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Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Little Garden: Green Onions & Garlic

 This past winter, I decided it was time to revamp my planter, mainly because I was tired of being out of green onion and garlic. Years ago, I grew these two items in pots, not really with the intentions of having a lot of them on hand, but merely as a way to store them. Green onions are so easy to plant, even if your only purpose in planting them is to store them. I used to buy a cluster of green onions, chop up the three or four my recipe called for and end up throwing the rest out because they went bad. Then I read a post on about an easy way to save and reuse green onion.

Basically, you keep it in a cup with fresh water and cut off the green portion only. Use that part for your recipe. Then allow the onion to stay in a fresh cup of water and watch it grow back. You should be able to do this several times before the onion won’t grow back. When that happens, you can simply use the whole thing. While that won’t save you a ton of money (green onions are rather cheap), it will allow you to avoid wasting food, and I love that idea.

After doing this once, I realized I could do it much easier in my backyard planter. To allow our sandbox to work as a real planter, we had to drill holes in the bottom. My sweet hubby drilled about five of them like the dots on the five side of dice to get it ready for our second attempt at gardening. Since I planted my batch of onions I bought from the grocery store, we've been cooking with it for about eight months now, and the green onions are thriving. If you are like me and don't have the time, patience, space, or skill to grow a real garden, you can still make a small onion and garlic garden. To grow your own green onions, follow these easy steps:

  1. Make sure your container is in a spot where it will receive direct sunlight and has at least 6-8 inches of good soil.
  2. Then, all you have to do is plant the green onions about one inch in the ground after you have cut off the majority of the green stem for cooking. The bulb will be completely underground while the 1-2 inch green stem will stick out.
  3. Plant them in rows about 1 ½ inches apart.
  4. Keep the soil moist, weed if necessary, and fertilize every few weeks.
  5. Whenever you need fresh green onion, cut off some of the green stems, leaving about 1 inch at the base.
Growing Garlic is about as simple. Years ago, my aunt gave me some garlic she had grown. I loved it because the cloves were huge. It wasn’t elephant garlic, but it was nearly that big. I grew some in a pot for about a year before I got distracted with babies. Thankfully, during a summer visit, my aunt brought more of her wonderful garlic for me. I plan to cook with some now and save a few bulbs to plant in October. Back in the fall, I had already planted some I had bought at the grocery store. If you buy from your grocery store, make sure it’s locally grown garlic that hasn’t been treated to prevent rooting. An easier option is to buy garlic from your local farmer’s market in the summer, and store it in a warm, dry place until October. 

Here’s how to plant garlic:

1. As with the green onions, make sure your container is in a spot where it will receive direct sunlight and has at least 8 inches of good soil. Deeper is better because a garlic’s roots like to spread out.

2. Divide the garlic cloves, picking the largest for your garden and cooking with the smaller cloves.
3. Dig a shallow hole, about 2-3 inches deep and set one clove in it, making sure you put the flat part at the bottom as that will become the roots. Cover the clove with about an inch of soil.

4. Dig holes about 5 inches apart.
5. Keep soil moist, weed if necessary, and fertilize every few weeks.

6. Also, cut off the stems as they grow so your garlic plant will work harder at growing nice large bulbs.

7. If you plant your cloves in the fall, they should be ready in June or July. Yes, you have to be patient!

I use an organic fertilizer according to the directions on the package and check the soil for water and weeds periodically, but I rarely have weeds because of the box. It's a low-maintenance gardening project that I enjoy because it shows my children how we can produce our own food without the intensity of more complicated crops and the need for a lot of space. I think it's perfect for beginners or for people, like me, whose thumbs are less than green.  


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  1. I've tried green onions, but I've always wanted to grow garlic. Now I know where to come when I am ready. (My thumb's not very green either, but I'm learning!)

    Thanks for sharing this week at One Creative Weekend! Have a great weekend!

    I'm pinning this to my gardening board.

  2. I just found this post and your blog. I've been meaning to buy some galic bulbs and start my own little garlic now you've just reminded me to get it done!!! Thanks for sharing.
    Im now following you from COME SEE ME.

  3. We have a garden and have never done garlic, and we use tons of it! We will have to plant some.

  4. Great idea! I never thought of growing garlic before!

  5. Oh!! I'm so going to try and plant garlic!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer... From Dream To Reality!

  6. Great idea! Thanks for linking up on Saturday Show and Tell. I hope you'll be back again this week with more great stuff.

  7. I will definitely have to try this! I have a small garden and love anything that is easy to grow and edible.

  8. Awesome idea, I definitely want to try this! Thanks for linking this up to The Fun In Functional!


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