GARLIC & SHALLOTS
Both garlic & shallots have been grown here, sometimes more successfully than others. As of 2020 I’m getting the hang of it better. The first year I planted more garlic than I could use before the bulbs began to sprout. As of this writing (Dec. 2020) I’m now using more garlic, and wishing I’d grown more this year. I’ve already planted my garlic for 2021, which will be no more than the last! I’ll have to wait until 2022 for the next chance at perfection. I’ve begun planning way ahead which bed will be used for garlic the following year, so one of the beds will be emptied and ready for the garlic by the time I need to plant early to mid-September.
MAIN CROP GARLIC
2017-18: The first garlic & shallots were planted the fall of 2017 for the 2018 summer season. I ordered a combo pack from Peaceful Valley, with Early California, Red Russian, Music & Elephant garlic, along with some French shallots. The garlic did well and by mid-August I could have harvested it. However, I was a bit slow to do so, then I broke my hip and was out of the garden for a while. Tim harvested the garlic in mid-September. Most of it was still good, but some had obviously been in the ground too long. The outer edges had no papery skin and was unusable–I was able to cut it off and use most of those outer cloves. The elephant garlic did very well and stored well for an amazing amount of time. All in all, there was more garlic than I could use before it began to sprout in storage.
2018-19: In the fall of 2018 I planted some of the garlic I’d harvested that year. I wanted to save most of the garlic I had for eating, and didn’t plant a lot, but wanted to know how well the garlic would do if planted shortly after harvesting it. I should have done some reading on it. None of it grew. I need to research this–I wonder if it needs to be cured for some amount of time before planting??
2019-20: I ordered Siberian Garlic from Territorial Seed and Elephant Garlic from Peaceful Valley. These were planted October 7 & 9, respectively, each the day after receiving these orders. The tips sent along with the Peaceful Valley order suggested that garlic should be planted at least 2 weeks before the first frost. That would be about September 1, but yet, they don’t send it until later in September-October. At any rate, I’d planted in October in 2017 and it did fine that year.
The Siberian garlic did well. Out of 33 cloves planted, I harvested 16 very nice bulbs and 5 additional small ones.
NONE of the Elephant Garlic survived the winter. Since I had grown it successfully using the same planting methods and timing in 2017, my assumption is that THIS WINTER was just too cold. The description for the Elephant Garlic is that it “grows best where winters are not too severe.” I suppose I was just lucky that first year. I was quite disappointed that I wasted the $ and bed space only to have it turn to mush in the soil.
2020-21: This year I’ve ordered and planted garlic from Great Northern Garlic. I selected Metechi and Susan Delafield varieties. It arrived 9/9, the day it snowed. I was pleased with the quality and shipping timeframe. It warmed up nicely after the snow melted, and I planted it 9/19. Twenty-six cloves were planted in prepared soil and topped with mulch for the winter.
I would have liked to try Elephant Garlic again, but not knowing ahead of time whether the winter will be a cold or a mild one I didn’t want to spend the money on it. It is a bit pricey to order online.
2017/18: I received French shallot bulbs with my garlic combination (see above) and planted them in the fall. These shallots did well and added to my culinary inventions after harvest. They stored well, and I would like to have more in the future.
For 2020 I started some Ambition F1 Shallot seeds in the summer of 2019 along with some onions I’d hoped would overwinter. They died over our harsh winter along with the onions. I started just a few of those seeds (5/8/20) to see how they would do. Three of these seedlings grew a bit, but were destroyed by pack rats or mice and did not survive.
Perhaps 2021 will be a better year to start some of these seeds well ahead of time in soil blocks, to transplant outdoors in the spring.