garlic

Spring Garlic Woes

Dear Readers:

I have been receiving letters lately from folks worried about their garlic. It is understandable. With great anticipation, we insert these naked little cloves in cold soil, just as the season takes a downturn; we stress throughout the snows and storms of winter as to whether they can possibly survive; come early spring, we are elated when we see their tender tips emerge, apparently unscathed; then we plunge into worry and anxiety when, despite their rapid growth, they show signs of yellowing tips; we scrutinize them for other diseases, insects, “issues;” we feed them, water them, murmur soft nothings of encouragement; we marvel at the beauty of their gangly scapes, waving in the wind; and then with a certain amount of apprehension, we begin digging the bulbs, 9 months in the making, one by one; we cradle them gently, inhale the fragrant aroma as they hang to cure in gentle breezes, and then we, sometimes with great flourish and ceremony but without apology, devour them.

Who needs this roller coaster? We all do! Obviously. But it’s a slippery slope, my friends, very slippery indeed.Read More »Spring Garlic Woes

Crocus, Frogs, and Bees! Oh My!

LOVE the “firsts” that happen in January! First crocus, alder catkins, croaking frogs! This warm weather has brought out the bees, and they are returning with pollen! And look! The garlic shoots are up! Farewell January. Bring on Spring!

Garlic Planting Conundrums – Part 3

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This is my final post in this Garlic-Planting Conundrum series – and by now you probably think I am beating this whole thing into the ground. But I wanted to share a few practical things about figuring out your space needs and preparing the planting area, particularly under less-than-ideal conditions. Now is the time to think about next year, and with some forethought, you can save yourself a lot of work!

In this post I talk about

  • Figuring out how much garlic you should grow and how much space you will really need
  • Mulching and tilling – or not
  • What kinds of tools will help you get the job DONE (and which ones can you throw in the brambles)
  • Alternative planting methods, and do they work?
  • The nitty-gritty of building beds.

Read More »Garlic Planting Conundrums – Part 3

Garlic Planting Conundrums, Part 2

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Garlic Planting Conundrums, Part 2, in which we ask, where can you fit garlic in a permaculture landscape, what about companion planting with garlic, and what is the most efficient way to grow really great garlic?

So, in my earlier post, we talked a bit about figuring out where to plant the garlic from year to year, and how it can be a lot of work to break new ground and turn it into something soft and loose enough to grow a well-rounded, firm, disease-free, long-lasting, ultimately flavorful head of garlic, which is what we’re all after, right?Read More »Garlic Planting Conundrums, Part 2

Garlic Planting Conundrums – Part 1

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I’ve written several articles about planting garlic, growing garlic, miserably failing at growing garlic, harvesting & curing garlic, and yes, eating garlic – and I have wanted to use the word, “Conundrum” in the title of every one of them. True.

Garlic SignBut here’s what happened: I stopped by our local farm store the other day to pick up some bone meal, and a big sign on the door proclaimed (see sign to the right) …

“You’re tellin’ me! I need to get my act together,” I thought, as I pushed through the door. Read More »Garlic Planting Conundrums – Part 1

Garlic for Barter and Trade

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What do 3 dozen eggs, 3 bottles of honey, and a beautiful handcrafted dish have to do with garlic?

In trade for garlic: pottery, honey, eggs

In trade for garlic: pottery, honey, eggs. Yes! We love all these things!

Barter Fare!

This picture is of my three most recent trades: a pottery dish made by Linda R. Hughes, three bottles of raw, unheated honey, and 3 dozen fresh eggs. Quite an assortment! And each one special in its own way.Read More »Garlic for Barter and Trade

2013 Garlic Crop Is In!

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garlc harvest 2013Yes! The garlic is IN and hangin’ in the shed! It looks great!

With this announcement, I have another – the short version is, there is not much there.

No – it’s not another infestation disaster. Simply, I scaled way back on the number and varieties of bulbs I planted (and scaled way UP in the permaculture / food forest plantings).

What this means is that although, yes, of course, I am still willing to share (how could I not?) – supplies are limited.Read More »2013 Garlic Crop Is In!

Yellow Tips on Garlic and Other Growing Dilemmas

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Garlic in Early June

June 4: The garlic is standing tall and looking strong, despite a few yellow tips.

…or, Good Grief! Give the Bees a Break!

My 5-year-old grandson gave me a special letter the other day. Inside the envelope was a carefully folded (multiple times) picture he had colored of a rad dude on a motorcycle. (Nice job!) But more revealing was the  envelope on which he had scrawled in his very best handwriting “GRAMMA,” along with a little happy face, below which was a large letter B. He explained to me that the face was a bee, because he knew his grandma loved bees. More pointedly, he had earlier told his mother, “All Gramma ever talks about is bees….Read More »Yellow Tips on Garlic and Other Growing Dilemmas

Urgent: Weed Your Garlic!

It’s officially spring and that means the beginning of Panic Season! So much to DO! Here is one more urgent task on your to-do list: WEED YOUR GARLIC. Early Spring is the most important weeding you will EVER DO in your garlic bed – and here is why.

Time to Plant Garlic!

Time to get that garlic in the ground if you haven’t already! Need garlic? We still have some! Want a tool to make the planting easier, faster, & more uniform? We have just the thing! Need planting tips? Look no further!

What’s Wrong with My Garlic?

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What’s Wrong with My Garlic? Does your garlic have yellow-tipped leaves, signs of mold and rot, falling over stems, thirsty insects sucking the living juice right out of the plants? If you don’t think you have problems, after reading this, you might change your mind.

