Friday, May 25, 2012

Garlic (and onions) have entered the building!

I have been dreaming of home grown garlic for a long time. But for one reason or another, we've just never grown it. Last year I decided that enough was enough and it was time for our own garlic bed. So I ordered a few different garlic heads to try. You can actually use the cloves that you find at the grocery store. They can be planted and grown just fine at home. But I wanted to try a couple of different varieties. So I ordered 4 large heads from Territorial last spring: Spanish Roja, Siberian, Sevilla Sunset and Music. When one plants garlic, it's desirable to plant in the fall, allow the heads to over winter in the garlic bed then harvest the next season. It just takes garlic awhile to get going. Warm weather speeds growth and cool weather slows growth but the cloves do continue to grow, just at a slower pace. But here at my house, we have a horrible problem with voles. Last year they ate almost my whole potato harvest and lots of other veggies. Well, that can't happen to my a matter of fact, this really can't happen anymore at all. We just cannot loose valuable food to rodents. Someday, we might completely have to depend on the garden to feed us so I have to figure out a way to combat these voracious eaters now. So after a little research, I decided to plant the garlic as early as possible in the spring and harvest as late as possible in the fall just so that the voles don't have a huge garlic eating festival under the snow all winter long. (Successful garlic an be grown this way but the heads aren't nearly as big as if they were over wintered.) But my beloved husband, understanding my plight and feeling a little sorry for me and becoming pretty tired of hearing me belly ache about the (stinking) voles, built these raised beds and (tu dum) my problem was solved! No more voles in the root least not the least I hope. Since my initial plan was to plant in the spring and harvest in the fall, I had already started the bulbs inside under lights to give them a jump on the season. I had over 50 cloves so it took some time to replant all these guys, but now they are safely tucked into the ground to grow and get fat and make garlic magic.

Good help is hard to find.
Thank goodness for the red puppy. Her recommendations are indispensable.

We also have a keenness for onions. I usually purchase a 50# bag of storage onions in the fall before the local fruit stand closes for the season and it is often empty by March. So this year we planted our own in the bed with the garlic. We have Walla Wallas, an un-named red variety and two flats of yellow storage onions. (Onion seeds are a little hard to find unless they are ordered. Of course, I didn't remember to order onion seeds when I placed my order this last fall so I had to buy most of these as starts. But I did find a packet of "bunching" onion seeds.  They came up pretty vigorously under lights in the basement so I'm not sure what to expect. I just planted them along side the other onionlings. I guess we'll see how they turn out.)

 No self respecting vole would come close to this bed of loved globes. They don't look like much now.....actually, the onions and garlic look pretty pathetic, but give them a little sunshine and a little rain and watch them grow! Mmmmm. I can smell (my breath) them now! Yum!

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