Growing Garlic from Grocery Store Bulbs: A gardening experiment

Just before the first frost hit (back in early fall), I decided on a whim to do a quick test on growing garlic from grocery store bulbs.

And I mean quick! I was in the middle of prepping dinner when it occurred to me that it was the perfect time to try this in Georgia so I jerked 4 cloves off of the garlic bulb I was using and ran outside. I cleared my herb pot (a huge galvanized pot) of debris and pulled any dead plants out. I had my kitchen shears so I trimmed the chives back and then used a little shovel I use to plant flowers to loosen the soil up real well.

I stuck the cloves with the root side down (pointy side up) and covered it with soil. Then I grabbed leaves off the ground around the pot and tossed those on top.

I went back inside, washed my hands, got dinner going and forgot about them.

A few weeks later I went out to play with the dog and remembered them. I was surprised to find that I had greens shoots!

I went out today to check on them and here they are:

garlic

I’ll be honest, I didn’t think they would come up at all. To say that I’m surprised and a little giddy about them growing working is an understatement. According to our Extension Service, if the bulbs do actually form, they’ll be ready for harvest in early summer. Some sources say that store-bought garlic won’t work. And it may not produce large bulbs at all.

I can’t wait to see if this basically free experiment works. I’ve read several articles recommending planting in the late fall underneath shrubs. I keep saying I’m going to try it but I always forget.

I’ll let you know this summer…if I don’t forget them! 🙂

Where I’ve Been In Case You Missed Me…

There’s been this…

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And then this…

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And this…

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(Sorry for the blurry pics…don’t know what happened)

And more of this…

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A little of this…

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And even more…

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(Rosemary, Thyme, Basil)

I realized
(Blackberries…my FAV!)

Can I get a little sympathy from yall? This girl is working hard lately! Our garden has done so great! I’m still not “in” to my tomatoes but it’s about there. Plus my dad and uncles have sold, oh, about 5000lbs of tomatoes…no kidding. I’ll be gettin rejects soon I hope!

I’ve picked, washed, sliced, diced, pickled, peeled, cooked, blanched, canned and frozen a lot for winter dining! And enjoyed quite a bit as well. Gardening and cicadas at night are the best parts of summer.

Oh. And just so there’s no confusion as to how one should shuck corn, it involves this…

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C-re

Finally! Garden Harvests

Here’s a picture of the garden about 2 weeks ago when I wanted to post it. I’ll try to get some more this week sometime.

These are my cantaloupe plants. We’ve got FIVE of them on the vine and I’m so excited! If we can keep JP from picking them before they’re ready.

This beauty was my first “harvest.” My cousin Jena planted seeds in our dads’ greenhouse and I brought some home. I have really loved having them. They were such a surprise since I never expected them to actually bloom! Isn’t it beautiful?

The first real harvest…green peppers and a zucchini.


Hunter was THRILLED with this basket of his goodies. The man planted eighteen jalapenos plants. Eighteen. And I don’t eat ’em. Hello…
We’ve harvest a squash or two and a first batch of green beans for eating (not enough to can yet).
And then, there was yesterday!

WOW! We have a GARDEN! We were two happy little larks out in the garden last night after the boys’ had gone to bed. I’m supposed to be researching if we can plant some more beans for a early fall harvest. I hope so!

This is my second year having my own official garden and it’s getting better. The okra plants are getting BIG and there are a few pods out there. I think we’ll be covered up with beans soon and we have a ton of green tomatoes. Our first red tomato is trying to turn as well!
As far as my herb garden goes, the Basil took off so I need to get some to drying as well as Oregano, Thyme and Rosemary. My Dill and Cilantro did not make it. Again. I think I’m done with these two. I killed the Parsley. So sad.
I’m a gardener….could I be smiling any bigger right now?
C-re

Progress!

Just look what happened tonight!



Can you see how happy he is in this one?

He’s really thinking, “Why the heck is she taking PICTURES again?”

You can see some of the mud in this one.


