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.
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.
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.
I use a lot of garlic. While I’ve grown it off and on over the years, I’ve never planned for the future of my garlic patch. I’d buy bulbs in the fall and plant in October, then eat all I harvested the following year thinking if I decided to grow it again, I’d buy more bulbs at the garden centre.
That changed in 2019 when I walked into the feed store and saw locally-grown organic garlic for sale. Something in my brain said, “Buy it; grow it; grow it again. Be sustainable in garlic.”
Stepping onto the Self-sustaining Path
With little money to invest in my big plan, I bought one bulb. That one bulb had three cloves. It was already mid November but the ground was still workable, so I planted the three cloves at the end of a garden bed that had grown tomatoes that year. After tossing a small mound of hay and two evergreen boughs over the patch, I walked away and hoped for the best.
Planting 3 cloves of garlic in the garden November 2019