The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Too much garlic?

Garlic on the compost pileThis year, we're learning that it is possible to grow more food than we can eat.  Garlic is a case in point.  Last year, we grew 25 pounds of it, and despite giving away quite a bit, I had to put around 5 pounds on the compost pile this week.  (I'm leery of giving away subprime produce since I think it often ends up in the trash.  If that's the case, I'd rather the biomass stay on our farm.)

I didn't know we'd have so much extra when I planted this year's garlic, so I put in the same number of beds...and ended up with 8% more.  I guess the folks who say that if you keep planting the biggest heads, your garlic will adapt to your climate and become more productive each year were right.  I've learned my lesson, though --- those extra 7.6 pounds of garlic will be given away right now while they're still plump and beautiful.

Bags of garlicFor next year, I'm cutting back our planting by a third and focusing on the most productive variety --- Music.  I kept data on each type of garlic for the first time during the 2011 harvest and discovered that this hardneck garlic outperforms the softneck variety (Silverwhite Silverskin) that we'd been planting as our main garlic crop by 50% per bed!  I'll still be planting some softnecks since they last more than twelve months, while the hardneck starts to degrade in early spring, but Music is going to be our new fall and winter garlic standby.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I've been wanting to try music garlic. Unfortunately my source to buy planting garlic sold out quickly! Please let me know if I could buy some planting stock of music garlic from you!
Comment by Tracy Thu Jul 28 09:00:14 2011
I've already got our extras earmarked as gifts, but my supplier does seem to have plenty still available --- That said, getting garlic from a place as close to you as possible is a good idea since the plants need to adapt to different climates, so if you find a closer source, that might be better.
Comment by anna Thu Jul 28 10:27:09 2011

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