Progress reports from Pennsylvania and the Mojave Desert: Barbolian garlic is thriving across the country! Plus a little philosophical wandering into how the Internet, gardens, and garlic can reconnect old friends and make new ones!
The garlic is growing strong at Barbolian Fields! We applied a heavy layer of mulch at planting time, and it appears to have done a good job of protecting the bulbs from the series of winter freezes and thaws and also preventing erosion of the beds when we got a lot of rain. Looks like a good crop this year if all goes well!
Garlic has been named the Best Performing Asset in China this year, outperforming gold, silver, oil, and real estate, a consequence of supply and demand and the H1N1 flu epidemic scare. If you're looking for good garlic, though, the very best can be found at home. Buy local.
Looking for a really good garlic roaster? Look no further. Andi and Rudy Bauer of Bauer Haus Pottery make some amazing pieces. Roasted garlic elevates a simple dinner to a holiday feast. The Bauer Haus garlic roasters will ensure your garlic roasts to perfection.
It is not too late to plant garlic! This post discusses pros and cons of planting early or late. A detailed description is given on how to plant garlic, including planning, building beds, pre-plant techniques, spacing, and mulching. It is based on my over 30 years of growing garlic in the Northwest.
The garlic has matured a little early this year due to the warm weather. We are harvesting our first garlic nearly 2 weeks earlier than usual. When to water and when to harvest is always a balancing act when it comes to garlic.
Need we say more?
I have been getting a lot of questions about garlic scapes lately – and in checking my blog stats, a lot of people are searching for recipes using scapes. Scapes, those curly flower shoots from the hardneck varieties of garlic, arrive just as we are running out of our green garlic harvest. My favorite way to use them is in pestos with parsley, olive oil, & parmesan cheese. They are also great in hummus and other dips. Cook them very gently and pair them with things that aren’t too overpowering so their delicate flavors shine through. They can be used like green onions in salads – and are particularly good in bean salads. They are great in every combination of stir-fry imaginable. Toss them into omelettes. Roast them with asparagus. Chop them up over fish. Infuse them in butter. The possibilities are endless! And if they get too tall and tough to eat, cut them and put them in a vase!
This afternoon, I strolled (ok – hobbled – but that’s for another post) through the garden and saw a very simple, fast, easy, and gourmet (!) dinner before me: first-of-the-season garlic scapes, first snow peas, salad greens, & thinnings – all tossed together in a tortilla. Here’s the recipe (loosely defined — I don’t really believe in recipes, just guidelines):
Spring Garden Tour Tortillas
- A dozen garlic scapes, coarsely chopped
- Several handfuls of snow peas
- A few beet thinnings – some with little beets (chop stems; separate out leaves)
- A few chard thinnings (chop stems; separate out leaves)
- Some radish thinnings (separate leaves)
- Numerous leaves of red & green leafed lettuce (we have tons!)
- Numerous leaves of spinach
- Also used: some leftover chicken, chopped (optional – this could also be meatless), some olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar, and some tortillas.
Just an aside – I don’t believe in wasting anything. I feed scraggly hairy roots to my worms, but eat just about everything else. Stems are good. Radish leaves loose their prickles when lightly cooked. But the idea here is to get creative with whatever you have on hand. Here we go:
Heat a frying pan hot – toss in a little olive oil – and then toss in the scapes, peas, the little beets, & stems from the beets & chard. Cook a couple minutes at most.
Snack on the radishes while you cook everything.
Toss in the chicken, give it a stir, & the chopped greens (beet leaves, chard, radish tops). Sprinkle with a little balsamic vinegar – not much, because it can be overpowering – just enough to give it a little tang. Stir & cover.
As soon as the greens are wilted (about 1 minute), fill a tortilla, top with fresh lettuces & spinach, and eat. The wilted greens add a bit of moisture to the mix, so you might have to tilt the pan to let it drain to one side. Cheese would also be good, but some of us are lactose-sensitive, and it is just fine without. Chopped nuts might be nice. Too bad I forgot chopped chives!
Fast – fresh – fabulous – fun – several reasons to grow your own or buy from your neighbor!
Spring is a busy time to get the garden in shape before planting. Garlic is up and so are the weeds! Efforts now to get rid of the weeds will pay off with big garlic bulbs later! Also time to fertilize the garlic with a little side-dressing of blood meal for a nitrogen boost. Seaweed and fish fertilizer foliar sprays also strengthen the plants. Raised beds are a real advantage to early growth.
Welcome back New Garlic Shoots! Welcome back Garlic Lovers!
Hmmm…I seem to have figured how to get my pictures back up on my posts, although not necessarily where I want them. After my recent WordPress upgrade, I have had a few problems. Hopefully this will be fixed soon, but in the meantime, please put up with this amateur hacker!
Brrr! It is frosty outside! As you know, January and February can be a real mixture of weather, and here in the Pacific Northwest, we are no exception. The rain and snow this year for us were a statistician’s dream. Even without extremes, storms regularly blow in off the west coast with winds strong enough to break trees, while other afternoons can be deceivingly warm with the promise of spring. Then the nights freeze solid again, glare ice coats the roadways, and thick frost ices every nook and crevice.
It might be a time for us to hunker down inside, but things are happening in the backyard garlic patch! Tender garlic shoots are bravely poking through the soil. Trust me on this. Look closely. I DO SEE GREEN!!!
They seem so exposed – so vulnerable. I did not mulch. There is no snow cover for protection….
I encourage them to be strong.
And in the meantime, I have had several discussions with fellow gardeners over the past few weeks about mulching, watering, the bed/no-bed dilemma, irrigation, building the soil, which varieties of garlic are best, other good crops, and an assortment of innovative gardening ideas. I will be posting on these in the near future as the growing season kicks in.
Thanks for visiting my site – and please come back – come back often! And I sure hope I can get this little snafu fixed!