Tag Archives: planting garlic

Garlic ‘seed’ saving


Possibly our only successful ‘seed’ saving this year, I’m spending tonight splitting some of our harvested garlic bulbs so that I can plant the cloves tomorrow for next year’s harvest. We had good intentions of saving other seeds, but limited time and prioritization means that it hasn’t happened yet. So many things to do! It’s a juggling and learning act, this whole ‘grow your own while working and socializing and accomplishing everything else you want to in life’. 

Despite not fulfilling most of our good seed saving intentions, it’s satisfying to look back at one of our earliest blog posts from last year, ‘Garlic! (and more fall planting)’ and know that exactly 13 months later, we’re planting garlic again – not from the nursery, but from our own harvest surplus. We’re getting a few things right :)

garlic! (and more fall planting)


I love garlic.  Love it, love it, LOVE it.  I’ve been talking about planting it here at the farm pretty much since day one of my arrival so I was pretty stoked to get down and dirty yesterday and get a lot of our bulbs cracked and planted.  We planted five different kinds of garlic and I wish I’d written down all of their names when we bought the bulbs because I can’t remember them now.  I know there was a ‘classic’ garlic, a red spanish one, a russian one, a ‘Legacy’… and I can’t remember the last one… oh well, maybe we’ll be able to identify them when harvest time comes around.

Garlic was my most successful crop when I grew it for the first time in my community garden plot in Ottawa.  Discovering how easy it was to grow it, dry it, and enjoy eating it for months afterwards made me wonder why everyone doesn’t use part of their yard/ garden to grow it.  If you don’t, you should!

If you’re interested in growing garlic, now’s the time to do it!  Plant in the fall and harvest the following summer.  This website has some great step-by-step recommendations on how to do it.  The short basics:  prep your soil, crack your garlic bulbs (break them apart and separate all the cloves), and plant each clove individually (pointy end up) about 2-3″ under the soil and about 6-8″ apart.  Keep your garden as weed free as possible and cover your beds with mulch for the winter if you want to.  Garlic has a long growing cycle – it begins taking root under the soil throughout the winter and starts showing it’s green shoots in the spring.  Harvest time isn’t until mid/ late summer when the green leaves are a few feet high and the scapes (thick green stem that grows up the centre) starts to curl.  (Mind you, I don’t know if that’s with every variety or only the ones I planted in Ottawa – we learn as we go! :).  The scapes can be cut off and minced up into delicious pesto and the bulbs can be pulled up out of the soil, ready to eat and dry.  Yummy!

We planted about 2/3rds of our garlic in the plot we rototilled and prepped that lives between the barn and the chicken coop.  We wanted to leave some room in there for other winter crops, so we’ll be finding somewhere else to plant the rest of the garlic.

I did mention ‘more fall planting’ in the title of this post and indeed we did do more than just plant garlic yesterday.  We also got our kiwi vines planted (yay!), our broad beans and some cabbage.  We’re hoping to get some onions, kale and beets in the ground before it’s too late as well.

Oh – and we attempted to prune our old, crabby apple tree.  We weren’t really sure exactly what we were doing, and it turns out we maybe should have waited a few more months to do it (recommended late winter or early spring), but hopefully our efforts will help the tree rather than harm it.

It was a great way to spend a beautiful fall, sunday morning.  Happy thanksgiving everyone!