Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Allium shortfall

I bought my first garlic bulb at the grocery store today since last August.  I know I didn't have a great crop last year, but it always pleased me to scoop garlic out of the jar knowing that it came from my own garden. It lasted from late August until just now.  That means if I want to provide all of our own garlic, I need to plant 30% more, and technically enough to plant for the following year as well.

Last August this was my garlic yield.  Tiny bulbs, but I didn't think it was terrible for a very cold summer.  What do I have to compare it with really?  Garlic is new to me.

How do most people store garlic for winter use?  I figured my bulbs were way too tiny to properly dry and braid, so I chose another method that I've now read is apparently a health hazard.  Oops.  None of us have died yet, and I won't promise not to do it again because it was really nice to have everything pre-diced.  I'm just not recommending the method to anyone else.  Don't do what I do.  This is not a teaching blog.  It's just me babbling.

Did you know that bulk garlic will make you cry just like onions do?  Now you know, so maybe this is a teaching blog after all. 

Or not.

So this is what I did that you should not do.  I chopped it all up, covered it with olive oil,and put it in the fridge.   

This is my garlic today, planted last fall.  It's healthily poking up throught the thick layer of leaf mulch which I stole from my neighbours.   

I won't be self-sufficient this year either, but I'm hoping for garlic scapes as a first harvest during the early summer. I'd love to try cooking with them. I didn't get any last year so I must have misunderstood the type I needed to plant.

And this is another allium (maybe shallots?) that I planted last year and forgot to harvest. 

I didn't even have this row of shallots marked on my garden plan last year, so I don't know exactly what happened there.  In any case, they don't seem to have suffered for their winter in the leaves.  Last week I also found a perfect little onion in my flower bed as I searched for emerging tulips.  I fried it up for supper and it seemed to have improved after it's months of freezing temperatures.   There appears to be a flaw in my gardening records. 

I'm going to try planting in rows a bit this year and maybe this sort of thing won't happen quite so much.  Last summer I attempted to companion-plant a bit, surrounding cabbages and brocolli with onions because onions are supposed to deter cabbage moths.  I still got a lot of cabbage moths (and caterpillers), and finding the onions was like a failed treasure hunt. 

I'll just think of the random onions now as bonus groceries rather than a failed experiment.  

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