Okay! First new blog about gardening! (My attempts and experiences of gardening on my own that is.)
This week I will be planting my garlic. I hope to have about 200 heads of garlic next summer. I am planting the music variety, which have big fat cloves, so there are only on average 4 cloves per bulb/head. So in order to plant 200 I bought myself about 50 heads of garlic, which I will break apart 2-3 days before I plan on planting them (so Wed or Thurs). One clove planted = one head/bulb harvested. Also, the music variety is quite potent but not as potent as some other varieties, such as Korean Purple.
Okay, so yes, we are planting our garlic in the fall! You plant garlic in the fall and then harvest it the following July. It is best to buy garlic from someone in your region because garlic becomes acclimatized to the region. It is also a good idea to keep scape bulbs (scape: flower of the garlic) and/or plant extra garlic to keep for replanting the following year. (I will talk more about this at another point when I become more informed as well).
You can plant garlic in the spring, but planting in the fall gives your garlic a head start and therefore they will be bigger and more flavorful than those you would plant in the spring. You want to plant garlic before the ground freezes over. There can be a few frosts, but you definitely want to get it in the ground a good month before the ground freezes over for good. Hence why, for our area, we want to be planting it at any point between mid-September to early early November.
I will be renting a rototiller to loosen the soil of my whole garden area once in the fall, and once in the spring. (I still want to learn more about tilling vs no-tilling and experiment with things myself). I would have liked to till the land without a machine (usinga broadfork instead) but not only is it more tedious, but a broadfork also costs about 200$ brand new, whereas I can rent the rototiller from Loutec for 4 hrs for 40$. Decision made. (At least for now).
Now, where to plant the garlic? Like almost all vegetables, garlic should be planted in an area where they will receive full sun. We also want to make sure the soil is well-drained (crossing my fingers that it doesn’t rain too much this week). If you are planting a lot of garlic, you should plant it in a bed about 1 meter wide. You’ll have about 4 rows of garlic (the rows spaced 20 cm apart). You want to space the garlic about 15 cm apart in row. And you want to plant them about 5 cm deep (with their root side facing down).
Once planted, we want to place mulch over the garlic to keep it (and the ground around it) from going through freeze and thaw cycles. Most people place down straw, but you can place down any mulch, including dry leaves (which there are a ton of right now). A mulch layer of about 10 cm is enough to protect the garlic and the ground (apparently) but im pretty sure more is better in this case. You will have to remove it in the spring though once any chance of frost has passed.
So, that’s it! Now you know how to plant garlic! Go for it! I am 🙂
I’ll explain how to take care of it in the spring and how to harvest it in July once we get there. For now, just throw your garlic in the ground (store variety will most likely not work) and stay warm over the winter. The garlic can take care of itself.
Much of this information I acquired working at Luxy, and on the Farmers Almanac website (http://www.almanac.com/plant/garlic) which is a great resource! Elliot Coleman and his books and have also taught me a lot. He is like the Godfather of organic gardening and an amazing resource.