5 Reasons To Grow Garlic

5 Reasons To Grow Garlic

If you ask someone who grows garlic, they’ll tell you that garlic is one of the greatest gifts you can pull from your garden. Not only are they incredibly easy to grow but they multiply and store extremely well, giving you unlimited garlic year after year. Why would someone want unlimited tasty, health benefiting, organic, garlic? We thought you might ask. Here are the top 5 reasons you might want to consider growing garlic this season, before it’s too late.

1.) Garlic is Medicine

Throughout history garlic has been famously used to fight and prevent illnesses. When crushed, chopped or chewed it’s able to release many healing properties including Sulfur, Allicin and A-allyl cysteine (1). Low in calorie, garlic is also a strong source of vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Selenium and Manganese (2).

Where Garlic Can Heal

Used as a topical rub it can be used to treat fungus, bug bites and warts. When eaten raw it prevents and reduces colds by boosting immunity. As an oil extract, garlic can reduce inflamed joints and muscles by massaging the treated area. As a supplement in any form, garlic has been known to cure lung infections, blood pressure and more. More importantly, homegrown garlic has been proven to have higher levels of Allicin which produces all the health benefiting properties in garlic.

2.) Homegrown Garlic Is Better Than Store Bought

It’s not often, if ever at all that you walk into a grocery store with isles of garlic to choose from. In most grocery stores, you get to choose from jarred garlic or a single selection of garlic bulbs. When you stop to think about how many different types of recipes require garlic, you might want to shop for the best one for your dish. Each variety of garlic offers it’s own flavor profile to keep your recipes from all tasting the same.

Garlic Scapes

Not to mention garlic scapes! As pictured above, the garlic scape is a delicious stem that looks similar to a long bean. With an asparagus texture and scallion flavor, garlic scapes are produced from hardneck garlic. You can cook garlic scapes in recipes, on it’s own or eat raw. Garlic growers world wide choose hardneck garlic for their delicious garlic scapes, which you just don’t get in the store.

Garlic Varieties

Name:

Flavor:

Per bulb:

Size:

Use:

Notes:

Bogatyr

Strong, Fiery

5-7 Cloves

Large

Sautéing, Roasting

Strong, long-lasting heat. One of the hottest hardneck varieties

Duganski

Strong, Fiery

7-10 Cloves

Large

Tomato Sauces, Hearty Soups, Slow Cooker Chilli

Fiery flavor that mellows out to a rich garlic aftertaste

German Red

Strong, Spicy

5-7 Cloves

Large

Garlic Rich Dishes, Mashed Potatoes, Roasted

Great full-bodied and long-lasting flavor. Stores very well

German White

Strong, Robust

5-7 Cloves

Medium

Pesto, Sautéed Vegetables, Sauces, Marinades

Great for roasting. Stores very well. Grows great in northern locations

Legacy

Medium, Strong

7-12 Cloves

Medium

Raw, Curries, Pickled, Dried

Great flavor. Easy to peel. Cold hardy.

Metechi

Strong, Hot

5-7 Cloves

Large

Raw, Salads, Dressings

Cold Hardy, vigorous grower and long lasting in storage.

Mexican

Rich, Medium

8-16 Cloves

Small, Medium

Baked, raw, salads, salsa

Milder flavor when baked. Colorful.

Music

Medium, Strong

4-7 Cloves

Large

Roasted, Caramelized, gamey meats, vinaigrettes, infused oil

Cold hardy. Very hot when eaten raw. Great for roasting.

Siberian

Strong, Hot

5-9 Cloves

Large

 Greek marinades, mashed potatoes, cream sauce

Mild flavor when stored. Great for roasting/cooking

Spanish Roja

Rich, Spicy

8-9 Cloves

Medium

Cold pasta, salsa, salad dressing

Rich complex flavor, long-lasting taste. Excellent for cold climates.

3.) Garlic Is Easy To Grow

After a beautiful summer of gardening, you can clean up your garden beds and leave them empty until spring or you can keep planting! Garlic is one of the best ways to use space in your garden that isn’t going to be used over the winter. They’re a great fall bulb that you can plant four weeks before the ground freezes. They don’t take up much space and they’re ready to harvest late spring/early summer!

How To Plant Garlic:

1.) Break bulbs into individual cloves. Make sure cloves are hard and solid. Plant larger cloves as they will produce larger bulbs – you can use the smaller cloves for dinner!

2.) Plant root plate end down, 3 inches deep, in well-drained soil.

3.) Add organic matter/ manure or mulch on top. Raised beds are recommended, as soil should be well draining. Spacing of at least 5 inches on 1-foot rows will provide adequate sunshine, any extra spacing will allow bulbs to grow larger.

