Back to Eden style garden and of course plan garlic to be part of it.”

How do you enter this giveaway?  Tell me what’s your favorite way to use garlic in the kitchen?

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Garlic Scapes

June 11th, 2011

I’ve been keeping an eye on my garlic watching for the scapes to appear. It’s amazing how one day you check and there’s nothing, then the next they’re curling out of the middle of the plant. Not all garlic produces scapes, from what I read only the hard neck varieties do, so don’t be worried if yours doesn’t.

I have read that harvesting the scapes will produce larger bulbs, this has been my experience. The first year I grew garlic I harvested some scapes and left some. The bulbs were much larger on the plants I had harvested scapes from. It makes sense as the plant doesn’t expend energy into the production of the flower instead using it to grow a large bulb.

Garlic scapes are quite delicious, they don’t have the assertive garlic flavor of the bulbs so you can eat them as a side dish or use them in other dishes. They’re quite good sauteed or grilled. If you’ve never had them before treat them like you would asparagus. My favorite way to enjoy them is in stir fry. This week it was ginger venison stir fry with those golden peas (I’ll share my recipe next week). I’m thinking this coming week I may make pasta carbonara with garlic scapes.

Do you grow garlic? Do you harvest scapes?

Looks Like We Don’t Have To Worry About Vampires

March 29th, 2011

The garlic that I planted last fall is looking great this spring. I’m interested to see how the different varieties grow and the difference between the ones that were soaked previous to planting and the ones that weren’t. I love doing experiments to see if all those extra tips are really worth the time and effort.

Yesterday afternoon I gave the garlic and shallots beds a watering with some Neptune’s Harvest (which I purchase by the 5 gallon bucket) to give them a nice boost of nutrients for spring growth. I find that this product works wonders for growing healthy plants, especially for those of us with really lean soil.

Next week I’ll be scraping back the mulch and adding some bone meal to the top of the soil then reapplying the mulch. I’ll apply more bone meal in early May, this will help the garlic develop larger bulbs since mine tend to be on the small side they need a good amount of phosphorus. One thing I love about growing garlic in the garden is the flavor, it’s so much better than the storebought bulbs. I also love the variety that you can grow. Mr Chiots and I eat a lot of garlic as we love the flavor and the health benefits it provides. (for all varieties I’m growing and planting info read this post). It looks like we’ll be vampire free for another year thanks to the lovely garlic that overwintered so well!

Are a lover of fresh garlic? Do you grow any in your garden?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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