We grow garlic!
Everyone always seems so surprised when they hear that we grow garlic and it seems that we're always answering with, "yes, we grow garlic, in Wisconsin, and it's really great too." And after they try it, they agree. So, we've decided to create this site to tell you about all the fantastic garlic that we grow here on our little farm just north of Madison, WI. We've been growing garlic as a hobby here for 12 years now and we really have a lot to talk about!
Please take a few moments to look around and be sure to check out our online garlic catalog. We'll be telling you about the nearly one hundred eighty-two varieties of garlic we're currently growing, (it's over 200 varieties now actually) adding photos, sharing recipes for garlic and garlic scapes, and telling you about how we grow our garlic - just in case you've ever wondered about how garlic is grown or if you're looking for tips on how to grow your own garlic in a cold climate.
Click here to view our online catalog We do accept Paypal.
Any questions or comments? To contact us via email, please use the form on the bottom of the "About Us" page. You may also email us directly at: karenandmike @wegrowgarlic.com (remove the space between our names and "@" before you send)
For a listing of all the varieties we have planted see the Our Garlic page, we'll be updating it soon with the new varieties we've added. Thanks so much to all who purchased our 2011 garlic crop! - you've encouraged us to continue growing extra garlic and to continue with our crazy little family garlic growing hobby.
See below for some photos of the current and prior growing seasons - we'll keep adding photos of the season as it progresses.
July 7, 2012, It is literally hot enough to fry bacon outside with actual temps exceeding 100 degrees - we tried frying some bacon in the driveway today while were harvesting garlic and it worked quite well. It was a very strange growing year. We really did not have a winter so the garlic was growing way ahead of schedule and it's been very hot and dry here with mid April being the last "real" rain here at the farm. We are in such a severe drought that even large trees are dying and yet the garlic is looking great. Garlic must be some really hardy stuff! We plan to start taking orders after harvest either around mid July or when we call it quits and come in out of the heat. (or melt in the field???)
November 6, 2011, We have now finished our planting for the 2012 season. Due to time constraints we decided to plant a bit less again this year but somehow we still managed to add at least 60 new varieties to try out. (it's just too fun to try new ones and see how they perform and then to compare the flavors!) People are always asking about how we space our garlic. We plant in staggered double rows that are about 3 feet apart. The photo shows the view down one of the staggered rows before it's covered. We make the row with our Mantis, set each clove by hand, and cover it by hand with a hoe. No fancy planters here - unless of course you are talking about my fashionable rubber boots? On a warm sunny day it's rather nice to be out. On a cold snowy day - not so much...
July 20, 2011 - Here is a really wonderful sight! It is a tub full of garlic marker tags that we use to mark our varieties in the field which can only mean that we have finished up with yet another harvest. Despite the absolute freezing cold lack of spring that we had this year the garlic is looking really nice. We will be ready for 2011 orders very, very, soon. (just as soon as I'm done updating things as a matter of fact) Please be sure to check out the notes about using the catalog as we will be selling a bit differently this year; it is all explained there. Thanks so much to all the wonderful helpers that made this year's garlic harvest a success! Aren't you glad we finished up before the heat index hit 115? We sure are! By the way, the garlic bulb in the photo below is still going strong. We put it in a baseball display case on a shelf and the features of the "figure" in the bulb have actually gotten even more pronounced with time and it's looking great. It's really amazing to see and it still makes us smile!
October 8, 2010, We started planting our garlic today and I was going to put up a photo of the garlic bulbs being planted but that seemed a bit boring after what we found while breaking the garlic apart for planting. We broke open a bulb of Lorz Italian to find what looks very much like an image of an angel or Jesus or something inside the garlic bulb - see them standing in the middle with outstretched arms or wings? How cool is that? Now what makes this really spooky is the conversation that we were having at the time we found it. (maybe I should buy that lottery ticket and claim my miracle?) If you blow up the photo you can actually see a full face, long hair, and fingers on it - pretty wild! Anyone have an idea of how to preserve this? (at least it's a softneck variety so it will store awhile) It would look really neat in a shadow box. The photo really doesn't do it justice. Have a blessed day and we hope it makes you smile too!
