Harmonious Homestead
Connecting Farms & Families In Central Ohio since 2010


News, recipes, and stories from food systems work 

Garden Experiments 2014

I don't believe much of anything that doesn't have some evidence to go along with it. Maybe I have issues with authority, or maybe I'm too well-trained as a scientist, but sometimes I don't even believe evidence provided by other people. I like to test things myself. potato leaves

The garden is my experimental lab. I tested the 'potato towers grow twenty times more potatoes' theory, twice, and now definitively believe that the only advantage of potato towers is ease of harvest.

Two years ago, I sought proof for the garlic growing wisdom that one should remove the scape for the garlic plant to produce a bigger bulb. I planted a large patch of seed garlic. I split the patch down the middle and removed half the garlic scapes for cooking - they usually come up in early June - and left the rest as is. They grew beautiful flowers. At harvest time, we saw clearly that the plants with scapes removed produced bigger bulbs.

garlic scapes comparison

2014 Garden Experiments

This year, I've set up trials to answer these garden-related questions:

  1. Which is better for production - organic seed garlic from out of state or high quality, locally grown garlic? I planted three varieties of garlic from multiple producers to answer this question. I am running the trial in two separate locations to eliminate location variables.
  2. Are seed potatoes worth the cost? Organic culinary potatoes sprout readily and have grown well for me before. I question whether $6/pound seed potatoes are any better than sprouted $2/pound organic grocery potatoes. Because of the availability of seed stock, I wasn't able to choose varieties to directly compare but we can still measure yield from the four varieties planted (one seed stock, one grocery store and two saved over from last year's planting).
  3. Can I grow artichokes in Ohio? If so, where? I grew four varieties of artichoke from seed and am planting them in locations around the garden including in the hoop house, the hugelkultur, and in regular beds.  Alex and I fondly remember artichokes from our year living in Monterey, California and we would love to have a source of fresh artichokes again.

artichoke seedling

Experimenting in the garden excites me and gives me a chance to explore my limits while learning new things to pass on to others.

What are your garden experiments this year?