A week ago we had our first frost. Now, even with some fairly warm days – we’ve had a couple in the low 60s – it’s time to get the garlic (and shallots) into the ground. This past Sunday we finished clearing out the Upper Garden, Mr. Gordon again employing the flame thrower – and we pulled the rest of the Sparky French Marigolds. I have grown to really love these flowers.
Once the rows were cleaned out, we planted three varieties of garlic and one variety of shallots in the two uppermost rows.
Mr. Gordon made the two-to-four-inch holes, and I followed placing each garlic clove into the ground root side down. (The little pointed end pointing up.) Spacing is about 12 inches between rows, with six-to-eight inches between cloves. It’s recommended to mulch over with straw to help keep the cloves warmer over the winter, but we are foregoing that. We did not mulch over the garlic we experimented with last year and had fine results. (TOTAL experiment, Mr. Gordon planted a leftover head of garlic bought at the grocery store.)
This year, I made a point to purchase organic garlic seed and shallots seed starters (from Hudson Valley Seed Co.). One of my goals is to use organic or New York State grown (maybe not always organic, but as natural as possible) seeds. As time goes by, my intention is to seed-save (already started) so that:
- We will reduce cost of gardening.
- Our seeds will have the genetic imprint of our garden (soil and climate) over time, and we hope, grow more reliably AND produce well.
And let’s talk about cost. Mr. Gordon and I want to present what we are spending as accurately as possible. We do it knowing that some might read our reports and think, that’s more money than I would spend, or something to that effect. But, we also want to share the information because when we read certain stories, DIYs, how-to’s, we often wonder about the cost. So here it is. For the four bags pictured above of organic garlic (Organic Hardneck Garlic Variety Pack Seeds – three varieties) and organic shallots (Dutch Red), plus tax, plus two-day priority shipping: $50.16.
Not cheap, right? But, there are long-term plans at work here, folks. We’ll get to that in a minute. If I buy a pack of organic garlic from my favorite grocery store, it’s $3.99 for three heads of garlic. This store-bought garlic is one variety – I don’t know what it is, probably says somewhere on the label, and it comes from California. (Hello there, carbon footprint!)
$1.33 for organic head of garlic from CA and purchased at my NY grocery store
x 95 (to be explained below)
= $126. 35
Okay, so what do those numbers mean? $3.99 for the pack of garlic divided by 3 heads of garlic = $1.33 per head of garlic.
So what about the number 95?
Guess how many garlic cloves we planted yesterday? 😀 Yup, you got it: 95. And a clove planted = future head of garlic.
If we were to buy 95 heads of one kind of organic garlic from our store, we would pay $126.35.
Instead, we ordered three varieties of organic garlic (PLUS a variety of organic shallots) to grow here on our own land. The garlic seed was grown in NYS at Skymeadow Farm, a Certified Organic farm in Cherry Valley, NY. With tax and shipping: $50.16 total.
$50.16 versus $126.35.
Suddenly the cost of the seed garlic we ordered from Hudson Valley Seed Co. doesn’t seem so expensive! And, doing our part to reduce the carbon footprint a bit: bonus. (Little steps and bigger ones when possible – like our solar panels – help make a positive difference.) True, it’s possible that not all the cloves we planted will deliver us a good head of garlic, but even a 50% yield would be a lesser cost than what we would pay at the store.
Whew! What started out as a little “hey, we planted garlic!” post kind of grew into something more. But, this is part of why we are sharing stories at Garden, Cook, Eat, Repeat! We want you to:
- Be Inspired!
- Learn what it takes.
- Get real, honest reports from real people who are making a go of it – sometimes really succeeding, sometimes really flopping.
- And know that we’re in it with you! We are all a part of this great big gardening (homesteading?) tribe. 😀 We should (need to) cheer each other on and share ideas, truths, joys, pains, and experiences so that we all can have a richer, more simple life.
Please share your thoughts, comments, and experiences below!
I would actually break it down even further from there…are you planning on saving some heads of garlic to plant next year? Then you could add in that savings too. Or at least in my mind that’s what I would do…
One of my goals is to have an all heirloom garden. Have you seen the Cornell list of produce that grows well in NY State? I don’t have the link on me but I can give it to you if you haven’t seen it before.
And I don’t think we’ve had a frost yet! We’re getting close but I don’t think we’ve been as low as 32 yet….
Good point by you, Kristin! Yes, we absolutely plan to keep some of the 2020 garlic harvest for planting next fall. That, too, can be added to the savings. And, because deer do not like to nibble on growing garlic – or so we’re told – we won’t be spending money to fence in that garden. We’re planning on the Upper Garden containing mostly garlic, leeks, shallots, and onions.
I have not seen the list of Cornell’s “what grows best.” I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Gordon has that list, though. He’s a frequent Cornell Co-op Extension website visitor.
I like to buy seeds from Hudson Valley Seed Co. because most of their seeds are harvested from plants that have been grown in NYS. And some of the varieties we have purchased from them have been great – such as the Amish Paste Tomatoes and the Double Yield Cucumbers. Always reliable! 😀
I like Hudson Valley Seed Company too. And that reminds me to go check them out so I can start planning for next year!
Here’s the link to the veg guide:
I finally found it!! I have a hard time finding it every year so I have to save it. I also mention it and hand it out at my seasonal eating classes.
Hudson Valley Seed Co. is such a favorite, Kristin. I also made sure to order some seeds at the end of summer/beginning of fall that were on sale. This year, I spent $86 in seeds at Hudson Valley before I spent the $50 on the seed garlic and seed shallots! So easy to do. One of my priorities this year is seed saving when I can to try and lower the cost… but I have a feeling I’ll just find more varieties to buy and try!
Thank you for sending the link to the resource list! (You rule.) It will be interesting to compare what they list and what we’ve grown successfully!