Garlic Self Sufficiency

Seed Garlic

As a family last year we ate approximately 70 heads of garlic!  I personally grew 30 of those 70 heads.  In my small space garden could I have found the space to grow all our garlic including my seed garlic thus becomimg garlic self sufficient?  Is a long in the ground crop like garlic really the best use of space in a small garden?  Last year’s garlic occupied about a 4’x4’ bed and didn’t seem to like being under planted or companion planted, previous years solo growing garlic produced significantly bigger heads.  Being  space restricted I have to weigh up weather devoting roughly 10% of my food growing area for pretty much the entire growing season was a worthy  trade off for a small piece of the self sufficiency pie? But there is more to my equation, I am a lazy gardener, the idea of sticking a bunch of cloves in the ground dumping some fertilizer on them around valentine’s day and (maybe) weeding occasionally  sounds like my kind of crop! The fact is I don’t have the garden space or the spare time to grow all my own food, so there will always be tradeoffs of what I can and can’t grow. Realistically this year I did have some precious dirt that went un planted because I was not disciplined about successive planting, right now I am looking out my living room window at the vacant radish patch, that I was once again too lazy to get out there in the rain and successive plant. Perhaps this is not that much of a trade off at all? If I counted up all the unplanted spaces designated for short in the ground successive crops, that technically I could get more food out of, than long in the ground garlic, but don’t because I don’t get out there and plant, does that outweigh the “space cost” of the long growing period for garlic?  All things considered the answer is “yes” I am giving up the 40 square feet and giving the garlic self sufficiency project a green light.  This year instead of allotting a traditional “bed” to the garlic I am planting it in what I hope is going to be a long dramatic band at the back of the garden. Garlic is suppose to be beneficial to a lot of other food plants, so its going to weave in between a series of “beds” as a back drop to the spring annual vegetables. What I am hoping for is to see the tall structural garlic stalks and eventually the twirly snaky garlic scapes rising above a sea of mixed greens, lettuce, carrots and beets.  Before I grew garlic for the first time, I read all kinds of horror stories on the internet about how difficult it is to grow at home garlic, in my personal experience and I am no garden guru, I just stuck it in the ground and it did its thing!  Perhaps it’s that our west coast climate is very good for garlic? Maybe it likes my sandy soil? Or maybe I just got lucky!  I really don’t know but my garlic seemed to work out just nicely and I didn’t do anything special just followed the directions on the package.  We’ll see what happens this year! And hopefully next year I will be planting my own seed garlic!

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4 Responses to Garlic Self Sufficiency

  1. Fionna says:

    Loving your blog and thanks for sharing your experience with growing food in Vancouver. Quick question – which garlic type/name are you planting?

  2. Pingback: Harvesting Garlic-The Garlic Self Sufficiency Project Continued… | My Little City Food Garden

  3. Pingback: Happy Fall! | My Little City Food Garden

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