Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Onions and garlic

I've been growing garlic for awhile -- incredibly easy and remarkably delicious fresh. Green garlic is a farmer's market staple in trendy markets in Southern California (I know this because I listen to an interesting podcast from KCRW, a public radio station in Santa Monica, CA, called 'Good Food.' I discovered green garlic by accident, as I have had to harvest it early in the past (before the satellite garden) to make room for the summer tomatoes, peppers, and squash in my garden rotations in the main vegetable garden.

I planted lots of garlic, onions, and potatoes in the satellite garden, as I knew any emerging woodchucks wouldn't be interested. Sure enough, before s/he was relocated, all that disappeared were the lonely broccoli relatives that I thought I'd try, hidden among the onion plants. Hrrmph. But now that s/he is on to hopefully greener pastures, I'm thinking about harvesting more of the garlic early, and planting some other things.

Two onion relatives that I'm growing for the first time are quite interesting. A pot of 'Welsh onions' - Allium fistulosum -acquired at a local nursery last summer, divided and put in containers and adjacent to the garlic beds have flourished, becoming huge. I've been pulling them up along the edges and using them like green onions in stir-frys. A favorite podcast, The Alternative Kitchen Garden, mentions that there are both white and red varieties. A fellow sustainable gardening blogger in England grows the red variety as a perennial bunching onion, a plant that his grandfather grew.

I love learning about plants and their stories and where they came from. Certainly 'Welsh onions' fit that -- they're not Welsh, but Asian, so we really should be calling them Japanese bunching onions. But how did a pot of Welsh onions, labeled somewhere at a herb company, make its way to a small nursery in Pendleton, South Carolina, where I bought it? And my fellow gardeners in England are growing it. What fun!

These are red shallots, growing next to garlic. I'm not sure how to harvest shallots, but I'm sure they'll be tasty.

4 comments:

  1. I love garlic. And yours looks like it's thriving. (The header photo is so peaceful...very nice.)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mmmmm two of my favourite things :) I want to grow both of these someday. Is green garlic the same thing as garlic scapes?

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  3. The garlic really is looking robust this year! Amy, I realized, too, that I'm using the term green garlic a little loosely. I was describing fresh young garlic cloves, which I harvested early. They're delicious without maturing or curing. I think that green garlic (as sold in farmer's markets) are the young young, spring shoots that emerge from tiny cloves sown in late winter, and then are harvested early. I've enjoyed trying different types of specialty growers-- I had no idea that there were so many different sorts.

    Also, thanks for the comment about the header, Nancy. It's the view from my study window.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The garlic really is looking robust this year! Amy, I realized, too, that I'm using the term green garlic a little loosely. I was describing fresh young garlic cloves, which I harvested early. They're delicious without maturing or curing. I think that green garlic (as sold in farmer's markets) are the young young, spring shoots that emerge from tiny cloves sown in late winter, and then are harvested early. I've enjoyed trying different types of specialty growers-- I had no idea that there were so many different sorts.

    Also, thanks for the comment about the header, Nancy. It's the view from my study window.

    ReplyDelete

Please share your thoughts. I enjoy hearing from fellow nature observers, as well as whomever else drops by.

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