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.
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 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
Shortly after Christmas, I went through Veseys Seed Catalogue and made a list of seeds I wanted to order for the coming growing season. This year’s order was small though I’m still contemplating a few other things. I’ll make up my mind before the end of January and make a second order if needed.
Why is my order small? Over the years, I’ve ordered many packages of seeds from various companies. I often don’t use all the seeds in an envelope, so I store them for the future. Seeds are good for a few years if they are kept in a dry, dark, cool (not below zero) place.
Last year, I put time into gathering seeds from plants in the garden. Once I learned how, it was easy to save many seeds. Usually I buy a few different varieties of tomato seeds, but I’m not buying any this year. I have about 300 seeds ready to be sown, but I’m not planting that many. I usually put in about a dozen plants.
The bonus about learning how to harvest seeds for future use is I save money. I usually spend about $50 a year on seeds and root stock. Since I don’t have to buy many seeds this year, I’m expanding my collection and buying a few different things I’ve never grown before. Two of those things are watermelon and stevia.
This year, I grew an abundance of carrots. I grew them in the multi-sowing pattern: three seeds in one hole. If you’re like me, you’ve been taught since your first steps in the garden to either drop one seed in the hole or (since this is carrots), scatter them and when they start to grow, thin out the weaker seedlings to give the carrot lots of room to grow.
Well, that’s not how Charles Dowding does it, and I’ve been watching his videos and following him for almost two years. He puts three seeds in and grows carrots (and other vegetables, such as onions) in clumps.
My experience with this has been extremely interesting.
I can’t say these deformed characters were the result of multi-sowing or the organic seeds I had sown. However, these are the most interesting carrots I’ve ever grown. My onions sown with this method grew normally.
More on this multi-sowing method and Dowding in a future post. This post is about carrot cake.
I pulled the last of the carrots from the garden on December 14th, the day before temperatures were predicted to drop below -10 Celsius.
I’ve made this recipe several times, starting in 2017. I found the original on the Internet and tweaked it to my tastes. The original didn’t include raisins, but I love raisins.
I’ll be honest, when I look at carrot cake, nothing in my body says, “Oh. Lovely. That looks so delicious.”
Then I take a bite, and my taste buds ignite with excitement, and I love this cake.
In a sauce pan
melt 1 1/4 cup butter
In a small bowl, shred
enough carrots to make three cups – that’s about 4 carrots average size