Garlic Status: Mid-July

I am getting lots of questions about where we’re at with the garlic – when we’ll have bulbs for sale – and how about the bulbils? Here’s my final, not-so-final, wishy-washy answer to predicting the future.

Nettle Soup

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Looking for a good recipe for Nettle Soup? Look no farther! All these nutrient-dense weeds growing out there wild and free – and free for the taking! Indulge in one of nature’s superfoods!

Is Your Garden Boring? (The Food-Forest Solution)

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Has winter exposed your garden as a bunch of boring rectangles and squares? Do you wish it more replicated real life, running in circles? There is help for people like us. Work WITH nature to transform your labor-intensive squares into a self-supporting food forest.

First Sprouts of Garlic!

Mid-February and the garlic is UP! Tallest in the patch is the Chinese Pink, a Turban variety, but all varieties are making a showing. These hardy little bulbs can handle the rough weather ahead. Just be careful with the mulch!

Death by Garlic, Revived by Kale

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February is a weird month – we get a little bit of everything in the weather department. We do a lot of fantasizing through seed catalogs and are anxious to get our hands back in the dirt. When the winter blues & blahs get you down, our latest kale recipe, “Death by Garlic, Revived by Kale,” is sure to bring you around.

For the Love of Kale (and Garlic and Cauliflower)

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What’s to salvage out of a garden hammered by winter storms? Italian Lacinato (or Tuscan) Kale stands strong! Here’s a great recipe for Chicken-Kale-Cauliflower casserole (with a fair amount of garlic, of course!)

‘Tis the Season for Transylvanian

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Halloween Night! What a fright! Protect yourself with Transylvanian Garlic! Special sale on braids – while supplies last. Warning! It packs more than just a little bite. Seriously. I warned you. Vampires need not apply.

A Somewhat Unconventional Garlic Garden

I tried a little unconventional approach to this year’s garlic garden. I built the beds in a series of circles around nitrogen-fixing shrubs and a meandering form that looks a lot like my life – er, I mean, a whirligig. Whatever. I was lost.

Got Garlic???? YES we DO!

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We still have lots of garlic! In trying to set up a storefront, I wiped out my page that lists them. If you’re looking for great garlic to plant or to eat, shoot me an email and I’ll get back to you. It might take me awhile to find a fix!

Garlic Planting Planner

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Having trouble figuring out how much garlic you can plant in your garden? Or maybe how much garden you need to plant all your garlic? I’ve created a little tool in Excel that will do all the math for you – leaving you more time to get down and get dirty in the garden! Check out the Barbolian Fields Garlic Planting Planner.

Surrounded by Garlic!

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Got garlic? One can never have too much. See what it’s like to be surrounded by about 1000 bulbs and over 130 pounds of this fragrant stuff — swooooon…

Barbolian Garlic Harvest 2011

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Our garlic harvest was a full month later than in some years, but yes – the garlic is in and hanging in the shed – AND THE GOOD NEWS IS: IT LOOKS FANTASTIC!

Self-Imposed Limitations, Sustainability, and Creatively Breaking Rules

I’ve hit a turning point. Actually, several of them. In the process, I’ve been examining my self-imposed limitations, my concept of sustainability, and why now is the best time to break a few rules. Another lengthy psycho-analysis post of how our gardens teach us much about life and visa versa – and what to do about it.

Garlic Under Snow

Snowstorm in the PNW! The garlic is under a blanket. Here’s a good recipe for a simple high-energy food mix for the birds.

How to Plant Garlic Bulbils

Here’s how I recently planted garlic bulbils – those little seed-like clusters in the scapes. Planting scapes is a great way to increase your crop at a low price. Can you still plant them? Yes, I think so, but you may want to wait for the snow to melt if you’re on the Olympic Peninsula! I am sure there will be warmer days ahead if you still need to get them in the ground.

Time Again to Plant Garlic

Frost is on the pumpkin and it’s time to plant garlic! I am going back to basics this year – keeping it simple. This post is all about planting garlic: planning, building beds, enriching the soil, planting, and mulching.

Artichoke Beauty and the Art of Aioli

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We have artichokes! Celebrate by making your own aioli – basically garlic, lemon juice, egg yolks, and olive oil blended together in a smooth mass – to transport yourself into some other realm. It is a night and day difference from the stuff you buy in a jar called mayonnaise. Artichokes – extraordinary thistle that they are – are the perfect partner to this excursion into a gastronomic swoon.

Every Soil Tells a Story

We delve deeper into the whys of a poor garlic crop this year, and although I highly suspect it was a combination of a long wet winter and spring, incessant strong winds, and too thick a mulch, I thought it might be a good idea to buy an NPK soil-test kit and see what the soil could tell me.

When All Else Fails, Buy Plants

A little retail therapy helped offset the dreary weather and having to face a very poor garlic crop. Sad day. Looking for some bright spots amidst a lot of bulbs that rotted in the ground. Looking for reasons why. Even after over 30 years of growing this stuff, gardening is always such a learning process, huh.

Scapes, Scallions, and the Scarcity of Spring

In this post, I confess to having a serious case of scape envy, based on reports I am getting from others whose garlic plants are already producing those delectable scapes. Want to know the difference between scapes, scallions, and “green garlic” and how elephant garlic fits in to this picture? I’ll try to unravel some of that for you. And if you’re wondering what to do with your scapes, stay tuned for my upcoming cookbook!

Pull Back the Mulch and Feed the Garlic!

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If you’ve tucked your garlic in under mulch for the winter, now is the time to pull back the blanket and let the sun shine in. Early spring is a time of intense change for the garlic plants, and when they first come up, they are hungry! Have pity and don’t make them search for food! This post is about the special needs of garlic in early spring and how to care for them.