Many thanks to you all!
Kate, I'd love to bring a rack of our seed to sell if you feel it is appropriate.
Thanks again for this opportunity, friends! It will be so good to share, connect, learn & grow with you all :)
If there are other ways Fruition can support & inspire this event, don't be shy!
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fruition's autumn guide to
growing gorgeous garlic & shallots
By Petra Page-Mann
why we love Growing
Garlic & Shallots
First and always, we love to eat. "Without alliums there would be no cuisine,' I've heard, and indeed: onoins, garlic & shallots are the beginning of most of our meals.
Easy As Pie
But pie isn't really that easy, is it?!
Like anything, growing gorgeous garlic & shalltos takes many seasons of learning, experimentation, observation and practice, if not a lifetime.
That being said, growing great garlic is not nearly as challenging as growing glorious broccoli or brussels sprouts.
I remember the bulbs of garlic we harvested in my childhood garden and though they were so delicious, and we were so proud of them, they were always small compared to what we saw in the grocery store.
Now I'm proud to grow garlic that dwarfs what we find in grocery stores and Friends, it's surprisingly simple. With the rght seed stock, the right timing and spacing, fertility and attention, you'll have gorgeous garlic for seasons to come.
Know What to Sow
Diving Into Diversity
Growing up in western New York, I savored the diversity of apples: a Macintosh is not an Empire is not a Macoun. The same is true for garlic, shallots & so much more!
~ grows a delectable 'scape'
~ easier to peel right away
~ more cold-hardy
~ porcelain types have the greatest medicinal compounds
~ not suitable for braiding
~ less long-storing
~ ideal for braiding
~ most long-storing
~ no scape to enjoy
~ generally less cold-hardy (our Regatusso is the exception)
~ harder to peel before 6 months in storage
There is so much more to share! You'll find a great diversity of garlic at
www.fruitionseeds.com and more info on our blog. Bon apptit!
Reap What You Sow
sow the best - eat the rest
People often ask if they can simply plant the garlic and shallots they see in the grocery store. Technically, of course you can! Here's why you might think twice.
Bigger is Better
is rarely the case, but in the case of garlic and shallots, there is a direct relationship between the size of bulb/clove you plant and the size of the bulb/clove you harvest.
Also, what you'll find in grocery stores is 'food' grade rather than 'seed' grade. Though it's tempting, you'll harvest much more with 'seed' quality garlic rather than 'food.'
Start with the biggest, most healthy bulbs you possibly can.
Food-grade garlic and shallots are not tested for diseases & nematodes like their seed-grade cousins.
Sourcing organic seed stock amplifies abundance for all: It thives in your garden with less inputs and our environment is less polluted for future generations: win-win.
Sweet, Long-Storing & Easy to Grow
If you love onions, you'll swoon over shallots. They're super sweet and extra longstoring as well as super productive --- and most are as easy to grow as garlic.
Dutch Reds are grown by bulb, sown exactly the same way as garlic. They are insanely productive, multiplying 5 to 1 in average soil, 15+ to 1 in great soil. They easily store over 1 year when cured well. Botanically, they are Allium cepa, like true onions.
Shallots grown by seed are best started indoors ~12 weeks before final frost, grown similarly to onions who share the Allium cepa classification. Expect 1 large shallot per seed. Cured well, they store well 10+ months and sometimes longer.
Shallot purists consider these 'griselles'the only 'true' shallot and indeed, they have the highest sugar content and longest shelf life. Botanically Allium oschaninii, they're less cold-hardy and productive compared to Allium cepa.
Of Time & Space
& Keeping it Simple
Less than ideal timing, spacing and fertility are the main reasons people harvest less abundance than they expect. Break up each bulb into individual cloves before you sow!
Here in Zone 5, sowing anytime between Halloween and Thanksgiving is ideal.
Goal: Roots establish while keeping shoot growth minimal.
Why? Shoots more than 4" act as straws wicking moisture and energy from the clove, increasing the chance of winter-kill.
Sow your garlic with 6-8 inches between cloves, both in and between rows. We plant garlic as a solid bed, sowing in a grid pattern that is simple to mulch or weed around.
Goal: Offer plants plenty of space/nutrients to grow without competition.
Common mistake: Don't skimp on fertility! See next page :)
Soil Prep & Fertility
All the time and money you invest in preparing and nourishing your soil will return to you tenfold, so slow down, take your time and don't skimp on fertility!
Where to Plant?
anywhere with full sun, great drainage & the richest soil you've got
When to Work
work soil only when it's dry & crumbling to the touch
adding 6" of weed seed-free commpost is the dream, but something is better than nothing :)
The Best Amendments
We've developed a special blend of amendments to offer optimal nutrients both short- and long-term for both garlic and shallots, you'll find it on our website.
It combines alfalfa meal and feathermeal for fall root development, plus compost crumbles and bloodmeal for slow-release fertility in the spring & early summer.
Keys for Containers
Though challenging, garlic & shallots can grow gorgeous in containers with enough nutrients, attention & care. If we can do it, so can you!
Don't be Daunted! Just Remember:
- Plant only hardneck garlic & dutch red shallots in Zone 5 or colder: They're more cold-tolerant.
- Bigger is better: larger containers = more nutrients. You'll find 15-gallon recycled plastic containers on our website, they're perfect.
- Don't skimp on fertility! Combine compost + our organic garlic & shallot fertilizer to set you up for easy success.
- Get ready to water next summer (containers dry out way faster than garden soil and garlic needs lots of water to get large)
To Mulch or Not to Mulch
Like everything, mulching has its pros and cons, as does not mulching! We've experimented widely across the years and though there is no one way, we recommend you mulch early and often! Deciduous leaves through a chipper/shredder is our go-to.
~ weed less, if you keep a consistent 6" of mulch, even as the mulch may decompose
~ retain moisture
~ cloves less susceptible to frostheaving and winterkill
~ increase fertility as mulches decompose
~ weeding becomes arduous if you don't keep up with mulching
~ in wet years, the moisture retention stresses the garlic
~ mulch insulates soil, spurring later spring emergence
straw old hay compost deciduous leaves through a chipper/shredder grass clippings biotella row cover
Side-Step Common Mistakes
Here are six little keys we've learned over the years to grow the largest, healthiest & most delicious garlic possible! And shallots too, like these French Greys:
~ to sow small stock
~ to plant too early
~ to skimp on fertility
~ to sow cloves upside down
~ to sow too close
~ to not sow deep enough
Growing, eating and sharing our abundance of garlic and shallots is one of our greatest pleasures!
May these keys we've learned throughout the years surround you with beauty and abundance for many seasons to come :)
Sow Seeds & Sing Songs,
Join hundreds of gardeners in Fruition's online courses!
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How to Grow
Gorgeous Garlic & Shallots Organically!
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You'll have full access to the course for one year and its principles will amplify your abundance well beyond your garlic, even beyond your garden.
access to hundreds of exclusive, in-depth video tutorials a rich online forum with hundreds of members where you can ask any question any time for community support (including me!) and inspiration, as well weekly updates with seasonal deep-dives of diverse subjects monthly live Q & A
Only $8/month, Flourish Garden Club surrounds you with confidence and skills to grow the garden of your dreams. You're welcome to come and go any time. Email me,
firstname.lastname@example.org, if you'd love more info :)
To dig into Flourish, your
first month is freewith code LETSFLOURISH.
"Though I studied agriculture in college and have grown food for 25 years, I have never experienced such a comprehensive, practical and accessible gardening resource as Flourish. Petra's personal guidance makes you feel Flourish was created just for you."
- Adam Kelinson (chef, ethnobotanist, nutritionist)