4.) Keep soil moist.

4.) Garlic Is Best Fermented

Fermented garlic (also known as black garlic) is the process of storing your garlic with herbs, salt and water in a cold place for an extended amount of time. Because garlic is a perennial that multiplies, you can expect to have a lot of it. Fermenting garlic is not only a great way to use all your garlic without any waste, but it’s also delicious and healthy! Studies show that fermenting garlic creates enhanced bioactivity, which allows us to function better. Black garlic benefits many different functions in our bodies such as; Antioxidation, Antiallergic, Antidiabetic, Anti-inflammation, Anticarcinogenic (3).

How to Make Black Garlic:

1.) Peel as many garlic cloves as you wish to store.

2.) Fill your mason jar with the peeled cloves. Leaving 1 inch space at the top.

3.) Create your brine by adding water, 2 tablespoons salt and any additional herbs of your choice (fresh oregano, basil, pepper or pickling spice).

4.) Store your garlic in a cool, dark place for 3-6 weeks. TIP: Opening the jars once a day is a method called “burping” used to get rid of carbon dioxide.

5.) Once completed, store in the fridge! The longer the fermentation the better the taste!

Once ready, you can use your Black garlic to add to soups, dips, marinades, dressings, to treat ailments and more!

5.) It’s Hard To Get Organic Garlic

How well do you know your average grocery store garlic? Do you know where it comes from? Or, how it got there? For most, it’s just cheap and easy to get. The organic conscious consumer might be surprised to learn that over 90% of garlic is produced in China (4). Meaning that getting garlic into our grocery stores isn’t only environmentally harmful, but it’s also costly. This has lead to the price of garlic increasing substantially.

Careful of Bleach

Back to our organic conscious consumer, garlic isn’t as bright white and perfect as you might think. Unlike what you’ll find in a grocery store, garlic is naturally very spotty and marked. Yet, it’s picture perfect appearance is achieved by using a toxic bleaching technique used to extend shelf life. Unfortunately, even when indicated that it is “organic” chances are that it is not which only takes a quick trip to Dr. Google to learn more about (5).

What Do You Think?

Ask anyone who grows garlic and they’ll tell you it’s healthier, it’s easy, it tastes better and it’s addictive! At Wildwood Outdoor Living Centre, we have over 40 years of garlic experience. Need help choosing the right variety or have questions? Reach out to us any time, we’re happy to help you grow!

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(1) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-garlic#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3
(2) https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/ingredient-focus-garlic
(3) https://www.webmd.com/diet/fermented-garlic-health-benefits#1
(4) https://www.wsj.com/articles/heres-something-that-stinks-high-garlic-prices-11582196400
(5) https://www.google.com/search?q=bleached+garlic&oq=bleached+garlic&aqs=chrome..69i57j0i512l2j0i22i30l2j0i390.7903j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Fall Shrubs

Fall Shrubs

What’s A Shrub?

Is it a tree? Is it a bush? No, it’s shrub! Shrubs are like the middle sibling to trees and bushes. Unlike trees, shrubs are much smaller. They grow a central base with many small and woody branches stemming from the bottom to the top. Yet, shrubs are still slightly bigger than a bush with much less branches and more shape. Shrubs come in many different colors, shapes and sizes. Some with berries, some with flowers and some with both. They build beautiful landscapes, create privacy and help us breathe. Shrubs also provide food for the bees, the birds and sometimes, even us humans.

Why Fall?

If you have tried planting a shrub in the summer you know that it takes up a lot of time and energy caring for them. Summertime plantings are very stressful on all plants as it’s too hot and too dry. If you’re not outside watering your shrub with gallons of water every day, it will start to struggle and this is when you’ll notice your shrub leaves starting to fall off or it might just become droopy and sad looking.

If you’re looking to plant shrubs, fall is the best time to do so. The warm soil and crisp cool air that fall brings, promotes root growth for plants. An established root system is what you’ll want to keep your shrubs in place, allowing them to grow healthy and strong before the ground freezes. Here are a few unique shrubs to inspire you while it’s still the perfect time to plant them.

Snowberry – Native to North America, this shrub belongs to the honeysuckle family and is often left alone by the browsing deer. The Snowberry is known for it’s gorgeous pink, white, purple or red berries. Growing 1-6 ft tall and wide. Snowberry prefer full sun to partial shade with a minimum of 4 hours of indirect sunlight. If you live in zones 3-7, with dry or poor soil, the Snowberry is a great option for you as they can tolerate poor soil conditions.

