Garlic, Unchained

Today was insane. It was gorgeous. It was like the entire world was as excited that March is over as we were. Look! The daffodils along the side of our house just busted out today:


Even though we know that it’s technically not garden season quite yet (you’re supposed to go by the last frost, which is conventionally thought of as April 15 in these parts), we couldn’t resist. It was time to have something going for reals in Maple Hoo’s vegetable beds. We turned our attention to the garlic.


Since it’s a bulb, garlic should be planted in the fall, and we made it cozy and warm under a thick blanket of straw for the winter. Because we have a rampant squirrel problem, we decided to discourage all vermin from digging up the garlic by covering the whole thing up with chicken wire. As the weather’s been warming up, and the aforementioned daffodils and their bulby brethren have been sprouting, so too is the garlic. And our tiny babies are starting to chafe in their little wire prison.


Our task today, on a warm, humid evening, was to take off the caging and remove the straw, which was all delightfully soaked after a couple of rainy days. We were gobsmacked to see what lay beneath:


It looks like every single bulb of garlic that we planted has sprouted. This is an astonishing success rate for us; for all that we talk a big game, we are really amateurish gardeners. Our approach is pretty much to toss shit in the ground and see what grows. So we’re stunned that underneath all that straw… everything was growing.


There’s plenty of time for all kinds of things to go wrong, and plenty of time for squirrels to ruin our lives, but for right now, we feel Springishly flush with success. And now we have something to watch every day when we walk past the garden, which is, ultimately, what the fun of this whole venture is.



Filed under 4. April, Garden

5 responses to “Garlic, Unchained


    Ohhhhh, I am so jealous….

    You should see me at the store, sifting through the garlic bin trying to find good ones.

  2. I hate buying garlic at the store. My grocery store has unusually lousy produce, and the garlic is always way past its prime; I’m right there like you, listlessly poking around the garlic bin and not finding anything good.

    I would never have thought to grow garlic, but we got a few heads of it from our farm share the first few years we were members, and it was amazing. So when we bought this house we put some garlic in a bed in the ground next to our garage. Of course, the soil in the actual ground is basically just clay around here, so we didn’t have a very successful crop. Last summer we finally put some in raised veggie beds, and had a bumper crop. It was also a great summer for garlic at our membership farm, so I was still using homegrown or farmgrown garlic well into December. It was so depressing having to go back to buying from the grocery store.

    I anticipate getting to start harvesting this stuff probably in July (although I might be making that up). I can’t wait!!!

  3. Iain

    The garlic from the farm shop at the top of my road is not bad (their more “native” veggies are awesome, though) – but every year, my mum & dad drive to France on holiday, and every year I have a bag o’ goodies brought back for me – including some *proper* garlic. The difference between “ok” and “great” is astounding.

    Here’s hoping yours is as great as it looks!

  4. The difference between “ok” and “great” is astounding.

    It really is! Do you ever get garlic scapes, Iain? They’re the best part of garlic (and the real reason we started growing our own, although now the bulbs themselves have proven to be more important in the long run).

    Speaking of veggies that are astoundingly better when they’re “great” instead of “ok” — our potato crop arrived today! We’re going to be planting them this weekend and then in a mere four months we’ll be chowing down (Garden Gods allowing) on the best potatoes the world has even known!

  5. The difference between “ok” and “great” is astounding.

    It really is! I would have had no idea if my farm share hadn’t included some. I had no idea what I was missing before! (That’s so awesome of your parents to go garlic shopping for you in France. I need to talk Boomer into doing that…)

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