Sunday, July 18, 2010

how much is enough garlic?

I've heard an infestation of vampires is sweeping the world...

At this stage the garden and herbs are in 'holding pattern', barely coping with our winter cropping. Which as I am fairly busy (gee what else is new) editing etc. is just as well. I did however plant the new purple garlic, and the kindly birds grubbed it all up(as la Duchesse is dealing the mice and rats in the veg and garden I think it was the birds - none of the cats have ever been much interested in birds. Works for me, as far as I can work out the mice and rats around the house are introduced.) Which rather brings me to my next question. I really have to start thinking a little longer term, preparing and planting for summer. This is the first time I've lived where garlic co-operates. So how many plants am I looking at? Yes, we eat at least one fat clove a day, averaging it out, as an expensive necessity for cooking. Some things we use rather a lot more, and I suspect the amount would just increase until there were none that could stand us, unless we were down-wind. But as I have no idea on the success of the plants, and the level of predation... guessing is hard. After the great corgette (AKA Zucchini) glut I do realise overkill is possible :-) Barely with garlic though... it's just how much of the garden to devote to it. We're going to have to expand it, I think. I was wondering about converting old truck tyres into raised beds.

I did roo meat-balls (which I minced myself), broccoli side shoots and pasta with a reduced tomato and garlic sauce for supper. It was very good - although the fat content really probably needs adding to - flavour excellent though (better than Eland and similar to but more beef-like than Impala) I've got one of those old hand mincers and really it took about 4 minutes - and I knew EXACTLY what got minced.


  1. One clove a day... wimp. But figure you get about 10 per plant so it sounds like you need 37 garlic plants. Round it up to 40 just in case and add a few more for predation.

    If you end up with too much pickle the excess for next year

  2. (chuckle) that's more a result of garlic being hugely expensive fresh (and I don't like preserved) than capacity

  3. Well, it's a perennial that if undisturbed for a while makes thick clumps of maybe 10 plants (but fewer cloves per plant). Big enough then that I don't think predation's a problem. So off to the side where you don't till it up -- a dozen or so that you dig and three or four that you don't touch for a couple of years till they have a really good start, maybe.

    I've actually never seen a predated garlic. Onions eaten to the ground by grasshoppers, yes, but never anything done to garlic.

  4. Lots of meat and not a cow in the lot. What fun!

  5. The one thing that consistently grows fantastically at Mammoth Manor is Garlic. Sitting next to me at my desk are a handful of garlic cloves about 1 1/2 time the size of golf balls. I have several sheaves of garlic cloves of the regular size drying right now.

    They are of the porcelain type and have been with me at various houses for years.

    Here's the secret to easy growing. Propagate from the bulbils. Plant in fall your first crop. Sometime in the spring they will begin to send up shoots. Those will develop flowers. Before the scapes flower cut half of them off. This are great cooked themselves. The plants you cut the flower off will make big bulbs. The ones that flower will eventually make little garlics called bulbils. These are tasty also, but they are also your seed crop. harvest them and the garlic when the stalks brown off.

    Depending on local conditions you can either scatter the bulbils in your growing area and cover with a thin layer of hay or mown grass, Or you can continue to dry them and then plant them in the fall. At this point cover with nice mulch.

    This works with the hardneck variety of garlic otherwise you will have to save cloves to plant.
    Our patch gets bigger every year and as Chris can never have too much garlic!

  6. AbigalM - the local mice - like moi - must have italian tastes. They nibbled the new cloves. I've planted them along various edges so hope it works :-)

  7. Quilly -shall try that. Tell me - the really big cloves - flavour?

  8. Really good, not as "hot" as the small ones, but richer. They really work well when roasted. Which is I put olive oil on them and wrap them in foil. The big one deposit a really nice blob of yumminess on your bread.

    If you are using a soft neck variety you really have to cut the flowers off and then select the biggest bulbs for your seed crop. This is natural selection on steroids. The biggest bulbs are the ones that most truly like your conditions. (true also for hardnecks). Several years and your entire crop will be of a variety that most enjoy your condition.

    Some people say that if you are first establishing a garlic patch that you should use the "selecting the biggest clove" method regardless of variety. And it makes sense...bigger is better in that it makes the best use of nutrients supplied.

    And as long as you stay in the same neighborhood, which pretty much is Flinders, then your efforts to establish a strain that is Flinderish Freer will not be wasted. Buying new seed crop every year will never produce the yield, in the end, that propagating a local cultivar will. And it's _way_ harder!

  9. Too much garlic is misreading the recipe and seeing "bulb" instead of "clove" when the recipe says 4 cloves.

    Apparently that did not turn out well, but I missed it so survived. :)

  10. Well, once your garlic clump gets like this, looming behind my much-to-thickly-planted lettuce and radishes, I think it will be beyond any mouse capacity! Granted, this has been there for maybe 15 years, but it has been unchanged in appearance for most of them. Then again, I don't eat that much garlic

  11. I love the fact that Pick 'n Pay here sells kudu steak for the same price as beef.