August 29, 2010 - Today we were thrilled and honored to welcome Wisconsin's very own Alice in Dairyland, Christine (Lepple) Lindner, to our farm! We had a wonderful time visiting with Christine and telling her all about our garlic growing hobby and the various garlic varieties that we're growing and planning on adding. For more information on the Alice in Dairyland program and to follow her interesting travels around the state, click here. It was a true pleasure meeting you Christine! It seems that you've inspired our daughter to aspire to become a future Alice in Dairyland. (you'd probably better hide your crown!!) Click here if you'd like to see our interview with Christine on YouTube.
July 16, 2010, Garlic harvest is now complete and we are very pleased to announce there is no Dog House garlic this year so no one has to sleep in the green pup tent this year. We broke a few shovels (not kidding) but harvest went well and the crop looks good. Many, many, many thanks to all who helped out this year. We really appreciate your hard work. What is this rumor we keep hearing that you're all booking a cruise during harvest time next July? You're taking us along right???
June 13, 2010 - The garlic scapes are in full swing here in Wisconsin. They started forming this year on Memorial Day weekend with the Turbans and some of the early varieties. The scapes are the "flower stalks" of the garlic plants on which the bulbil capsules form which contain bulbils or small garlic "seeds." If you are harvesting your scapes to eat, the best time to cut them is just as they start to curl as in the photo. Cut them just above the top leaf of the plant. Garlic harvest is generally two to three weeks after the scapes form so it's not too far off! Now we're just hoping for a little dry weather, it was even raining when this photo was taken....but it's not snow so we won't complain...too much anyway....
May 5, 2010, Our spring weather here in Wisconsin has been a month ahead of schedule and the garlic is loving it! Here is a photo of it this evening enjoying a brisk prairie breeze. It's hard to believe the gnarly little things in the photo below turn into such beautiful plants with just a little warm and sunny weather. The garlic scapes should start forming around the end of May and on into early June. We are really looking forward to eating fresh scapes and making some fresh garlic scape pesto again. If you'd like to be notified when the scapes are ready just drop us an email. We'd be happy to sell you some to try. If you are local we can arrange to have you stop out and pick them up and if you're not local and would like some sent to you, we could arrange that as well. We've already snuck a few bulbs out of the ground to eat as fresh green garlic (use them just as you would green onions) and we can already say that this year's crop is absolutely delicious! We promise we'll try our best not to eat them all before harvest time....
March 14, 2010, The snow drifts in the garlic field were over waist high this winter. Two days ago there was still about a foot of snow covering things out there. Today the snow is gone and there are little twisted gnarly looking green garlic sprouts everywhere. The poor little things were indeed trying their best to grow under the heavy snow all winter as they hadn't yet sprouted before the snow fell last fall. Most importantly though, the yard is full of robins and red winged blackbirds again. Spring is here!!! (of course that means we'll probably have a blizzard within the next week or two...that's Wisconsin weather though!)
December 2009 - Wishing you peace, love, and joy this Holiday Season and best wishes for a wonderful and happy New Year! The garlic is well mulched in white already with over 17 inches of snow just from one recent snow storm. With the warm ground suddenly being blanketed with so much snow all at once, we wouldn't be a bit surprised if the garlic continues growing and sprouting this winter under the snow. We have observed winter growth during similar winter conditions and it's always fascinating to see the garlic in the spring when that happens. It will be interesting to see next spring if that was the case this year too. It's really hard to think of snow as being warm and insulating though isn't it??? That's really not how I normally think of snow...
