In the Garden: Growing Garlic

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

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In the Garden: Goals for 2021

In January, I set goals for the coming growing season in the garden. While I can’t dig in the frozen soil, I can plan what I’ll grow to become more self-sufficient.

Last year, my goal was to grow a year’s supply of herbs to use in my cooking. That was accomplished. In fact, I have more variety than I usually do. The herbs I grew, harvested and dried were rosemary, basil (green and purple), thyme, sage, summer savory and parsley (straight and curly)

I also grew and dried peppermint and lemon balm to use as a tea mix. Opening that bottle of peppermint and taking a deep breath, it smells like After Eight mints. Mmm.

2021 Garden Goals

This summer, I want to repeat my success and grow all the herbs I use in cooking. To this, I’m adding sweet marjoram and dill.

parsley, sage and thyme

An added goal is to grow several plants I can harvest and dry to make tea that will supply me for one year. This means I’ll grow and harvest more peppermint and lemon balm. To this list, I’ll add stevia (a natural sweetener), German chamomile, stinging nettle and fennel. I’ll also harvest some of the lavender flowers and raspberry leaves from the many plants I have.

While I’ll grow the foods I grew last summer, one specific goal is to grow 80 pounds of potatoes. Last year, I grew about 40 pounds. Yesterday, I ate the last of the potatoes grown in 2020. They still tasted great, even when eaten raw.

So far, I’ve already sown rosemary, an herb that take a long time to grow. By the time I’m ready to plant it outside, it should be about three inches tall. I’m experimenting with keeping last year’s plants alive in our cold winter, so hopefully, I’ll start the summer with a few mature plants already in the garden as well as new ones.

Happy gardening.