garlic planting

we actually got the garlic in a couple of weeks ago right before we went on vacation, but i didn’t want to post until after we were able to put the mulch on it, and it took us a little while to get mulch cause we wanted to purchase it from our friend jeff who is started a new company – detroit farm and garden, we wanted to support this venture.

for whatever reason garlic is often seen as a difficult crop to grow, and yet it’s really pretty easy.  it doesn’t take up that much space, a few heads can be tucked in just about anywhere, my mother into her flower beds, and it’s hugely rewarding, homegrown garlic is worlds away from the stuff you find in the grocery store.

one of the things i like best about planting garlic is that it takes place in the fall, and it’s one less thing to plant come next year.  another aspect of garlic planting is that it takes place when i am at my most tired and vulnerable, and the only thing i can think of is some nice winter day where its too cold to do anything outdoors and i just sit and drink tea and get caught up on reading.  it’s richly symbolic to plant the garlic, knowing that no matter how tired i am that i will put this garlic in the ground now and reap it’s rewards in another nine months, and i’m game for one more year of growing.

the first step is to prep beds, and since the garlic is going to be in the ground for nice months i just assume give them a little extra love.  ma has been a bit obsessed with getting compost and we gave them plenty and then a little alfalfa meal too, we want plenty of size, and we don’t want them to be lacking nitrogen.

next is to start breaking the garlic heads open and separating the cloves.  this is the job for who ever is feeling tired in the crew.  they can just sit on a straw bale and break open garlic cloves.  ma and i did it together, cause that’s how we roll.  be sure to leave the garlic paper on as best you can to protect them.

then lay everything out and start planting.  at this point i feel fine with eyeballing it, but with volunteers i always use strings and measuring sticks.  since we had so much compost and additional fertilizer we figured that we were ok with planting three rows in our 30 inch bed, each clove about five inches apart.  that might be a little tight, but we will know next year.

we made holes, drop them in, snug them down about an inch below the surface, cover them, and tamp them.  make sure you put them so the blunt end is down and the pointy end up.

last is the addition of a good amount of mulch to keep them weed free, and protected from cold weather.  we always use straw, but i think you would be fine some shredded leaves.

then its pretty much just a waiting game until next spring.


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