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Incoming BYTES
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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Garlic Galore !

           " Think this is enough garlic? "

 Garlic's up!  Yeah, I know, I had a picture of  this garlic posted on Saturday, but it's just too good not to talk about.

Garlic's up.  Organized too!  Now 12" high

It's even taller now, and wow, it is growing fast. This larger species of  garlic will grow about 4' tall. Maybe higher!

I  didn't want anyone to think this little bed was ALL the garlic we had planted last September before the ground froze solid. This small bed is mulched with old hay and lawn clippings. 

The following picture is  the OTHER garlic bed.  It has tiny, medium and mature garlic plants growing happily almost in a row.  Well, okay, it's not really a row,  more like a collection of plants growing every which way in a raised bed and quite happily, too, I insist.  There are a few freestyle opportunists sprouting .  A bit disorganized,  dropped or missed bulbils or seed, I concede. So what?  It's garlic.

 This garlic was planted in mid-September about an inch deep or so,  and covered and mulched heavily with peat moss.  About two weeks later a couple of  volunteer test cloves were dug up for inspection. No top growth was visible, but the roots on the cloves were already a couple of inches long.  The ground froze solid a couple weeks later and they spent all winter under about 2 feet of snow. No matter, apparently  they continue to grow more roots anyway. Storing up energy for spring.  Good thing. With our weird weather, we never know!

Now THAT is Garlic--Big and Small

  Some might assume the fall planting  method is a bit of a stretch, a gardener's imagination at work. Perhaps it's just satisfaction at seeing a great, long raised bed of garlic springing up early in May,  thick as lawn grass on steroids.

Think this is enough garlic? There's at least a half dozen blades of grass in the bed too.  Any good gardener knows 'ya gotta have at least a half dozen weeds, or it wouldn't be gardening!

How to grow Garlic, or  'big and small, we like it all ' 
If you want to start small and inexpensive, but grow a lot of garlic,  take a longer term viewpoint. 
  • Get a garlic bulb. One will do for a small start, but get three or four, and divide the bulbs into cloves--or just pick up some garlic cloves from your closest garden center. Eat the small ones, and whether you intend to plant in the early spring or late fall, -- plant only the big ones.
  • Watch them grow.
  •  Let the stalks   (called 'scapes')  curl and grow full height, and when ripe, pick off  the florets which  consist of dozens of seeds called bulbils, and allow them to dry.  
  • The seeds , or bulbils  (they look like tiny bulbs) are your key to garlic galore. Let them dry; you'll have handfuls of them. Save them.  
  • Harvest the full sized garlic bulbs,  braid, hang and dry the big bulbs.  If you eat any, save the biggest cloves for planting again in the fall.   Why big and small?  Garlic grows bigger if big cloves are planted.  Best genetics and all, we must assume.
  • In the fall, a couple of weeks after the first frost-- plant  those big cloves you saved 
  • Plant the tiny garlic bulbils from the 'florets' while you're at it.  You can sprinkle  those in a wide, shallow trench and cover them with an inch of soil. Sprinkle mulch on top to keep the moisture in.  
  • The following season, you'll be harvesting mature garlic bulbs from the big cloves, and  small round bulbs from the gazillion  'seeds', --some may have even formed bulbs of tiny 'cloves'. 
  •  In the fall, you'll plant those small bulbs in nice straight rows, not like mine!  Plant them about 3 to 6 inches apart, they're only little anyway.  They will produce bigger bulbs.
  • Of course you'll also have big, mature garlic growing from the big cloves you planted!   Harvest, dry and divide the bulbs.  Again, always save the biggest cloves for planting.  Eat the rest, roast a few with butter, and scare off  vampires and old lovers.
  • Repeat the process every year, planting 'seed-bulbils', small bulbs, and the largest cloves.
  • Mature garlic bulbs and big cloves are now plentiful,-- and you have three generations of garlic.  
Now you can  make 3 generations of Caesar salad, and don't forget, once you get 3 generations of excellent garlic, you won't have to buy more seed unless you want more varieties. There are about 20 or so to choose from.  You'll want to expand your garlic beds or give away a lot of garlic seed to your gardening neighbours instead!

