Garlic is UP! and Much about Mulch

“The more one gardens, the more one learns; and the more one learns, the more one realizes how little one knows.”  ~Vita Sackville-West

Siberian Purple Stripe garlic sprout in mid-FebruaryStatus report: Mid-February and the garlic is up and growing strong!

I am doing a few things differently this year than last.… Read more

How to Plant Garlic Bulbils

The weather can get seriously nasty in November, but if you have a few garlic cloves left, you can still stick them in the ground.

I laugh as I read that sentence, which I wrote after I got the main garlic crop in the ground and also – and this is key – an experimental crop of bulbils, those tiny seed-like things in the mature scapes.… Read more

Time Again to Plant Garlic

Plant your biggest garlic cloves root-end down, pointy-end upIt’s that time of year again! Time to plant your garlic!

You would think that after 30 years of growing garlic, I would have this down to a science. But I have to say, every year is a little different. After last year’s “learning experience” (ahm!), I am rethinking what I thought I knew and going back to some basics.… Read more

Artichoke Beauty and the Art of Aioli

artichoke flowerThe artichoke is such an amazing creature. It is something I usually associate with California or Mediterranean gardens, so here in my little windy corner of the Pacific Northwest, it is always a fascinating treat when I get one to grow and bloom.… Read more

Every Soil Tells a Story

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Click to purchase this photo by Ed Clark

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.… Read more

The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Ugly

Rotted garlic were put in the burn pile
Obvious signs of neck rot and mold on these garlic bulbs. Don't compost them; just burn them.

In times like these, it is good not to panic. Take your bearings. Breathe slowly, deeply, inhale, exhale. That’s right. All those things that are important when it comes to living, keep on doing them while you sort through your options.… Read more

St. James Infirmary (Ode-to-Garlic) Blues


A sad farewell to my garlic crop, which did not do well this year. Adieu, my friends. (And a thank you to all the frogs that spontaneously joined me in my farewell tribute.)… Read more

When All Else Fails, Buy Plants

I don’t know about you, but when I am sad, I go buy plants. At one point in my life, I did an inventory and realized I had over 100 different kinds of herbs. Ok – maybe that wasn’t all sadness – some of that was just pure compulsion.… Read more

Scapes, Scallions, and the Scarcity of Spring

Garlic Scape Reaches Skyward in a Graceful Curl
Blue sky, green trees, and the graceful curl of a garlic scape....What? In the desert? How can this be?

I have a serious case of scape envy. There. I’ve said it. I have so-called “friends” who send me pictures of their garlic scapes and how well they are doing.… Read more

Pull Back the Mulch and Feed the Garlic!

Garlic stands a good 1 1/2-ft tall in late March
German Extra Hardy is looking strong! (Ruler is 15" tall)

Garlic goes through four stages in its life: a dormant stage over winter when it conserves energy and growth is slow; a spring spurt when growth is rapid; a flowering stage in June when energy is directed at producing scapes, bulbils, and seeds; and the bulbing stage, when it sends the last of its reserves toward growing a bulb that can split into cloves and carry on in the next season.… Read more