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A little late

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

We planted garlic this weekend. A little late, but “a little late” has been the trend this summer.

The monsoons, which started right on time, are just now finishing up. (They usually end in late August or early September.)

Everything was late in the garden this year as well. Green beans in September, watermelons and tomatoes just coming ripe now. I hope that the first frost is late as well so that we can continue to harvest for a while.

The weather the last few weeks has been near perfect. Daytime temperatures have been very pleasant in the mid-80s, while the nights have been cool in the 50s. The sunsets have been nothing short of spectacular, and we have been enjoying fires in the evening and sleeping out under the star-filled skies.

Spring is here

Sunday, April 14th, 2019

It is warming up here, and everything is suddenly growing (despite a threat of snow last week which didn’t materialize).

Right now, we are eating lettuce, asparagus, and fava beans from the garden. We are enjoying the blooms of lavender, salvia, and penstemon. I have lots of starts in little pots in the house, and a few other things outside in the ground. I am trying to do a little bit in the garden every day (well, maybe every other day) so that we have a bountiful summer.

And we are taking lots of walks and enjoying the sun and warmth of spring.

Spring garden

Monday, May 28th, 2018

Here is the garden map so far this year.

We succeeded again in having lettuce growing all year round, and for the first time, we also had garlic throughout the year. We are still finishing last year’s crop as we harvested the first bed this year. The scapes were great this year, and we made a very delicious pesto and also pickled some.

The fencing has really worked out well, so we are trying a few favorites that we’d given up on in the past couple years like sweet potatoes.

And as the garden is getting more predictable, we are also growing some flowers.


SpargelFest and the fence

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

The asparagus is coming in well now, and so tonight we’re having a SpargelFest (something I didn’t even know was a thing until today; thanks, E). When I saw this recipe for asparagus and green garlic soup, I thought it was time to experiment with green garlic, which is really just baby spring garlic. Here’s what I pulled up. They smell so good!

And our fence is up! Yay! Attractiveness was a big consideration, since this is right in front of our living room mountain view, and I think it came out nice. (This picture only shows about half the length of the long side — it’s a big area.)

For the first time ever, my tomato seeds didn’t germinate, so I bought starts. It feels a bit like cheating but I have to say that the starts look healthier than mine from seed ever do. I prepared the bed for them today, though I probably won’t put them out for a couple weeks. I read that marigolds are a good companion plant and can help fight off tomato works and gnarly root nematodes, so I put some seeds in for those. With the fence, I’m feeling confident that the rabbits won’t eat them this year.


Farmers market today

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

Well, today we were the farmers market with no other vendors showing up for various reasons. Fortunately, we took our biggest selection of food yet:


There were somewhat fewer customers than usual but we still sold a lot. The ebb and flow of customers, as well as the variation of what they buy (sometimes I sell only wheat bread, sometimes only white; sometimes the sweet breakfast breads sell out quickly; other times I take some home), is still a mystery to me. We do have some seasonal residents here who leave for summer, and so it will be interesting to see if the numbers continue to be down. The number of vendors is also a factor.

Highlights for this week are that we took 8 big bags of greens to market this week (and even had a couple bags more to keep for ourselves) and that all the toum sold out. We offered samples of it, which were very popular. I’m thinking of more things like this that might fit into the little 5.5 oz. souffle cup containers we have. So far we’ve done pesto and toum, and pico de gallo is soon to come.

Things about the farmers market that make me happy: increasing access to good, healthy food here; spending a couple hours each week sitting under the shade of a big tree talking with nice people about food; having people ask me “who grew this?” or “who baked this?;” having people tell me their plans for what they’ve bought (a woman today bought some lemon cake and told me she was going to share it this evening with her husband for their anniversary); and giving away and/or taking home and eating whatever we don’t sell.



Monday, May 30th, 2016

We love the show “Splendid Table” (“the show for people who love to eat”…yeah, that’s us). Awhile back,they had a show on something called toum, a Lebanese garlic paste that was described as being light and fluffy like whipped egg whites. We knew we’d have to make it some time.

This week, we just harvested our garlic. And when we do that, there are always a few bulbs that get scuffed or something and need to be used sooner rather than later. Perfect opportunity!

