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 Anne Gibson on November 28, 2011 at 7:27

I'll take another pic when I master it!!

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on November 27, 2011 at 18:23

Must be the Garlic then ;-) there's bound to be a trick to it.

Comment by Anne Gibson on November 27, 2011 at 17:38

I'm waiting till yesterday's harvest dry out and are a little easier to work with - the first lot went OK with just three although it doesn't look very pretty! Mustn't have the braiding gene!!


Must take practice! These soft neck garlic stems are still green and quite thin and fragile to work with too.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on November 27, 2011 at 8:54

Have you tried to plait them? It looks easy enough when you see the results the experts get, but I found it quite a conundrum even though I do know how to plait with 4, I really don't know how many the traditional plait is made from.

Comment by Anne Gibson on November 27, 2011 at 8:42

This is the garlic I harvested yesterday.  Twenty-five bulbs of the soft neck variety. The Russian is still going as are the leeks. I keep mulching them and they grow taller and taller.

I'm drying them out now so they'll store well.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on November 25, 2011 at 21:18

It's the Botulism I'm concerned about. I used the oil for cooking, never had it raw. It could have been crawling with Botulinum for all I know. I just didn't know about it at the time. If I make some now, I would do that again: just use the infused oil for cooking.

Comment by Jane on November 25, 2011 at 18:23

Garlic - I've just harvested mine, planted in May, it was obvious they were never going to die down & several plants were beginning to sprout from the cloves. They are a very mixed bunch, some hardly bigger then when planted  but several with full heads, just not stopped growing, recon I should have planted them where I could have with drawn the water a month ago. In nearly 30 years of growing garlic in CQ I've had very mixed results, a couple of times even being able to save my own cloves for replanting, only to have a bad season & get nothing. re storing them, when I get a decent crop I plat the dried off tops in the traditional manner & they hang in my back porch- in heat humidity all through the summer & only start pprouting about March, if they last that long.

Comment by Scarlett on November 25, 2011 at 18:02

I tried several times to grow garlic in Bris - but it never died back/ went yellow, it just grew and grew and then went to flower. I eventually learnt that once there was a big round bulb like an onion it was time to harvest - but I never once managed to grow an actual clove. It only too a few months too, which took me by surprise - so I kept leaving it too long, hoping it would break up into cloves, until it became obvious it was developing a flower stalk - by which time the centre would be all woody :(
I tried all sorts of garlic, all different times, in the fridge first or not :(
I think you need a cool microclimate for it to work *sigh*

Comment by Anne Gibson on November 25, 2011 at 17:39

I'll let you know if I discover a garlic keeper but in the meantime, I'm going to store mine in a wire basket in the bottom of my pantry where it is fairly dark and cool but still gets airflow. I understand it's the humidity in our climate that deteriorates the bulbs more than anything at air temp e.g. in the kitchen.  We have an insane amount of humidity here at the moment and have to have a dehumidifier in our bedroom so the clothes don't go mouldy. It's isolated to the Hinterland micro climate with Maleny the worst area.

In the fridge, I've just been storing it in the door as it doesn't take up much room. I've reconsidered this now! I've read hot temps are not good for it either. On a new journey with this one!

Re storage in oil, although not common, you can get botulism from adding raw garlic cloves if not stored correctly.  According to PYO, "Flavored oils can be a special concern if not prepared correctly. When herbs, garlic, or tomatoes are placed in oils, the botulism spores on the plant material can start to produce the toxin in this anaerobic (oxygenless) mixture. To be safe, keep these flavored oils refrigerated and make only the amount of herbal oils and butters that will be used in a few days. Using dried herbs and vegetables will also reduce the risk."

I need to research this more before taking this path!!

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on November 25, 2011 at 10:47

Never even heard of a 'garlic keeper'! This year I put my Sunshine Coast bought organic Garlic in a wire drawer, the lowest of a set in a thingy I store stuff on and in. Firguring it will be cooler down lower, we'll see. A dark place is more difficult though since to get air you need windows/doors and they both let in the light. Even though there's insulation in the roof-space, it still can get to 30℃ or more in severe conditions inside the house, not optimal I imagine for Garlic.


What kind of container do you use to store the Garlic in the 'fridge? I try not to store any more stuff in the fridge than I can help and I always figrued that Garlic like Pumpkins and other hard fruit or veges, would store at ambient temperature. Why suddenly this has become a problem when it never has before, I don't know. Can we blame 'global warming'? ;-)


With some of it I'm going to go back and look into storing it in oil. I did that years ago and used the Garlic-infused oil and left the Garlic in the jar. But it seems it's possible to kill oneself that way ... maybe if I get too old and doddery? ;-) I'll give planting some out now-ish to see how it travels.


I refrigerate the bulbs before planting hoping to fool them into thinking the climate is colder than it is.

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