Thursday, April 12, 2012

How to .... Start a Garden (Part 4: Garlic and Asparagus)

Ontario Garlic
Ontario garlic is a delicacy. It is often in high demand at the Farmer's Market and gets snatched up quickly. 

At the end of summer, I go to the market and ask farmers if they have any garlic bulbs they can't sell.  Maybe they've begun to sprout or maybe they're too small.  Then I take them home, break them into their individual cloves and in mid-October, I plant them.

Plant them in a part of your garden or yard that can remain undisturbed throughout your spring tilling. I chose a section of my flower bed this year, as my garlic patch.

Garlic gets sown in late fall and produces the following summer. When it's ready for harvest, you pull the plant out and braid the leaves so the garlic can dry. It's actually a lot of fun.

The garlic you buy at the grocery store in probably a variety from China. It has thinner skin and isn't ideal for growing in your own garden.

Asparagus is a perennial.  That means that once you plant its crowns or roots, it will come back every year. I've read that a good asparagus patch can produce for decades and decades. But you can't harvest any aspargus for the first few years.  It's probably well worth the wait though. There is nothing in the world like fresh, sweet asparagus.

I've been attempting to start an asparagus patch for a few years. I think the area I chose has poor soil quality. I have only ever seen one teensy asparagus finger sprout forth and it was no thicker than a noodle of spaghetti. Asparagus crowns are in high demand at garden centres.  Get there early in the season before they're all gone.

Happy Gardening!

~Miss Greenish Thumb~

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