"Fun-with-Garlic" idea #257: Find a clove that's sprouting roots and use it to make a shadow puppet that looks like a cartoon whale. (It all started with taking a photo of a clove to show how the roots start to form and with a little help from the kids, it just went downhill from there....) Moral of this story? Be sure to eat your hardneck garlic varieties first and save your softnecks to get you through until the next harvest is ready as hardnecks won't store as long. You don't want to run out of garlic! It's also a great time to make garlic powder with those hardnecks. See the bottom of our recipe page for how to make garlic powder.
Nov. 26, 2009 - The 2010 garlic crop is busy sprouting roots. Mike thought I spent the day searching online for the perfect pumpkin pie recipe but...shhhh... I was actually creating a calendar from our garlic photos for a gift for him. (don't worry, the secret is safe; he doesn't look at the website during the "off season") If you'd like to peek at it click here - it will take you to Lulu, a self-publishing site. You can click on "preview" to see it for free. Or to see it on Amazon, click here. You're welcome to order one if you'd like. But...remember...it's a secret...don't tell Mike...shhhhh!! Update - he LOVES his calendar and was surprised!
July 11, 2009 - We just finished up with garlic harvest this afternoon. Here's a shot of the hanging garlic drying in the garlic barn. We will be working on organizing our harvest numbers and will be ready for 2009 garlic orders very soon for shipment starting in August. A big thank you goes to the wonderful crew of helpers we had this year. You all did a fantastic job and we really appreciate all of your hard work! Hopefully you'll still be able to enjoy garlic after smelling it all week.
June 20, 2009, Garlic scape season is in full swing and we've been enjoying them for about a week now. We cut the scapes off as they begin to curl into a circle and then enjoy the fresh garlic flavor in as many ways possible. If anyone has some scape recipes they would like to share, we'd love to try them! Don't forget that you can freeze scapes to enjoy all year. Garlic harvest is just around the corner. If everything stays on schedule we'll be starting with the early varieties on July 3rd and harvesting until we're finished.
April 21, 2009 - It's time for the annual April photo of our sprouting garlic field here on the prairie. When you live in Wisconsin it always seems like such a miracle when you see green sprouting each spring! The garlic is looking good so far. Today was rain mixed with snow and it's supposed to be 78 degrees on Friday; it's typical spring weather in Wisconsin. Ya gotta love it! (the 78 degree part that is!)
November 29, 2008 - The 2009 garlic crop has now been planted and we have over 100 varieties in the ground. We can hardly wait to taste all the new ones! Now it's time to kick back and relax and play with the kids. Thanks so much to everyone who helped us this year and to everyone who bought our garlic! Have a wonderful winter! (and thanks to Sommer Von Behren for the new photo)
August 16, 2008 - The Garlic Shipping Department is hard at work preparing orders for shipment. We still have plenty of garlic for sale in our catalog and the Shipping Department will have your order on it's way to you in about a week after we receive your payment. (that's about how long it takes them to get it into the boxes since the head of the department takes off for a nap every afternoon - wouldn't that be nice?)
July 17, 2008, We have been working like dogs for the past couple of weeks harvesting the garlic and we're finally done. We're going to catch our breath (and clean the house) and then we'll get the online catalog updated within a couple of days and we'll start taking 2008 garlic orders. Thanks so much to everyone who helped us with garlic harvest this year! We promise you will stop smelling like garlic in a week or two...or three...
June 9, 2008, People sometimes ask us about a good way to keep mice and squirrels from digging up their garlic bulbs after they're planted each fall. Enlisting the help of nature is often the best answer. We are blessed with a family of red tailed hawks that help us - they keep a close eye on the garlic field for us. Here's a photo of one of the "new guys." The babies were out learning to fly today and this little guy was taking a rest. By the way, the garlic is looking great and scapes are now appearing.
May 16, 2008, Here's a photo of the garlic field at sunset. It is so nice to see green again after looking at white snow all winter! The garlic is doing well and once we get some warmer weather it should really take off. The hardneck garlics should start forming scapes within a few weeks. Our temperatures have been just a little below average this spring with a couple of late freezes and frosts.
