Foodie Friday: Planning Garlic and Shallot Garden Beds

Hard to believe that it’s almost time here in New England to plant garlic and shallots again. It seems like I just harvested them, but planting time is October, and lots of vendors sell out of fun varieties early.

I drew up this little map of what I’m doing this year:

Ugh, my handwriting is terrible (I worked very hard to make this legible, to give you an idea).  The biggest thing I’m trying this Fall is to plant my own garlic cloves and shallots harvested this Summer. Based on my research, it should work just fine, and I have to imagine seed garlic and seed shallot sellers grow what they sell precisely the way I grew my crops. I’ll admit I’m still nervous that planting my own won’t work, though!

I am buying two new varieties, Uzbek Garlic and Burgundy Garlic, just to try something new. For shallots, I’m going whole hog with my own seed because I have SO MANY SHALLOTS. I have been using my shallots constantly (like, every other day there’s a meal with shallots in it), and I still have probably 200 French Gray and 20 Dutch Red. There’s just so many for planting I figure it’s worth the risk.

Fingers crossed! It would be so nice to be able to just plant my own year to year and not have to purchase anything. I love the idea of a self-propagating garden. It saves time, money, and I suppose even the carbon footprint since I wouldn’t have to ship anything.

I also learned this year that a LOT more garlic could fit in my bed than I planted last year. I ended up with quite a bit of garlic, but honestly the plants were much too far apart. I planted about 8” apart, the instructions recommended 6”, but after seeing how they came up (and how much they thrived in our soil, which was mixed heavily with compost), I think I’m going to try 5” apart. This should nearly double my garlic yield.

Last year was my first growing shallots, and I learned that you want to make very sure there’s only one clove per hole, otherwise they bundle close together and are super tiny. I also planted the shallots too far apart (about 10”) last year, and given their size and how they grew I’m going to try for the more reasonable 7” or 8” apart.

I really hope it works out, because not only do I love eating the shallots and garlic, I also enjoy having garlic scapes. But most of all, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that the deer don’t eat these. HAHAHA DEER! You may take my roses, you may take my holly, you may take my fruit trees, BUT YOU SHALL NEVER TAKE MY GARLIC!