August 4, 2011

Gardening with Mr. C. - Save money with DIY gardening.

Mr. C. says it pays "to know your onions" (and garlic). If your onions (or shallots, etc) and garlic tops are dried or mostly dried, it is time to harvest them.

The four pounds of garlic below are from two pounds of cloves (some from Agway and some from the supermarket) which were planted last fall (early Nov.). After they sprouted, I covered them with leaves until spring. This is only a two-to-one yield, with some of the bulbs only growing single. After checking this website (click here) I now see the value of paying more to get the proper seed. I also, see why waiting to long to lift them that most bulbs had no top remaining and many of them are separating and some individual cloves have no sheath (or parchment) at all. Note: Because of personal and family illness I have had less time for gardening (and part of the reason for no blog last week). The bare ones will have to be used first. Others have only one or two sheaths (this is explained in the link above) will not keep as well as other years when I would twist the dried tops together and hang them in my cellerway to store. The fish scale is in all the pictures to give you a size perspective.


Below is a small (four pound) sample of the "stuttgarter" onions I grew (have lots more to pull). I have had good results in size (1 to 2 inch dia) and storage of this variety. The four long green tops are due to some trying to go to seed (I removed the seeds to stop the process). Tops will eventually dry off and onion will still be usable.

                                                                                          Stuttgarter onions

The shallots below were planted in the spring. I carefully pulled, washed and sorted them by the number of shallots in each cluster to determine the degree of multiplication. From right-to-left in the picture below of 205 clusters shown below, 105 (about half) are singles, 63 (about one third) are doubles, 20 had three, 13 had four, and one each with five and six. When separated will result in a total of 354 individual ones to replant (a 173% increase - not quite double). I still have more shallots to pull.

                                                                                     Shallots multiplied 

I have dug, washed, and am sun drying the sixteen pounds of shallots seen below. I have already divided the multiple bulbs. Some still have green tops and will take longer to dry. These were planted last fall (and covered same as the garlic) because they started to sprout from being put away not totally dry. This turned out well as they are considerably larger than the ones I planted in the spring (see above picture). I will use some of both groups for cooking (the larger ones), planting this fall, and bartering in the spring (in exchange for plants at Country Marketplace).


Until next week, happy gardening.

Mr. C