If you like eating salad greenery, don't forget to pick the scapes (the center stalk that produces the florets) after the scape curls and the bud forms, but before it opens. Scapes are wonderful sauteed or raw in salads.
You'll have a bushel of them in no time too.  You will also have garlic galore.

 Does garlic, allium sativum of  the Liliaceae family, have exotic medical uses, or scare away slugs and bugs and vampires? History suggests it does. Garlic, although the bane of fresh breath, acts a natural antiseptic, helps you get healthy, and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
 Admittedly  it does give the garlic-lover  'garlic breath' .  Now what?  Chew a sprig of parsley.
 You have garlic galore. 
  I say, share it... , and enjoy garlic together.

Is that incoming I hear?


  1. Ohh. I may have to plant some this fall. I just got moved into my house and planted my vegetable and herb garden last night. I can't wait to see them start to grow.

  2. hi Storm! It's a great idea, but you can plant garlic any time now, too. Planting in the fall just gives it an amazing head start. We haven't even started planting the REST of the garden yet, and won't, probably until after May 24th or so, 'last frost' supposedly. Sometimes there's frost as late as June 5th or 6th! Have a wonderful day, I hope your garden grows well! Thanks for stopping in! ~R

  3. Love Garlic, and thats reminded me we didnt plant any! I have to get a move on with our Allotment... We had to replant the sweetcorn een though I left in the greenhouse to germinate.. It rotted as it went very cold... But replanted and put in spare bedroom and just now they are poking their heads above the compost..
    Your Garlic looks to be in Great condition Raymond... Happy gardening.. And who cares about an odd weed here and there... I couldnt possibly keep up with ALL of my weeds... Wish some of my crops would have their growing power though :) ...
    Enjoy Wednesday! :-) ~Sue

    1. Hi, Sue! Ah, everyone should have garlic, it's great stuff! I do hope you get to plant some, alliums very important to one's health.
      Sweet corn is really subject to rot from cold and wet, should never be planted before the soil is warmed enough to have it sprout very quickly. We have soaked corn in warm water overnight, and quickly planting it can be successful using that concept, --but if the soil is really cold, it's better really to wait for that warmth. Interesting that young (less than 6" high corn CAN, under some unusual conditions, freeze down and regrow, "tillering" which means more than one stalk will again grow from the single plant--and at times, produce MORE .

      Believe, your plants all have their own growing power, and they do their best to cooperate with your positive green-thumb outlook, I'm sure of that! Weeds...haha..we have learned how to beat weeds by mulching the whole garden heavily with old hay as soon as the plants become big enough to 'collar' with mulch. It saves moisture AND makes the garden much, much more productive. Thank you for commenting and encouraging, Sue, I appreciate your comments so much! Have a wonderful day! ":) ~R

    2. Thanks Raymond for that advice... Yes Hubby said about the sweetcorn he's known that to happen... We had a great crop last year and gave lots away.. and still got some in the freezer which is so tender and sweet..
      Have you heard of putting the seeds in one's mouth to imprint a little of your own energy into the seeds... My daughter did that last year in her small plot of raised beds at her home, She had some amazing yeilds of veg to say she has alot of trees surrounding her garden and not alot of direct sunlight.. I hadnt heard of it before.
      Thank you also Raymond for leaving your foot-print upon my pages.. Enjoy the rest of your day.. :-) ~Sue

    3. hi Sue, we too are eating sweet corn from last year yet, peas, spaghetti pumpkin, squash, red and white onions, beans, and tomatillos also. We ran out of carrots!
      I have never heard of putting seeds in one's mouth to imprint energy into the seeds either. That is so fascinating! We shall have to try a controlled experiment and see what happens. Sue, your pages are wonderful, I enjoy reading your insight and exploring the path you have chosen.
      Best luck with your new garden this year, and have a wonderful day! ":) ~R

  4. Great stuff on garlic! Gonna grow a heap of it this year, well, and into next!

    1. Thanks, Mac, I'm glad you liked it. I hope you can use some of this info to start growing some garlic successfully too. Remember, don't give up if the garlic isn't too big your first season. It seems to take a couple of years to really start producing as you bust those bulbs and choose the best of your own garlic cloves. Thanks for dropping in, and have a great day! ~R

  5. now I know what to do with the garlic cloves that sprout :) Many times I've bought a bulb of garlic and never finished it. Thanks for the gardening tips!

