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Time Again to Plant Garlic — 9 Comments

    • Hi Roy –
      I just answered a similar question (which happened to be entered on the Fan Club sign-up page. Go to http://barbolian.com/thank-you/). This person had been growing a LOT of garlic in the same place for 6 years! So yes, it is entirely feasible. Proper? Hmmm. It is not advised. Everything you read says it’s really important to rotate your crops to prevent disease and pest infestations.

      Personally, I have always rotated my crops and have repeated that mantra. That said, some people scatter their garlic here, there, and everywhere – not growing it in just one spot. It is a practice I am beginning to do more and more often because I have simply run out of room. When you aren’t growing garlic as a monocrop, I don’t think there is as much risk of a disease or pest outbreak – or if there is, it doesn’t take out your whole crop.

      As I told the previous author, if you have heard of Paul Gautschi of Back to Eden fame – on a tour to his farm a few years ago, he explained that God doesn’t rotate crops, so why should we? Paul concentrates instead on mulching and building the soil. When it comes time to harvest, he reaches in, takes what he needs, and then puts some back. Same with potatoes. Build your soil, and your plants will be healthy, strong, and resist disease.

      I think you can safely get away with growing the garlic in the same place for a couple of years. Beyond that, I think you need to assess your personal situation. Hope that helps – thanks for writing in – and best of luck to you!

  1. gosh i just read in adtion to garlic we share harmonica passion…whilst Mayor I got to play & jam with many well known artists who would comply when in our area..haha
    our friends are big bee keepers in our area and like our garlic Peace river honey world renowned…
    yt
    lgmann qc

  2. Wonderful read and information …esp. for we garlic grown’ newbies….way up here on the 56th meridian..Peace River Ab Canada. We are into our 2nd year..big incremental increase in plantings after a huge success on a4 foot X 25 foot first step…Our friends have jumped in as well…so wide varieties and over 1500 segments in the raised bed, on our fenced garden on our 1/2 section of land that won the Canadian wildlife Foundation national award for best land reclamation ..turning a former paint ball mess into a pristine park along the banks and hills of Peace River,
    Our main partner is of dutch descent canadian…and did a minor commercial effort couple of years back..Gert’s Gourmet Garlic…he set up at farmers markets.
    My bride and I are long time avid gardeners here in our compact season of nearly 24 hour daylight in our too short summers
    ..I was interested in your “hockey stick”planting device….Gerry(gert) a carpenter by trade created a 1/2 sheet of plywood with space holes…with a “dibble”..we think he made that up..but is like a surveyors plumb bob…sooo you
    drive the dibble in ,drop in the segment to all 36 holes then flip the board over and along…repeat …wonderful method
    and one person puts on the cover
    Your comments regarding cover, was of interest…as we did a clean straw(~ 8″ stalk…weed free we hope as temperatures can get to -30 here in winter…but summer spectacular..the method worked in our last year small bed
    …but it was not the cleanest cover and weeds were an issue
    NOW the garlic…a study in neighbouring province to west of Alberta did a study on northern grown garlic, and other
    hippy dippy things as ecencha,etc….and it showed the levels of the active ingredients in garlic in this area the highest around….one bite vs grocery store stock is instant confirmation…takes your breath away and stops our dread colds with one portion chopped up and on toast…

    we hope the straw in fact clean and does not become a winter hiding spot for smaller vermin able to get through fence
    …any roads…thanks for your great site. and sharing…
    later..from fellow garlic growers and snappers in Peace River Alberta Canada…

    • What a wonderful note! It is so fun to hear about what other people are doing! Being recognized by the Wildlife Foundation for outstanding land reclamation is FANTASTIC! Thank you! Our planet needs more people like you! I looked up Peace River, Alberta on the map – such a beautiful area & a place of many extremes! I used to live in Alaska, so I fully understand those long days of summer and short, cold days of winter. I was surprised, though, that you don’t get more rain — you are about the same as we are (15″/386 mm), with most of your rain (like ours) hitting the mountains before it reaches you — but, of course, you get way more snow. Some years, we don’t get any at all. We have a constant freezing & thawing over the winter, which causes its own problems.

      My theory is that the more extreme the environment & the harsher the conditions, the more powerful the medicine! And hey, they grow garlic in Siberia, right? Definitely no comparison between store-bought and hardnecks grown on your own nurtured soil!

      I like your description of the garlic-planting tool to get all your holes spaced evenly across the bed!

      These days, I am mulching everything in my garden with as much mulch as I can get — with a few mixed results. Yes, it most definitely builds the soil and conserves water, which are my biggest reasons for doing so. Yes, little voles create a lot of damage on all but the most established plants. If the roots can get below the traffic zone, the plant seems to recover ok. Carrots have been a loss every year, but I keep trying. My latest strategy is to just plant way more than I need and that way, there is plenty for everyone. The mulch has not yet been the weed suppressant I had hoped, although the weeds are easier to pull. Grass, thistles, morning glory/bindweed – these plants are tenacious and grow through everything. My mulch has a lot of seeds in it, too – even the straw – so I think what I really need are ducks & geese. We are hoping to get some this next year.

      I have to say, I am not growing as much garlic as I used to. My garden space has transformed more into a permaculture environment with lots of different kinds of herbs, bee plants, veggies, and fruits, nuts, & berries throughout. It is my little effort to save bees and help turn back climate change. Cutting back on the garlic was a difficult decision to make; I was at one time growing 27 varieties and about 1500 bulbs, which is a lot for one person, and as you know, it takes time to build up to that kind of seed stock. As I filled up the area with perennials, though, I found it harder & harder to find a sunny plot in which to rotate the garlic. Still, I will always tuck a few garlic bulbs in here and there throughout. How could I not?

      Thank you for contacting me! It’s great to have friends in Alberta! Best of luck to you in the coming season! Keep me posted!
      ~Blythe

  3. Pingback: Garlic Harvest | A Man and His Hoe

  4. Hi Greg! Thanks for stopping back in! How many are you planting this year? Varieties?
    I had not heard about the sale of the Hood River Garlic farm – they have a great website & it looks like a huge operation! Lots of work indeed!
    I did, however, notice that the Lonesome Whistle Farm out of Eugene had similar problems to mine … lots of rain & extended cool weather took their toll on their crop – sad results I understand too well! They, too, have what looks like a pretty good-sized farm – and the diversity of crops helped pull them through.
    Keep me posted on your garlic – and keep in touch!
    Blythe

  5. Hi Blythe,

    Nice write up again. We are also looking at planting more garlic this year too. Our beds are almost ready, so by next weekend we will have them done and planted! Oh and did you hear? hoodrivergarlic is for sale (entire business). not sure why but we both know growing great garlic take time and lots of work. Good luck with your crop!

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