Garlic & Onions
I am so excited about the onions and garlic I am growing this year! Garlic is a garden wonder I am so excited to keep working at. The fact that you stick them in the ground in the fall, and wait for them to make their way out of the ground in the spring is so amazing to me! I have also found that homegrown garlic and onions have a flavor unlike anything you can buy in the store. They also keep through the long and cold months of winter, making it so enjoyable to dig into the winter storage and still use something fresh from the garden.
This season, I have decided to try and grow Rainbow Trio Onions as my main storage onion, to bring a range of colors to my garden bed, and unique flavors in my dishes next winter. I have struggled with growing onions in the past, as I have grown them from small bulbs, or seed that I over wintered in the garden, and they don't get much bigger than a gold ball. This year, I started my seed indoors, and have found The Encyclopedia Botanica Podcast episode on starting onions from seed to be SUPER helpful! Living in Minnesota, you can start you seeds anytime in January - March, so make sure and purchase your seed and get your starters going (I will share more on how are start seed in a future post, so stay tuned!).
I am planning on planting my storage onions as a patch between the carrots and beets, as they help keep pests away. Onions do not taste good to garden pests, and also can help 'camouflage' the sent of your vegetables to make them harder for them to find. Cool right? Onions are typically harvested in late July, and early August, giving enough time to succession plant my watermelon radishes and winter lettuces before the first frost.
During the summer this year, I am going to grow Scallions instead of harvesting any of my storage onions early. It is such a temptation to not pull the tiny cute onions early, and scallions grow so quick and make it easy to run out to the garden and grab a few for a quick spring salad. Scallions can be planted any where, as they take up very little room. I am planning to plant mine in amongst the brassicas, to help with pests.
Garlic is a crop I am still learning a ton about, but am excited to see how they turn out this season. Garlic is planted in the late fall, as it needs the winter months to be able to properly develop into a bulb in the spring and summer. My garlic is currently in the garden, mulched with a thick layer of straw. I grow both Hard Neck Garlic and Soft Neck Garlic, both varieties having purple streaked husks. Hard neck garlic tends to have a hard center stem, and sends out garlic scapes in the summer, right before it is ready to harvest. Scapes have a light garlic flavor and can be trimmed off the plant without harming the garlic bulb below. I enjoy adding garlic scapes to stir fries, or any other dishes I would typically use garlic or chives in.
Soft neck garlic has a soft stem, and often have a longer storage life than hard neck garlic. The soft necks can be braided for long term storage, and the cloves can be enjoyed all winter long. I love growing my own garlic as it has a spiciness and flavor that cannot compare to store bought. Looking forward to watching them sprout out of the garden in the spring!