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.

Continue Reading Urgent: Weed Your Garlic!

What’s Wrong with My Garlic?

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.

Continue Reading What’s Wrong with My Garlic?

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

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.

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

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!

Continue Reading First Sprouts of Garlic!

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.

Continue Reading A Somewhat Unconventional Garlic Garden

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.

Continue Reading Self-Imposed Limitations, Sustainability, and Creatively Breaking Rules

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.

Continue Reading Garlic Under Snow

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.

Continue Reading How to Plant Garlic Bulbils

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.

Continue Reading Time Again to Plant Garlic

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.

Continue Reading Every Soil Tells a Story

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.

Continue Reading When All Else Fails, Buy Plants

Pull Back the Mulch and Feed the Garlic!

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.

Continue Reading Pull Back the Mulch and Feed the Garlic!

Garlic Reconnects Old Friends and Makes New Ones

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!

Continue Reading Garlic Reconnects Old Friends and Makes New Ones

Garlic Is Coming On Strong!

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!

Continue Reading Garlic Is Coming On Strong!

Buy Garlic, Not Gold!

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.

Continue Reading Buy Garlic, Not Gold!

Yes! You Can Still Plant Garlic!

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.

Continue Reading Yes! You Can Still Plant Garlic!

First Garlic Harvest Underway!

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.

Continue Reading First Garlic Harvest Underway!

Spring Cleaning in the Garlic Beds!

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.

Continue Reading Spring Cleaning in the Garlic Beds!

Welcome Back Garlic!

Welcome back New Garlic Shoots! Welcome back Garlic Lovers! It's only February, and the garlic looks rather naked and vulnerable out there.

Continue Reading Welcome Back Garlic!

The Scallions Are Here!

Garlic scallions - or "green garlic" - those tender little morsels before they mature into a pungent clove-divided bulb, spell spring in so many ways! Yes you can eat the shoots! And those garlic cloves that didn't quite overwinter and have started to sprout? You can still plant them! Even a small pot will do. Crowded is ok. In a couple of months (maybe less), you, too, can be eating your own scallions right from the garden.

Continue Reading The Scallions Are Here!