    1. hi Katley, that's what the name of the game is. When a garlic clove sprouts, even in the winter, plant it in a flower pot in the house, as it grows in a sunny window, you can use the garlic leaves in salad and cooking too! When you break the bulb apart, you'll want a bit of the bottom 'root plate' or 'foot' on each clove, so if it's not cooperating, just score it with a sharp knife so each clove gets a bit of root! You can do it! thanks for stopping in! ":) ~R

  6. I can never have enough garlic, so you'd think I would grow some. I have to do this! Note to self: make raised bed solely for garlic!

    1. Exactly, Glory, if your soil conditions are wet, it would be better to put it into a raised bed, you need well-drained soil. You can grow some, it's easy! "Glory's Garlic Sales Emporium" will be a terrific success! You need to plant it VERY soon now, if spring planting. ":)
      Thanks for dropping in! ":) ~R

  7. I love garlic! I'm making my first attempt at growing it and will note all the advice.

    1. Great, Siba! Garlic is great stuff, and there are more than 20 varieties in one of my seed catalogs alone. I imagine there are probably dozens more, some are spicier and hotter than other varieties. It may take a couple of seasons for your chosen garlic to adapt to your conditions and thrive, but it will. Good luck with your garlic and thanks for dropping in! ~R

  8. I'm eager to harvest my garlic, and it won't be long now:)

    1. That's great, M.J. ! Hope you have a good harvest! Remember to pull it when the leaves and stalks begin serious browning, and clean and dry the bulbs , braid and hang them. Then in the 'fall' in your area, plant only the largest individual cloves. Post a picture of your garlic, I would love to see it! Have a great day! ~R

  9. Okay, so if I send you an SASE, would you send me some of your bulbils? That would make for some heirloom garlic for me which is better than what I can get my hands on here without ordering from the left coast.

    You know, the reason the big cloves do better is not genetics (the entire bulb has the same DNA). The reason is the bigger butt. Where the clove attaches to the pod is wider (and often thicker). The butt is where the roots begin. More area=more roots. The clove itself is food (fruit) to feed the roots. More fruit=more food. It is how you can viably grow garlic indoors in sandy poor soil and still eat good garlic.

    I love your non-rows.

  10. Hi, Red, of course, but it's not necessary to SASE. Just send me an email with your snail-mail address in it.
    I'll have to find the right bulbils for you. You may end up with both varieties. I have two different species, one species is smaller than the other. The biggest one is NOT elephant garlic but does grow much larger. When you plant the bulbils, you will soon find which are what...LOL The smaller ones are very spicy, and the bigger ones are also NOT mild by any means; they both are wonderful flavour.
    We tend to clip the scapes early, which makes the bulbs grow bigger too.

    My garlic beds have become non-rows by default. In the raised beds, If I need some seed, I allow my scapes to ripen completely FOR seed, and harvesting them when dry inevitably ends up with some volunteer dropped seed, the florets are intact, but dry they tend to shatter, releasing the bulbils. They're only an eighth of an inch in diameter, doesn't take much to lose a whole handful.
    My system sure isn't conducive to 'rows' after a couple of years, they sprout everywhere, which is a good thing, there are lots of volunteers to pick and eat early in the season, we eat leaves and all early. The other thing I do, of course is to mulch heavily after the garlic is about 6- 8" high to conserve moisture.
    You're probably right about that garlic butt, thinking about it, fall-planted garlic gets bigger because the root system has longer to grow and is much bigger. The guy that I got the big species from insists the bigger cloves end up with bigger bulbs, but that make more sense too..'more food' as you put it. I like your explanation, I'll work on the genetics... LOL Thanks for commenting and try to get those bulbils off to you. ":)) ~R


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