Our garlic harvest

My version of simple life has never been a big picture scenario, it's always been a series of small steps that change with the seasons. I don't think the majority of us think of the big picture on a day-to-day basis, instead we have tasks to carry out, we put one foot in front of the other and by doing that all our activities start creating a simple life and a sustainable future.



One of our recent activities was harvesting the garlic. The variety we grow here is called Glen Large, it's suitable for warmer areas. We plant in early March, harvest in August-September and then try to keep that garlic going for the whole year. We don't eat garlic every day but when I do cook with it, I want it to be from my own backyard. Onions are more prevalent in my cooking. We eat onions every day - cooked or raw. Sadly, we can't grow onions here but I do have Welsh onions growing, although they're more like chives, and next March I'll be planting out some walking onions which are more like shallots. So even though garlic isn't eaten here every day, it's an important crop for us.




The bulbs were small this year but still delicious. We've not had our usual rainfall for a few years now so some plants suffered as a result. 

Two weeks ago we pulled up 97 garlic heads. I spent an hour or so wiping soil and old leaves off,  clipping off long roots, cleaning them as much as possible without disturbing the garlic too much, then I strung them up and now they're hanging in the shade of the back verandah, drying out.  In the next week or two I'll take them down, clean the properly, cut the roots right back, cut the stem and leaves right off and store them for later use.  I'll use half for cooking and half for planting our next crop in March.

Is garlic one of your crops too?

32 comments

  1. Your garlic looks wonderful! I love garlic though I have not had much success growing it yet. My bulbs have been very small. I tuned into one of Morg Gamble's fantastic online permaculture classes recently and she was talking about a kind of garlic chives as milder use in salads etc which really appealed to me, and it still having the same health properties of bulb garlic which was interesting. We are hoping to move further north to the sub-tropics to a farm over the Christmas holidays if all goes well and one of the things I'm most I'm looking forward to learning about the differences in gardening styles. Moving from a annual rainfall of 400ml/yr to over 1300ml/yr will mean a steep learning curve regarding gardening and plant varieties I'm able to grow - I'm hoping bananas, the boys are hoping mangoes! xx

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    1. Hi Emma, I grow society garlic which is probably the garlic chives Morag was talking about. Your Christmas plans sound exciting.

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    2. Ah yep Rhonda. Society garlic is what I had in mind. I’ll have to plant it as some boarders at the next place.
      Xx

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  2. I'm growing garlic for the first time. I can't eat/touch any onions (chives, leeks, spring onions - I'm also allergic to some flower bulbs!) so garlic is the only "oniony" taste we can use.
    I'm growing my "crops" in cold climate in Northern Europe, so I'm growing Russian variety "Alexandra" - but as I said, this is the first time ever. I used leaves as chives in the spring/early summer, and now I have sampled one garlic; it was smallish but tasted just right. I had some garlic cloves from southern variety, but they don't grow very well, the grow only one big ball-like glove - althought it tastes just as right.
    I have limited storage for my crops, so I can't grow big crops - but I'm satisfied that i can eat two months straight from my veg plot and no need to shop vegetables at all.

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  3. I've just moved into a home with my own garden for the very first time. I have grown a few bits this year but next year i will get a full growing season and garlic is definately on the list i can't wait!

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  4. We didn't grow garlic this year, but perhaps next year when we expand the garden, as I use garlic in almost everything we eat for dinner. My neighbor grows onions and those do well, so I should plant some of those too. :) Your garlic looks great!

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  5. We grew garlic, but I am not satisfied with the crop, very small bulbs though tasty. Ill try again this fall. Gardening is 'hope eternal and the belief in tomorrow!"

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  6. I've not tried growing garlic here. I love the flavor of it, but DH is not too keen on it, so I season lightly. I do use onions a lot, so maybe next year I will give that a go.

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  7. The garlic looks great!
    Where did you source the walking onions from? I have grown them in the UK but haven't been able to find any since I have been back in SE Qld.
    Thanks, L A

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    1. I'm on the list at Green Harvest. They'll be available in March next year.

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  8. Your garlic looks wonderful, Rhonda. I grew it here in California one year. I was very pleased with the crop. I planted it with my roses. They are supposed to be companion plants. Maybe I will grow it again this year. I eat it every day in salad. It has so many health benefits.

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  9. I have had next to no success with garlic so I grow society garlic (like chives) instead. This grows well in Brisbane. Meg ☺

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  10. Goodmorning Rhonda,
    I will definitely be giving growing garlic a whirl when my new raised garden beds are up and running, I am so looking forward to growing a lot of herbs and veg with a couple of fruit trees as well. Thanks for the info on growing garlic.
    Fi

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  11. I'm growing garlic this year for the first time in years. We grew a lot of garlic of many different varieties when we lived on the farm. Now I have a small garden with raised beds and will grow a small quantity for myself. I'm really looking forward to it and hope it does well!

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  12. Wow a really nice early garlic harvest! Down here in Vic ours will only get ready when it starts warming up - November kind of thing. Great post, thanks Rhonda.

