Garlic, Round 2...

We had such great success with our garlic this year, there was no way we weren't going to grow it again.  And we are.  We just finished preparing next year's crop.  The hard work is done.  That's the best part of growing garlic (other than enjoying the fruits of the harvest).  After it's planted, there isn't too much to do (a little weeding) until it's harvested.

We moved the garlic beds from last year's location for two reasons.  First, we wanted to rotate the garlic to a new area.  But also, the raised beds we built for garlic last year were completely bulldozed away, when we re-buried our large heat storage tank for the biochar retort (which had "floated" last February during a 2-day, 55-degree, 3'-of-snow-melt, 3"-of-rain ground water saturated period---very frustrating and disheartening experience).  The excavator needed to sit right in the middle of the old garlic bed to do the necessary digging, because the biochar retort was now in place, so we knew the beds would be trashed anyway.

Tank going down. Being buried last January.
Tank going down. Being buried last January.
Tank floated up in February.
Tank floated up in February.
Digging hole to re-bury hot water storage tank. Note excavator sitting on area of last year's garlic beds.
Digging hole to re-bury hot water storage tank. Note excavator sitting on area of last year's garlic beds.
Tank in the ground, flanked by concrete anchor blocks, to keep it floating again.
Tank in the ground, flanked by concrete anchor blocks, to keep it floating again.

Last year we paid $300 for seed garlic (22 lbs. total of 4 different types).  We had such a great crop (over 1000 heads) that we didn't have to buy any this year.  We set aside maybe 20-25% of last year's crop (26 lbs. worth) to use for this year's seed.  After planting, we even had a little of that left over.  If it all grows as well as this year, we should end up with about 1200 heads next year.

There was a little bit of biochar left after we finished planting all the trees in the greenhouse, so we decided to use it all in the garlic beds.  Five of the six 45'-long raised beds were built with just topsoil, and one has biochar mixed in.  We mixed the 50/50 mix of biochar/compost evenly with topsoil, so that bed has 25% biochar by volume.  It'll be another interesting experiment.  We wonder if the garlic heads will be bigger or if there will be any other noticeable differences. Stay tuned.  We'll keep you apprised of the results.

End of day, first 3 beds built. One on right is darker--it has biochar.
End of day, first 3 beds built. One on right is darker--it has biochar.
Early next morning--chilly. Note frost on ground.
Early next morning--chilly. Note frost on ground.
All 6 beds built, garlic planted, and beds mulched with straw-- ready for winter!
All 6 beds built, garlic planted, and beds mulched with straw-- ready for winter!