SG514 Sarah Griffin-Boubacar of Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply on Planting Cover Crops, Shallots and Garlic

Sarah Griffin-Boubacar Still Growing 6ftmamaIn this episode of Still Growing…(SG 514), I feature Sarah Griffin-Boubacar of Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply.  Sarah teaches us about Cover Crops and growing your own Shallots and Garlic in your garden.

Sarah got to work on an organic coffee and fruit farm in Hawaii after college. I asked her if she had any lasting impressions from that experience to share. Here’s what she said:

I will say that a field of coffee (I don’t think people realize that coffee is related to gardenias)… so, a field of coffee in bloom smells like heaven. They call it “Kona Snow” because the fields will be all white with these incredible sweet smelling flowers. You drive down the road and stick your head out because it smells so good.

– Sarah Griffin-Boubacar

Sarah has many talents and skills which she shares in classes at Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply – teaching everything from Irrigation to Cheese-making to Canning & Preserving. She gets to spend her days at work helping gardeners!

 I tell my staff all the time, people consider calling us ‘doing research‘. So when you’re surprised that they haven’t done any other research, remember that they are doing research… they’re asking you.

-Sarah Griffin-Boubacar

Don’t forget to leave a comment in the comments section below!  Peaceful Valley | is giving away 1 lb of Music Garlic (it’s an organic, hard neck garlic) and 1 quart of Peaceful Valley brand Organic Liquid Kelp.  (They suggest soaking the garlic cloves overnight in diluted Liquid Kelp before planting).  For more information, check out theiGarlic page with all the products, and links to their growing garlic video, and fabulous garlic articles. The video itself is here and an article about Music garlic is here.

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This Episode: SG514 Sarah Griffin-Boubacar of Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply on Planting Cover Crops, Shallots and Garlic

Here’s the main topics covered in this interview:

I have a microscope in my office and it’s my hobby to try and identify insects. I also do the soil test analysis.

– Sarah Griffin-Boubacar, Store Manager, Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply

  • Canning & Preserving (14:53)
  • Cheese-making (16:40)
  • Mastering Irrigation (18:18)
  • An overview of Cover Crops (19:35)

A cover crop is a crop that is grown for the protection and enrichment of the soil.

– Sarah Griffin-Boubacar

  • The ideal time to plant cover crops (21:15)

You basically want to plant your cover crop as soon as you pull out whatever was [in your garden] before. So as soon as you pick your last tomato and pull your plant out, then you want to plant your cover crop.

– Sarah Griffin-Boubacar

  • Application of cover crop seed (22:00)

What I always point out to people is that the two most expensive additions to your soil in the Spring in terms of fertilizer are Nitrogen and Organic Matter. So all that manure or compost that you’re adding to the garden is expensive.  And, so is Nitrogen – whether you use feather meal or blood meal or whatever you use.  That’s the most expensive part. All the potassium and phosphorus – that’s not expensive. It’s the nitrogen – the organic matter. So, by planting cover crops, you’re fixing Nitrogen; you’re adding nitrogen and organic matter – all for just the price of the seed. That, I think, if nothing else, would be a key part of why you would plant cover crops.

– Sarah Griffin-Boubacar

  •  Key considerations for choosing the right cover crop (26:44)

You want to really think about what you want to do with the soil after you’re done cover cropping.  You really want to think about what the goal is and how the cover crop will help you get to that goal.

– Sarah Griffin-Boubacar

Soil Builder Mix Cover Crop

  • The benefits of Fenugreek (31:00)
  • What happens at the soil level when you plant a cover crop ( 32:30)
  • Covering seed with straw or row covers (35:15)
  • Perennial Cover Crop (36:30)
  • Cover Crops and Test Areas (38:00)
  • Tips for first time Cover Crop success (39:00)
  • The value of inoculant and how to apply it (40:30)
  • Harvesting cover crops (42:00)
  • Introducing Shallots (46:20)
  • The French Red Shallot (47:15)

French Red Shallot

Music Garlic

  • Soil requirements for Garlic & Shallots (1:04:00)
  • When to harvest Garlic (1:06:00)
  • Visit Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply onlineWebsite

Mentioned on Still Growing… this week

Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply Information & Products:

The Amaryllidaceae Family

Tall Tales, Short Poems & Outtakes

Still growing...

Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
Jennifer Ebeling
Join the Still Growing Listener Community on Facebook! Click here


  1. Jennifer Ebeling on October 18, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Hi there, everyone! Don’t forget to leave a comment here to get a chance to win the Music Garlic package give-away!
    Good Luck!

  2. Margaret Lanphier on October 19, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    I’ve only tried planting sprouted grocery store garlic! Got little tiny bulbs after that – kind of a fun experiment.

  3. Ulises Benitez on October 19, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    For years I’ve planted many garlic bulbs (from the store) in the ground but so far I haven’t harvested a good crop.

    Will they grow better if I plant them in pots with good organic soil?

  4. Sharon Yocum on October 22, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    I will have to try presoaking the garlic before planting. And thank you for a chance to win some garlic.

  5. WANDA PENNER on October 23, 2013 at 7:00 am


  6. Maribeth Dekker on October 23, 2013 at 7:03 am

    I would love to give growing these a try.

  7. Michele Bergh on October 25, 2013 at 9:52 am

    I love this. I was just reading an article about how most of the garlic around here is not good to eat and wad thinking of growing my own along with a few other things. I’ve been canning more as well and love it! Jennifer, how you break down the podcast is wonderful!! Thank you.

  8. Liv Lane on October 25, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Cool giveaway! I have never planted garlic, but that would be a fun idea to do with the kids!

  9. Lisa Sink on October 26, 2013 at 9:02 am

    I have tried to grow garlic a couple of times, and have either had no heads or small ones. Everything else in the garden does great, and at least having the garlic in my raised beds helps repel insects. i have never mulched in the winter (western colorado), so maybe that’s what is wrong since at this point the soil is composed of 15 years of compost additions and should have plenty of organic matter. i have some good seed garlic from my local organic grower at the farmer’s market, and will try again this year and try mulching. wish me luck.

  10. Sj Smith on October 28, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    I’d love to win the garlic! I’ve only tried growing store bought; but have been successful. I plant it mostly here and there, as a companion plant. It’s good for roses (if you don’t use sprays), tomatoes, and around my young stone fruit trees to prevent borers. I’ve never tried other varieties and would love a chance to do so.

  11. Sj Smith on October 28, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    And I just subscribed on itunes. Glad to find you!

  12. Susan Michael Barrett on November 12, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Doing a cross my heart and fingers dance for that garlic give-away. Heating up the pan for marinara right after this post. 🙂

    • Jennifer Ebeling on November 14, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      Hi Susan! I just made some marinara last night – spaghetti is always a sure thing at our house!

  13. Andi Graves on November 14, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Thanks for the chance to win some garlic, would love to!

  14. Harmony Harrison on November 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I’ve always been in love with garlic and have been curious about growing it – though I’m curious (and rather clueless) about growing just about anything. But someday I’ll be ready, and when I am, I’ll be sure to come back here for a good garlic education. Thanks for the resource – I’m bookmarking this post.

    • Jennifer Ebeling on November 14, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      Thanks Harmony. The garden is always waiting for us…

  15. Kelly McKenzie on November 14, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Love, love, love garlic. Always try and get some at our farmer’s markets here as it’s so much better than the stuff I get at grocery store. I’m fighting with Susan MB over who can get her pan hottest first …

  16. Linda S Watson on November 14, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    I love knowing that the soil is alive, that it is not just what I plant in, but a part of what I plant. And garlic, well, there’s life without garlic? 🙂

  17. Jennifer Ebeling on November 14, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Hey Everyone! Thanks for commenting. Michele Bergh is the winner of the Music Garlic! Thanks for listening to the show and don’t forget – until the ground is frozen, we can still get those bulbs planted!!

  18. Jennifer Ebeling on December 15, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    Glad you found me.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  19. Jennifer Ebeling on January 7, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Glad you found me. Thanks for stopping by!

  20. […] In this weeks episode of Still Growing (SG524), Sarah Griffin Boubacar walks us through the Peaceful Valley Grow Organic Seed Catalog. Sarah is the first repeat guest on Still Growing. She was featured in episode SG514 Planting Cover Crops, Shallots, & Garlic.  […]

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