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  13. I grew garlic for the first time this year (planted last fall). I had about a dozen plants and I'm very happy with the results. I'm planning to use a bulb or two for replanting this fall and also have bought some more cloves from Rare Seeds here in the US. ~ Elaine

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  14. Though I am surprised at the number of people that plant and yet do not mention watering the garden. I do unless we have a particular pattern of rain over the summer. I have garlic that I plant in the fall and it grows for harvest about now. I have some I missed in earlier years and it grows well all on it own lol. I use Onion and garlic often together, much prefer the garlic taste anyway. Both are healthy. Thanks for sharing you life with us.

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  15. I find that I have to plant sets by first frost to get a long growing season. I always buy new garlic bulbs - I pick the biggest and best I can find at the market, and this usually succeeds very well.

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  16. We use a lot of garlic and grow it with varying success, all tastes wonderful regardless of size or whether it divides into cloves or not and I've not had to buy garlic at all for a couple of years now. We store it as you do and keep some to replant but when our eating garlic starts to shoot i pop it in the processor with some oil and then into the freezer and just remove a teaspoon or whatever I need. As long as it remains frozen it keeps very well but if it does accidentally thaw for any reason it must be discarded. Kate (Tassie) x

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  17. I planted garlic for the first time this year. I would have had more as i pulled alot out when i was about to move house then it turned out i wasnt moving, but still a few bulbs in for a christmas harvest

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  18. I have planted around 30 cloves that are sending out nice shoots. In a raised garden bed for the first time. I've previously planted in pots. Last years potted bulbs were really small and I didn't get many. I must have missed digging up a few though as those pots have long strappy leaves in them now.
    I haven't watered as we have had a fair bit of rain on and off here in Melbourne.
    Claire in Melbourne

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  19. We are in severe drought here at the moment so our garden is all but gone. The dry and the winter frost make it very hard to have winter crops. I am hoping that we get some much needed rain (predicted tomorrow please God)Lovely to see your healthy garden and home grown garlic is the best. I haven't visited not written any blogs for several years...Maybe its time to reconnect. :-) X

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  20. Your garlic looks great Rhonda. We grow it here in SA - I used to plant a minimum of 52 cloves with the idea that I would be able to harvest enough to use one plant per week. This took up a fair bit of room, so now I plant fewer cloves at a time, but over a three month period, as space becomes available from harvesting my summer crops. Seems to work well in our neck of the woods

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  21. Oh, Rhonda. I can smell that garlic from here. I have not seen pink garlic before. I did not plant garlic this year but put up 28 half pints of crab apple jelly. Today I will start working on 30 pounds of apples for apple butter. But, oh, that garlic!

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  22. I've planted garlic here in PA. for the past 30 years with no problems. I plant in late September and harvest around the fourth of July. I plant elephant garlic which is actually in the leek family and regular garlic that someone at work gave me, unsure what variety

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  23. Rhonda,What a great crop of garlic, We haven't tried growing garlic, the planting time seems to zoom past me each year but we should give it a go next year. It's been a colder Winter this year so it might be the same next year which will help I think. Pauline

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  24. We've tried to grow garlic this year but I don't know what went wrong...there was only some sort of garlic smelling spring onion when we took it out of the soil so we'll try it next year again!! Maybe after looking for a garlic planting tutorial first 😊 and thank you for your answer on my questions on your post "I want to die happy" you help me keep my feet on the ground and oohhhw how much I need that once in a while!!!

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  25. I have heard people scoff at 'walking onions' as inferior but I would disagree. They provide me with green onions for many months of the year and I dry them (just before they throw their seed heads) for winter use. It is important to allow some of them to go to seed as you will have them forever if you do. If you leave some 'mother' plants in place they will produce larger and larger bulbs as the years go by. Probably one of my favourite perennials. My garlic grows smallish but still pungent; I do not fertilize except for compost. lepidilla

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  26. Hi Rhonda. Lovely garlic crop congratulations!!
    We live a bit North of you and would like to try the Glen Large. Would you please tell me where you got your cloves to grow in the first instance.
    We have tried just growing the supermarket cloves with little luck.
    Thank you for your lovely blog I am a long time reader and your books sit beside my arm chair for a little read most weeks.
    Ronda :)

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    1. Hi Ronda. We buy our Glen Large garlic at Green Harvest which is just up the road at Witta. http://greenharvest.com.au/Plants/GarlicToKrachai.html

      Garlic is a seasonal crop so put yourself on the email reminder they have at Green Harvest and when the new season garlic is ready for sale, they'll send you a reminder to order it.

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  27. Ten years ago I bought some organic garlic from a high end grocery store. I took apart the cloves and planted them that year. Since then, I have been growing up to 80 heads a year from that one plant and saving part of each crop to replant. I am in Northern California, USA and they do very well each time. I put them into a raised bed in Oct. and harvest in June. They keep me supplied until about March the following year as we eat several cloves a day. Only tried onions a couple of times - it is pretty warm here - but giving it another go this year! Thanks for all the encouragement. I love not having to buy garlic for the past 10 years!

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  28. Yes, I've been growing garlic for many years. Here we plant in October and harvest in July. I do it just like you do.

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