While this toum sounded a little fussy to make, it wasn’t that hard. Only a few  ingredients: lots of garlic, canola oil, salt, lemon juice, and water. And the results — oh my, this stuff is amazing!

Toum can be used as a dip, for garlic bread, as a sandwich spread, in marinades or sauces, in eggs, or in soups, just to mention a few possibilities.

This will be for sale at this week’s farmers market. Very gourmet.


Garden update

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

Challenges with the rodents continue, but a seed library meeting on Friday motivated me to double down and work harder on the garden. This weekend I replanted a bed of greens and covered it more securely (I hope). I also planted cover crop in two beds that were hit hard with rodent tunnels last fall, deciding to try to enrich the soil and not worry about what eats the plants. (And if this goes well, I may sneak in a few edible plants as things grow up.) You’d think the animals would be happy eating this and not bother the other things, but it doesn’t seem to work that way.

We harvested our first few garlic as well. We only finished last year’s garlic about a month ago (and are finding store bought garlic to be quite inferior) so we are almost to the point of growing enough to last a whole year.


We are eating asparagus and strawberries from the garden, and the onions are looking very good.

I’m also realizing that the new greenhouse may be our best shot at food this summer. It was getting very hot in there last week (over 100 degrees, even when it was only in the 70s outside), so we made some adjustments — a new fan, shade cloth on the ceiling, and some nice new screen doors (thanks to the friend who originally had the greenhouse). It’s much better now.

I now have green beans, edamame, chard, radishes, and cucumbers growing in it. And just yesterday, lettuce germinated! (Yay…I didn’t know if the soil was cool enough.) Peppers and eggplants are also going in this week.

I am doing all this with the knowledge that this might not survive the hottest part of summer, but I am hopeful. Farming is indeed an act of faith.


Garden update

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

It’s been sunny and warm here in the days, which is motivating me to work on the garden. (Still in the 40s at night, and we had a frost last week that damaged the pomegranates though.)

Our garlic is looking better than ever this year.

DSC_2414 DSC_2411

The onions I put in a little over a month ago are doing well too.

This weekend, I planted lettuce, radishes, and green beans. The starts in the house (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant) are thriving as well. And we’re harvesting asparagus.


Big news here is that we are starting a small farmers market in Portal. I don’t know how it will go (I expect more demand than supply), but I am committed to selling weekly through the end of summer. It starts Fri., April 1, so stay tuned for more updates on that.

portal farmers market flyer

Rogue plants

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

This is the third or fourth year we’ve planted in most of our beds. As such, we often have odd rogue plants come up from previous year’s ungerminated seeds. I always hate to pull these up, and so our beds sometimes end up to be an odd mix of things.

Last year, we had several random garlics coming up all over, and so I transplanted them all into one “rogue garlic” bed. We’ve been harvesting our regular garlic this week and so I decided to dig up a few of the rogue ones to see how they were. The greens didn’t look very robust, but the garlics looks great. We will have a bigger store of garlic this year thanks to these.

Allium update 2013

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

Our garlic were harvested a month or so ago. Today I harvested the red shallots and tomorrow the grey shallots. It’s been a great year for all.


After a year of smaller than I hoped for garlic, I put a lot of effort and guess work into a crop of bigger garlic. I am pleased to report that this year’s crop was the biggest yet in total and individual garlic sizes. I embarrassed to say that this was entirely due to luck.

One of the two beds of garlic produced bulbs 3 to 4 times larger than the other bed. The only difference in the way the two beds were handled is that one got sprinkled every night starting in early May. Karen and I took a vacation and part of our preparation was to water the lettuce on a timer. The only way to do this was to put a sprinkler between the bed of lettuce and a bed of garlic. (In fact, I worried this might hurt the garlic crop.) It was so convenient that we left it on after our return. I guess garlic like a lot of water in the spring. There were shallots in that bed also and they too are larger than usual.

Our Purple Maiskij garlic crop came in at 16 pounds this year — double last year. We grew a couple of new kinds of garlic this year which may account for an additional couple of pounds.

Purple Maiskij

Purple Maiskij

16 pounds!

16 pounds!

The red shallots will need to dry before weighing. But it’s a lovely crop which we hope will last til winter. The grey shallots look good too, but are a lot of work to peel. :)

I am very pleased with this years crop and am already looking forward to next year.