Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

After deciding not to tie up my beds for months to grow Garlic, circumstances have conspired to encourage me to plant for this season.


After the almost-failure of the crop last year, I bought some kilos of Biodynamic Garlic from Patrice Newell in the Hunter Valley. This is divine Garlic, the best commercial bulbs I have ever eaten. However ... coming from a cold place to a warm place, it decided it would like to sprout. Meaning the Garlic arrived in January 2011 and is sprouting in May 2011, not really a practical solution to year-long Garlic eating. Certainly it is still very much edible and will be for a while yet (how long remains to be seen). It's pointless growing that variety here, it's cold-adapted for a long growing season (they plant in May and harvest around November). All the more reason to buy local!


Earlier in the year, I had bought a kilo of organic Garlic from the organic shop at Forest Glen (they used to have a stall at the Deception Bay markets and we really enjoyed getting fresh organic local produce). This Garlic came from around the Sunshine Coast and is quite different to any I have seen. The papery coverings (there must be a proper name for these things!) are a light-tan-slightly-golden with no hint of the purple I expect to see on Garlic. The bulbs are quite big and there's the occasional one which is dried out and brown but the rest are very tasty.


So since some of my winter veges didn't grow as planned, I planted 44 cloves of this Garlic out over 3 beds which are in the sun (my major issue last year was not enough sun).


They've been planted since I took the photo ;-)


I'll update the blog when there's more news.


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Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 13, 2011 at 7:28
It's tough to ruin Garlic! Easy to eat and easy to grow ... put the cloves in and stand back, it grows all by itself, dies down and you harvest it. You've got to clean it once dried but few crops are easier than Garlic.
Comment by Daniel on May 13, 2011 at 6:57

I'm such a garlic addict. I've heard a comment, I think attributable to a famous French chef: "If not for garlic, I would simply not care to live" :-)


I've planted two varieties in pots - the supermarket stuff (I think it's Australian white garlic) and the purple skinned stuff which I think I had left over from my last food connect box before I cancelled my subscription with them (good idea, but the quality of the food had dropped below acceptable, especially considering the price).


I can't wait to see your results as well as mine! It's my first time really growing anything, so I don't hold high hopes, but it's certainly a delight to see green shoots popping out of the dirt I put them in. Very exciting :-)

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 10, 2011 at 22:42

Ah! Roasted Garlic - that would be something else!


I'd never thought of putting cloves in water to sprout, so far they manage to either sprout by themselves in the dish or sprout soon after planting. There's always another way!

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 10, 2011 at 15:36
You can almost never have too much Garlic! Especially home grown ... there's a Garlic festival somewhere in the States and among all the other Garlic-inspired food there is Garlic ice cream. Green Tea ice cream - check; Red Bean paste - check; Garlic ice cream? :-O might be fabulous for all I know.
Comment by Scarlett on May 10, 2011 at 12:11
My partner will happily put five cloves of garlic in a salad dressing...I think I'd need a small bobcat full...possibly an indication that our garlic consumption is unreasonable ;)
Comment by Scarlett on May 10, 2011 at 12:04
ow! no, not the best
Comment by Scarlett on May 10, 2011 at 12:03
NB correction: Autumn Equinox, not Spring Solstice
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 9, 2011 at 22:23
Sometimes I have stratified my Garlic but mostly I have not. Reality is that for many years I have grown a year's supply of Garlic; planted as I've noted above, never get frost. Last year was the worst ever but then a lot of other things I wasn't too keen about happened last year too, like a broken arm for example ;-)
Comment by Scarlett on May 9, 2011 at 21:04
robyn francis (permaculture teacher, northern nsw climate zone) plants garlic on the (correction! Autumn Equinox - sorry, away with the pixies, remembered in my dreams last night!)  - makes sense given reversal of temperate growing season in sub-tropics. day length sensitivity and frost requirement still an issue though - but the temperature is the main thing. partial shade in morning and afternoon would help mask the day length pattern reversal? spell in fridge before planting a good idea (stratification) to simulate frost.
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 9, 2011 at 19:53

The solstice-plantings might be alright further south but up here, get it in as soon as the weather cools and whip it out as soon as it looks like dying off. It gets hot fairly quickly and Garlic just won't grow any more once the weather warms too much for it.


Ground or pot either really, just keep the water up to them and make sure they get many hours of sun each day. Drainage as with all the European crops is critical. If you're not happy with the drainage, Garlic will do well in styrene boxes just get the deepest you can find and use some water crystals if you don't have enough organic matter to keep the soil damp. Mulch first, plant the bulbs about an inch under the surface and be amazed at how quickly they shoot once in the ground.

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