Pussy Willow (Salix caprea) – Native to North America, the pussy willow is also know as goat willow. Historically used for its anti-inflammatory properties- it has been used by herbalists to treat joint and muscle pain, fever, headache and more! Pussy willows grow in zones 4-8, in full to partial shade with a minimum of 4 hours of direct sunlight each day. You can expect this large shrub to grow 15-25′ tall and 12-25′ wide. Making this a great shrub choice for anyone looking to build privacy.

Hydrangea  With over 75 different species the Hydrangea is native to both Asian and America. Depending on the variety you choose, Hydrangeas can blossom in the spring, summer or fall with large scented or unscented flowers. In zones 3-7, this shrub loves morning sun but not afternoon sun. Plant your Hydrangea in well drained soil, facing north or south. Hydrangeas are famous for their beautiful color variations, making them a popular shrub choice for those looking to add some some color to their landscape.

Viburnum – Belonging to the Adoxaceae family. Viburnums can grow anywhere between 2-30ft are there are both evergreen and deciduous varieties.  They have clusters of blooms at the end of each branch, ranging from sweet to unpleasantly scented depending on the type. Grown in zones 2-9, Viburnums prefer moist and well-drained soil with plenty of sunlight. These shrubs provide both berries and flowers which are great for attracting the birds and bees! If you are looking to attract more wildlife to your garden- a viburnum will do the trick.

Pyracantha  – A very thorny evergreen shrub that is native to Europe and Asian is not on the deer menu. This perennial shrub can grow up to 12 ft tall and wide which makes a great privacy screen. Pyracantha have fragrant white blossoms in late spring with long lasting orange, red or yellow berries thereafter depending on the type you choose. A tasty treat for the birds, the bees and the butterflies. The berries on Pyracantha can last through winter giving you a much needed burst of colour. This shrub is a fan favorite for gardeners looking to get a fresh summer feel all year round.

American Elderberry – Native to Europe and America, the Elderberry is one of the easiest shrubs to grow. With many variations, you can grow this shrub in wide variety of growing conditions and zones. The American Elderberry can grow up to 12 ft tall and 6 feet wide. In zones 3-9, this shrub prefers full sun to partial shade and almost any type of soil that is well draining. Once fully ripened in August or September, the Elderberry can be harvested for cooking or eating raw. The perfect shrub for snacking!

Don’t Forget

If you’re ready to take the next step by introducing a shrub to your yard, just be sure to read the care instructions. Each shrub comes in many different varieties, and you want to make sure the shrub you choose is the going to thrive in your growing conditions. For more shrub inspiration, check out this episode of Get Up and Grow: Shrubs and Tree’s That Add Brilliant Fall Color to Your Garden, with President of Wildwood Outdoorliving, Gord and Chek News Journalist Jasmine Bala, below. Happy Gardening!

Have a question? Let us know at info@wildwoodoutdoorliving.com.

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Summer Watering Tips

Summer Watering Tips

Watering during the summer can be tricky, especially during a heatwave, but we have some tips for you!

 

💧Choosing the right time: Water in the early morning when possible. If you can beat the heat, this gives your plants enough time to soak up all the water they need before it heats up and the water begins to evaporate. If you’re not an early bird, then choose a time of day when your garden is a little cooler.
💧Water deeply: Water deeply & right at the roots. Soaker hoses with wand attachments work great! Watering deeply ensures you’re getting right to the roots. It’s better to water deeply, less frequently when possible. We also recommend watering right at the base of the plant. Not only is it a more effective way to hydrate your plants, but letting water sit on your plants’ leaves in the hot sun can cause damage and scorching.
💧Don’t overwater: Just because it’s toasty out there, doesn’t mean your plants want to be drowned! Keep an eye on your soil. It should never be so wet that water is pooling, and you should allow some time to dry a little between waterings so the roots can get oxygen between waterings.
💧Mulch: Adding 2” – 3” of mulch makes a huge difference! Mulching helps your soil retain its moisture longer, so your plants have an opportunity to absorb more water before drying out in the hot sun. It’s also a great way to conserve water, as you’ll need to water less frequently on hot days.

💧Self-Watering: Take the guesswork out of it! Self-watering planters let you sit back and enjoy the sunshine while your plants remain optimally cared for over a long period of time! Just fill the water reservoir and let it do the rest. Our favourite brand of self-watering planters is Lechuza Canada. We have some smaller sizes available online with a few more sizes available in store.

p.s. Lechuza’s sister company is Playmobil! How cool is that?!

We hope these tips help keep your garden cool all summer long. Do you have any watering tips? Let us know!