Field Trip: Planting Garlic

So we planted our garlic a couple weeks ago. It’s quite exciting putting your first real crop into the ground. It’s going to teach us patience since we have to wait all winter until we see any action, and then again until late summer until we can harvest. The world we live in, in which you can buy 5 heads of garlic for $1 that was grown and shipped from China, makes it hard to see what actually goes into growing a bulb of garlic.

We planted our garlic at the Senko Farm. Jesse’s dad tilled the ground for us and the kids had fun helping with the planting. We broke the bulbs up into individual cloves and planted eight different varieties, in just over 2 rows that were about 70 feet long. If all goes as planned, which, knowing nature it probably won’t, we should have around 200 full bulbs of garlic this time next year. The great thing about planting garlic is that this year was an investment. We had to buy the cloves to plant, but next year, since we planted a lot we should have more than enough to eat and share with friends as well as have enough to break up and plant for the following year’s crop.

Our plan with the garlic isn’t to become farmers and sell garlic. At least not yet! With a bit of generosity from Jesse’s parents, we’re planning a larger garden at the farm that can sustain us from next summer right through until the following summer. The plans call for building a real, old-school root cellar that can store a winter’s worth of food. There’ll be a lot of preparation next year, but it’ll be a motivating goal to meet.

The nice bit about this is knowing exactly where the bulk of our food is going to come from. And it’ll be about as local as it can get. We’re pretty excited. Although the steps seem small, and sometimes insignificant, we are slowly learning and working our way toward a more self-sufficient life.

We didn’t really go too deep into garlic in this post, since we went pretty deep in an earlier post when we bought the seed garlic. If you haven’t read it, or need a refresher, find it here.


  • My garlic is at a stage where the “fleur de l'ail” as it is called in French s beginning to form. I think the English equivalent is “garlic scapes”. As you are in a warmer part of Canada, your garlic is probably further advanced. Can you suggest some uses for it? I heard that they must be removed at some point to give the bulb its last boost of growing.

    Cheers! Roger

  • I am going to be posting about our garlic scapes soon, we just picked a pile of them.

    Here are a few ways that we use them

    -chop them in a salad
    -grill them with other vegetables
    -grind them up in a mortar and pestle and add some olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a tasty bread dipper, or salad dressing!
    -put them in a food processor and freeze them for use throughout the year!

    Hope this inspires some ideas


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