Friday, January 22, 2021

Getting garlic in the ground

We're at that awkward juncture where we don't yet have a garden laid out here at our new house, but there are some things that must be planted to thrive. Specifically, garlic.

Garlic, as you know, must be planted in the fall (at least in northern areas) so it can overwinter in the ground and produce strongly in the spring. One year I planted it in the spring and had a dismal harvest. Planting in the fall produces amazing abundance.

In the chaos of moving out of our last home, I ran out of time to plant garlic. The new woman of the house is an avid gardener the tire garden was one of the attractions of the place for her so I left her 150 cloves of garlic so she could get them planted at her convenience. I also took with me one and a half heads of the garlic I've cultivated for so many years, so I could plant it in our new home.

Even though it's now halfway through January, I knew I could still plant it at least for propagation purposes. Except, I had no where it could go. I thought about just planting it in gallon-sized pots, but even those are still stashed in the barn at our old place.

But in front of our house, incongruously, is a water tank half-filled with dirt and topped with wood chips.

Don suggested I plant the garlic in here, which seemed as good a place as any.

From the head-and-a-half...

...I got 14 cloves.

Using a butter knife, I levered these into the dirt beneath the wood chips.

And there you have it, the extent of my gardening endeavors so far in our new home. Of course, whatever grows will be used solely for planting again next fall, as I rebuild our inventory of seed garlic.

After all, it's not like we're short of canned garlic in this house.

And a sentimental part of me is glad to have a connection with my old garden I spent so many years cultivating.


  1. Good on you, Patrice. Garlic is, at least in my gardening experience, my greatest friend. I have failed to successfully produce other things, but garlic has never failed me.

  2. Can it in water for 25 minutes (pints) at 12 lbs. pressure, or whatever pressure is necessary for your elevation. For a more detailed step-by-step guide, see this post from a few years ago:

    - Patrice

  3. I am pleased to hear that the new owners liked the tire garden. I thought that the whole system that you had devised was just inspired!

  4. Thanks for reminding me I need to plant garlic.

  5. I think the Mrs and I use that amount of garlic in six months. I need to plant more.

  6. I am curious about the lids on the canned garlic. They look like the lids my wife has used, with very poor results. Are they a separate lid and gasket? If so, would you mind explaining how you have gotten them to seal properly?

    1. The lids are Tattler lids, which I purchased many years ago (yes, they're a separate lid and gasket). The failure rate is a bit higher than disposable lids, but over the years I've learned how to minimize the failures (not eliminate, but minimize). Probably the biggest issue your wife is having is not tightening the lids properly. Before putting them in the canner, they need to be finger-tightened, then LOOSENED about a quarter-inch (so the lids can vent). After removing the processed jars from the canner – don't tilt them while doing this – tighten the lids again and then leave them alone for about 12 hrs. Don't remove the rings until the jars are completely cool. Hope this helps.

      In my opinion, the slightly elevated failure rate of Tattlers more than makes up for the fact that I never have to buy disposable lids again. – an issue that took on great importance last fall when disposable lids sold out all across the country, and even Tattler lid orders were backed up like mad.

      - Patrice