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

Weighing 2013's garlic

Seed garlic

This is far from our best garlic year, with the total harvest being a mere 17 pounds.  Still, we'll have enough to plant and to eat, although not the usual 10 pounds extra to give away.  Unlike Garlic datamost years, we're also eating down to the dregs of the previous year's crop before starting on the 2013 garlic to make sure they stretch for the full season.

Since I think weather was the main reason our harvest was mediocre, we're not changing anything for next year's planting, although I did think of one minor innovation.  Writing the name of each variety on my seed garlic makes the heads easy to store all together rather than in individually-labeled bags, and should make management during planting a breeze.  These seed heads --- the largest and best-looking ones of the crop --- will sit in a mesh bag for two months, then will go in the ground in late September as one of our last crops of the year.

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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 never grown garlic, but I've been thinking about it (maybe next year!). How did you decide your varieties? Did you try a few different ones? There's a garlic farm up here in MI that sells only garlic at farmer's markets and whatnot, and has something like 15-20 varieties. I was blown away. I should have expected there were that many, but I hadn't actually thought about it.

Also, when you started, did you grow up your seed crop over a couple seasons, or did you just buy as much as you needed to fulfill your garlic quota?

btw, I got the walking onions planted in a few different places (by the house, in the garden, on the hugelkulture), and they seem to be doing good!


Comment by Stephen Tue Jul 23 12:18:59 2013

Stephen --- We started with a sampler set from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, which didn't quite reach our quota (filling 9 beds instead of our current 13), but got us off to a good start. SESE probably chose their best-selling varieties to put in the sampler.

I like the idea of having at least one hardneck and one softneck variety since the hardnecks (at least ours) produce huge bulbs that make life easy when brewing up a cauldron of soup, while the softnecks are reputed to last longer after harvest. That said, our Music garlic lasts at least 11 months, so longevity may not be all that relevant.

It sounds like you've got a good local source, which is one of the essential factors in growing good garlic.

Glad to hear your Egyptian onions are doing well!

Comment by anna Tue Jul 23 12:51:09 2013

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