Garlic is one of my favorite crops. It has many outstanding qualities that recommend it to a professional grower as well as to hobbyists. Not only is it a great crop to grow, but it holds tremendous value across many culinary traditions. As you can see above, in the past I have planted garlic alongside everything from carrots and radishes to lettuce and bok choy.
This year I am forging a new path. My goal is to produce garlic with minimal outside inputs other than water for irrigation and the waste wood chips for the pathways. I've dedicated 2/3 of the market garden space to a novel rotation which sees my own seed garlic from 2020 carefully planted to increase bulb size in a monoculture. The garlic will be followed by super diverse cover crops in order to build fertility with minimal or zero off-site nutrients.
I'm choosing monocultures this year because, quite frankly, I sold all my large garlic bulbs for food in 2020 and was left with smaller sized seed garlic for planting. I've now planned an entire garden with its own rotation exclusively for seed production so that I don't mix the two purposes again. The monocultures will allow swifter garden care and reduce competition. There is a long road to travel towards a situation where I can produce all of my own seed garlic at a desirable size and cultivate high quality garlic for sale alongside vegetables without outside inputs.
Once this season's garlic is harvested in July, I will immediately plant (or even intercrop earlier) super diverse cover crops that will get well established and flower before winter. The bees at Lillklobb will harvest pollen and nectar from these covers to help store up honey for the cold months ahead, which will be appreciated by my beekeeper who is advancing with his minimial-feeding, sustainable beekeeping methods.
Then in 2022, I will once again seed more cover crops into those rows and let them grow until September. That means the soil will be treated to 9 months of root exudates from dozens of species of plants in order to restore and improve the ground for the next set of garlic in October.
If I can produce high quality garlic with minimal intervention and very few outside resources, then it should be possible to grow nearly any vegetable in a similar manner.
You can help me take the first steps towards developing a regenerative garlic production model by preordering a share of this season's garlic harvest in advance.