My Love Affair With Garlic(2)

| 8/9/2010 6:33:42 AM

Tags: garlic, organic, gardening Cam Mather,

At Sunflower Farm, we grow garlic. Lots of it! We harvested about 4,000 heads this year and it looks amazing. We’ve given tours of our place to a couple of different people in the last few weeks and both of our visitors admitted that their garlic wasn’t very good this year. I made a few suggestions of things that might have gone wrong, but my garlic has grown so well for so many years I just take it for granted that its easy to grow.

Lots of garlic!

It wasn’t always this way. When I first attempted to grow garlic I kept planting it in the spring and wondered why I wasn’t ending up with very large heads. Once I finally realized that I needed to plant it in the fall, the garlic world changed for me. Planting a crop in October and November is always counter intuitive to me because usually that’s when we are harvesting crops. The weather can be pretty cold and miserable for planting, especially when you plant in the volume that we do. I try to pick a nice day or two for planting my garlic, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

Garlic is insanely time consuming to grow and process to the point of being a stupid way to try and make money. But try we do. After we plant it in the fall it starts growing and then slows down once the ground freezes. I’m always happy when we have a good blanket of snow covering it to protect it from the cold of winter. The garlic is always the first green thing in the garden and often pokes up through the last remnants of snow. Throughout the spring we need to constantly weed and water it. Then in June the garlic plant sends up a scape which is a large seed head. We cut these scapes off since we want all the energy to go into the bulb. The scapes are at just the right height so that you have to bend over ever so slightly to cut them, so the job of scape cutting is always hard on our backs. I do a lot of stretching in between rows.

Cutting Scapes

Close Up of The Scape

Marilyn Williams
10/18/2013 6:04:12 PM

I am growing my very first crop of garlic this season. I read time and time again about cutting the scapes but I have never found anything about how far down to cut them. Do I just cut a few inches down? Or do I cut at the ground level? Any advice will be greatly appreciated as I expect scapes will be appearing soon. P.s. I'm in Victoria Australia

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