Poor guy. He’s still out there working on getting other things done so he can head out early in the morning. He needed to return the tractor and it was giving him headaches so he was waiting on a call from my dad and decided to give it a try.
I’m so happy about the tilling though! At least it’s progress. I love that man.
(Oh, and meet Hunter! Isn’t’ he handsome???)
C-re

Tightwad Tuesday—Think About Gardening!

It’s spring time! Or so I thought. Mother Nature has decided that tonight we’ll have freezing weather so it’s sure not feeling like spring. At any rate, it’s time to start thinking about gardening.

Having a garden offers you so many benefits. Not only are you going to grow food that your family can eat—food that you know what it’s been treated with (if you go that route), how it’s been fertilized and where it came from—but you’re also getting the health benefits of gardening. It’s good for your body (a workout) and it’s good for the soul. There’s nothing like coming home from a long day of work to wander in your garden picking green beans, pulling tomatoes and seeing what you’ve got coming in that day. It calms me. Last year we planted 4 varieties of tomatoes (8 plants), bell peppers, jalapeños, corn, ornamental pumpkins, green beans, squash, zucchini, hot peppers and Tabasco peppers. I think that was it.

I canned food for the first time last year. It’s hard, hot, long, time consuming work but we have really enjoyed having our home grown food this year! Last year I canned spaghetti sauce, tomatoes, green beans, apple butter (which we have not eaten so I won’t do it again), and then I pickled jalapeños and mixed peppers for Hunter. He’s working on them. I also froze tomatoes, a couple of random small batches of spaghetti sauce and shredded zucchini and squash (not used so won’t do again). I kind of let my herb drying go but I plan to get back to that this year. I need to organize this better.

We didn’t have a ton of anything except just plain tomatoes canned/frozen. We’ve used up all of the green beans and we have 1 jar of spaghetti sauce left. Still lots of tomatoes but that should be fine. I can simmer those down into tomato sauce and chili at any time.

Gardening can seem so overwhelming and daunting but give it a try. You don’t have to have top of the line stuff and you don’t have to be a professional. You can rent a tiller from a local hardware store for about $35/day if you’ve got really tough soil like our red clay. Even soil amendments (manure, compost, etc) can be bought if your soil needs it. This does make it a bit more expensive but over time, if you use the same area, you won’t need it as you steadily improve your soil.

If you live in an apartment, consider container gardening. Just buy some good potting soil to start with and be sure to buy the best looking plants you can find (and on a side note, go to a hardware store or a local greenhouse and buy them—BUY LOCAL!!!) Sure they’re probably shipped in too (unless they’re bought from my dad!) but you’re still supporting a local business instead of a big box store. Even if you only do 2-3 plants in larger containers, you will provide yourself and your family with some tasty grub for the summer (and the winter if you just freeze it). I’ll do more on canning/freezing once that time is here. You could also start smaller than that and just really focus on herbs in a window. Just try 2-3 of your favorites. Herbs can be hung to dry in the top of a closet, the basement door, or they can be dried in your microwave. Just don’t set your microwave on fire like I did. :o) True story.
I started years ago with herbs in the window. Then I did an herb pot and just put 5 or so herbs in a huge pot on the back porch. Then I did tomatoes in the huge pot on the porch and separated the herbs into smaller pots on a shelf on the back porch of my duplex. I also managed to plant green peppers in pots when Hunter and I got married, forgot about them and looked over one day and saw red and green peppers shining! Pots will work! Just don’t expect those huge peppers you get in the store. Your peppers will be smaller but they will taste WAY better. I promise.

Start thinking about it. Look it up online and do a little research. Check your local extension office for information and talk to them. They’re a really valuable source of information on what will work and what won’t work in your area. I always wait until after Easter since our chance of frost declines dramatically after that…and tonight? Freeze warning. I’m worried about my Japanese Maples, Azaleas and Tea Olives right now!

Good luck and I hope you’ll post your progress as we get into gardening season!
C-re