My last garlic update was on November 25, 2021. Read it here: Midgarden Garlic Update. I had planted 71 cloves on November 4th. Winter is a tricky season, and one never knows what will survive and what won’t. My garlic surprised me again this spring, and every clove developed.
Here is the upper bed of garlic. It contains most of the cloves. Although chickens pecked and dug around it all spring, the garlic did find.
Garlic in Mid-May 2022
Garlic bed just after planting November 2021
Following my schedule for last year, I will pick garlic scapes in late June and the garlic the first week of August. I can’t consume 71 scapes, so I’m going to sell most of them. If you’re in the area and want fresh scapes in late June, get in touch. When I sell, I’ll harvest when the buyer arrives, so they’ll be fresh.
My garlic is organically grown. The only thing that goes on it and the soil are rain water from the cistern or rainwater barrels, compost made on the property from animal manure and soiled hay, unbleached mulch, shavings and fall leaves.
If the garlic grows as well as it did last year, I’ll have 458 cloves to plant this November. And I will be ready to sell half of the crop in August 2023 when I will crown myself the Queen of Garlic.
For those who don’t know the start of my garlic journey, all this began with one bulb bought in November 2019. The story starts with this post: In the Garden: Growing Garlic.
For a long time, I’ve thought about creating a gardening channel on YouTube. After thinking about it for months on how I’d format it, I’ve finally taken the plunge.
I like short videos because I don’t have a huge chunk of free time. I want videos to be precise and on the topic in the title. When I’m looking for information, say on how to propagate blackberries, I don’t want unrelated stories. I find a lot of YouTubers talk about irrelevant things to add minutes to their videos.
I aim to keep my videos short. Ten minutes or less.
Last night, my sister contacted me about seed potatoes. She had put her order in at Veseys Seed on Prince Edward Island and received notice that seed potatoes were unavailable.
I checked Veseys’ website but did not find any notice about a disease outbreak. However, all varieties of potatoes are labelled as “Not Available for 2022” and “Out of Stock”.
I found several news articles about PEI potatoes unable to be shipped to the United States, but I am unsure if this is the reason they are not leaving the island for Canadian destinations. The article Canada Halts Exports of Prince Edward Island Potatoes on Modern Farmer states this, “After cases of potato wart fungus were found on two PEI farms, Canada has put a stop to potato exports into the US.”
There is very little going on in the garden this time of year. The ground is frozen, and plants are tucked beneath an insolating blanket of snow. However, I’m busy inside, finishing my report on last year’s season, planning for the upcoming season, ordering seeds and learning more about the plants I grow and want to grow.
Each year, I grow at least one thing I’ve never grown before. This year, one of those things is broccoli. I ordered the seeds from Veseys Seeds on Prince Edward Island. I chose Arcadia Broccoli.
While I have a good supply of garlic bulbs, there’s another plant that can provide the flavour, and it’s available fresh from the garden between early May to late October. This plant also provides greenery for the dish, whether that be scrambled eggs or soups.
The perennial that everyone can grow and that thrives from being cut regularly is garlic chives. It’s so easy to grow and propagate that once you have one small plant in your garden, it won’t take many years before the clump grows to a fair size and new plants pop up around the mother plant. Don’t consider these new plants as weeds, though they may be mistaken for blades of grass in the early stage. Move them to the location of your choice or share them with a friend.
On November 4th, I planted my Midgarden garlic. I had prepared the bed a few weeks earlier by cleaning out the weeds and spreading two inches of compost over the top. No, I do not work it into the soil. I practise the no-dig method.
I estimated between 33 and 44 cloves from the 11 bulbs I had harvested in August (see the post: Garlic Update for 2021). However, I was shocked to have 71 cloves. That’s an average of 6.45 cloves per bulb. I knew the bulbs were big, but I had no idea I’d get more than four cloves from each.
Doing the math, this indicates I may get 458 cloves to plant in the fall of 2022.
Heavily processed and unnatural food practices have been a normal part of the food system in North America for only about 60 years. Before that time, most foods were naturally organic and few people ate processed foods. Both my parents grew up in rural areas where everyone in the community got 90% of what they consumed from their backyard, the forest around them or the ocean. Flour, salt, sugar and a few other basic baking ingredients were the only food items they bought.
While governments, organisations and activist groups prattle on about environmental issues and claim the end of the world is nigh, they offer little in real solutions. They keep talking globally when the answer is locally. When I think of the popular slogan “Buy Local”, I don’t think about buying from a local store. I think of buying food and products grown and created near me, not a thousand miles away. I want apples grown within 100 miles of me, not 500.
In my gardening journey, I seek plants that grow well in my climate. If they are perennial – come back every year – it’s an added bonus. If I can eat it, it’s a staple.
Sunroot is both perennial and edible. They’ve been eaten by humans for centuries, yet I didn’t grow up eating them or growing them in the garden. I don’t know anyone who grew them. Once a staple in the homesteader garden, the sunroot has been replaced with more fashionable edible perennials such as rhubarb and asparagus.
When I tried to find a source for the tubers, I failed. My sister and her son joined the hunt. After two years, my nephew stumbled upon an old rural garden outlet that had sunroots growing in its field. They didn’t sell it but remembered it was growing there. They dug up a few tubers, and I was the lucky recipient of three small pieces.
In the past several years, I’ve heard a lot about preppers, and I’ve watched many videos on how they prepare. One topic of discussion that comes up regularly is long-term food storage. This food is intended to sustain individuals in the household for x-amount of time. Some keep a month’s supply of food on hand while others keep a year or two stashed in their pantry.
What continues to amuse me is up until about sixty years ago, having a storage of food in the pantry was common practice. Perhaps people living in cities were less inclined to keep a month’s worth of food on hand, but those living in the country dedicated space, time, money and energy to having a well-stocked pantry for the brutal winter months.
In today’s climate, my family would have been considered preppers because our freezer was full of deer meat, rabbit meat, fish and various items bought from the grocery store. By the end of October, shelves in the cold room were stocked with preserves my mother had done down: chow, pickles, cranberry jam, blueberry jam and a host of other foods picked from the garden or gathered from the forest that surrounded our neighbourhood.
On my journey to be self-sufficient with garlic – I mean Queen of Garlic – I have met with success in the summer of 2021. If you haven’t read about the garlic growing in my garden, check out this post: In the Garden: Growing Garlic.
While the garlic donated from my sister and nephew grew well, the garlic that has grown in my garden since November 2019, which I dubbed Midgarden Garlic, did amazing. I expected three cloves per bulb, but instead I got four or five cloves.