This is a young garlic plant's view of a sunset in mid-May. (sometimes it's just fun to lie in the garlic field and watch the clouds float overhead when you are supposed to be weeding)
April 13, 2008 - The kids, the puppy, and the garlic are all growing! It was an unusual winter with over 100 inches of snow. (more than twice our normal snowfall) It was amazing, beautiful, and awful all at the same time. It's rather interesting, the ground did not seem to freeze this year under the heavy blanket of snow and the garlic sprouts from last fall are still alive and well and growing. It looks like they may not have to send up new sprouts this spring. Garlic is amazing, we learn something new every year.
February 10, 2008, The garlic should be very happy with it's snow cover this year. We're either at or very near to setting a new seasonal snowfall record (76.1 inches) and winter's not over yet! Cabin fever has set in and we're actually looking forward to weeding again. The photo? He's our new webmaster's helper and garlic digger. Just kidding on the garlic digger part - he's already got a full time job playing with the kids. If you're wondering what the garlic field looks like, just stare at a blank piece of white paper for awhile and you'll get the idea. We hope you're all having a great winter. Think spring! We definitely are. Our local groundhog predicted an early spring and we're hoping he's correct.
November 10, 2007, Some of the garlic has already sprouted and is starting to grow. This little guy is going to have a big surprise when winter arrives! Fortunately the garlic will sprout again in the spring and it will be just fine. It's always amazing how fast garlic starts to grow after planting.
The 2008 garlic crop has been planted and has been covered with straw mulch. Now comes the easiest part of growing garlic - do nothing with it and wait for spring.
July 15, 2007 - The hard work of harvest is now over! We have plenty of extra garlic for sale and our Garlic Ordering Department is now standing by ready to receive garlic orders. Click here to go to our online catalog or you can also see the Try Our Garlic page for pricing and availability and how to place your order.
July 14, 2007, we were busy again digging garlic. We have only one more variety to dig tomorrow! Oh, and in case you were wondering, that's Mike's foot and leg in the photo...not Karen's...
July 8, 2007 - It's been a busy weekend and the garlic drying building is slowly starting to fill up with the 2007 garlic crop. It's too bad we can't share the smell of the building with you, it's filled with the most delicious garlic aroma. All of the garlic varieties are really looking great this year. Seeing the pretty garlic bulbs makes all the hard work seem worth it.....although we have to admit that we are starting to seriously question our sanity in regards to growing this much garlic at this point...it may be that we're just a little tired...we'll get over it... We'll start digging the rest of the garlic next weekend. Thanks to all who have helped us this weekend! You're the best!!!
Here's a photo of the 2007 garlic field just as harvest began on the morning of July 6, 2007. Only a few varieties had been harvested when this photo was taken.
Hmmm...looks like someone missed this garlic scape and it formed a bulbil.
The garlic elf was up bright and early and was busy helping wash the freshly harvested garlic. Afterall, it's never too early to start earning money to pay for medical school!
The Garlic Quality Control Inspector was also very busy double checking everyone's work.
A beautiful sunset over the garlic field on June 27, 2007. Just too gorgeous not to share! By the way, the garlic crop is doing well and harvest time is very near! Some of the early varieties may be ready for harvest by around the 4th of July.
It's now May 28, 2007, and it's time for an updated photo of the garlic field. It's looking great and we're expecting some rain this week....perfect timing for good bulb formation. The garlic scapes should be appearing soon!
It's April 29, 2007, and the entire field is looking green. (fortunately the green is garlic and not weeds) All varieties are now up and looking good. Here's a shot of some German Porcelain waving hello in the breeze. What a difference two weeks has made! See below for a shot taken on April 14 to see the difference.
We were a little worried about the overnight lows in the teens in early April as the garlic had already started to sprout but it looks like it made it through just fine! Here's a photo of the sprouting garlic taken April 14, 2007, after the cold and late season snow storm was over.
Freshly harvested Martin's Heirloom Garlic from summer 2006.
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