Lesson 1 - Patience. As it was our first attempt growing garlic we ended up pulling a good amount early as a way to check our progress, and use some of the garlic when it was still young and fresh. We also pulled the garlic a little on the early side. Next year we will still probably pull some spring garlic, but maybe a little less, and I will try and be more patient and give the garlic the final few weeks of growth it needs.
Lesson 2 - Salt marsh hay & leaves are an excellent overwintering mulch. After planting the garlic, walking onions, and relocating some chives last fall I covered them all in a thick layer of fallen leaves and salt marsh hay, and when Gail and I returned in April and cleared away the straw and leaves I found all the garlic, walking onions, and chives were flourishing!
Lesson 3- find garlic you like & plant more of it! The elephant garlic produced the biggest heads but the German Purple & Ukrainian hard neck varieties had the most flavor, while the soft neck produced smaller heads with a lighter flavor. I have set aside some of the best Ukrainian & German Purple heads we grew for planting this fall, as well as picking up additional heads from the farms that grow them.
All in all between the farms and the harvested garlic we set aside I should be able to plant in a larger bed this fall, leading to more garlic next year! Hopefully we will get enough next summer that I can self seed the following year!