Thursday, October 29, 2009

it's time to plant the garlic!

Here in New England, there are from what I understand 2 approaches when it comes to planting garlic. The first is to plant it in late Fall, once it's cooled down enough outside that the garlic won't start to sprout early (you want it to wait until Spring). The other is to hold off planting until Spring, and put the garlic in as soon as the ground is workable.

Last year, we planted in October, and as soon as the ground thawed in Spring, we had green shoots of garlic peeking out of the soil. So, since it worked out well, we're planting in October again this year.

To plant garlic, we start with bulbs from a couple different local farms (we had intended to save some of the garlic bulbs we harvested from our own garden for planting, but ended up using them all for cooking. Next year we'll remember to save our own seed stock (I hope!!)).

We split the bulbs into their individual cloves.

Then we take each clove and plant it "pointy side up" so that the tip is just covered with soil (don't plant too deep).

We plant additional cloves every 5 inches. I'm married to an engineer, who does no planting without his trusty tape measure... :-)

We use craft sticks to label our rows, as someone once gave me a box of 1,000 that they didn't need - plenty for many years of labelling!

Once we've planted and labeled, we take Fall leaves (we have lots of those around here!) and cover the rows, as I've read that this helps fertilize the garden bed since the leaves decompose over Winter. Come Spring, we remove whatever hasn't decomposed, and the soil underneath has always looked nice and rich and ready for planting!

That's all there is to it - a couple minutes spent outside, and you get a nice harvest of yummy garlic come the following summer. Growing garlic is definitely lots of fun - not too much work - and given that none of our other below-ground crops (carrots, beets, radishes etc.) worked out too well this year, I'm guessing if garlic will grow at our house, it will grow at your house too!!


MangoChild said...

Garlic was my surprise planting this past spring - totally on a whim as an experiment - and it gave me the best result! So easy. And I loved eating the garlic greens, the scapes, and finally the garlic bulbs themselves.
Fall garlic, I did a bit, but have been away for so long that I don't have much hope for success.
Looks like you have a good amount :-) I spent forever trying to figure out which end was the 'pointy' one - all the garlic was basically round. Maybe a function of the variety? What kind did you get?

Colleen said...

When our garlic produced scapes this year, we were so excited - we were hardly patient enough to wait for them to be ready to eat!!

Somewhere I read that however the garlic comes out of the bulb is how it should go in the ground - the end that's pointing up in the bulb should point up when it gets planted. I liked that - thought it was a handy tip!

I'm not sure what exactly we've planted out there - aside from it all being "hardnecked" varieties, and coming from three different farms. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how it does - and hope you'll have good garlic luck too!!