We have been having some pretty nice weather for Fall. I thought I had better take advantage of that and get my garlic in the ground. Well, the raised bed, anyway.
We have four 4×8 and two 4×4 raised beds. Last year’s garlic bed has been empty since the end of July, but I wanted to put the garlic in a different bed and save this year’s for tomatoes next year.
The near bed will be the home for the best tasting vegetable in the world!
Dwayne finally pulled up the tomatoes last week. With the weather cooling down later this week, I figured I had better get the garlic in the ground now.
I brought out the tools and some of the garlic that we started last fall.
As with any job, in order to be done correctly, you have to have supervision.
That is one of the stray cats in the neighborhood. I must have been doing an okay job by him, since he just sat there. Until Dwayne came home and chased him away, anyway. His brother and mom hang around, too, so we should have plenty of supervision when something needs done in the yard.
This summer we ended up with 84 bulbs of garlic. Not nearly enough to get us through the year, and, of course, I am using some of those to get next year’s crop. So, this year, I am planting as many as I can. Without going back into the basement to raid the remaining bulbs.
I managed to get 14 rows hoed in the bed.
I separated the cloves from the bulb…
The pointy end goes up….
The light brown stuff is some bone meal. That is the only amendment I made to the soil. I’ll add some blood meal and maybe a little more bone meal in the spring, but that will be about it.
In the end, there were 148 cloves planted.
Before I covered up the rows, I need to mark them. We plant stiff-necked garlic, so I use the stem as row markers.
This also tells me how many heads I used. There were 21 “necks”. Yep. Dwayne’s not happy that I have depleted our winter supply of garlic. Honey, it is a sacrifice for the good of the next crop! And, anyway, I’m the one who should be upset…. I at least triple every recipe’s amount of garlic.
I mark both sides of the rows, so for the ends that didn’t get a garlic “neck”, I used some bamboo sticks. Then the rows get covered up.
The next step is to cover everything with straw.
This will help retain moisture and provide a layer of protection from the coming winter. But first, I need an assistant…. and he comes abounding….
This is Rugger, the neighbor’s puppy. He is about 13 weeks old, a lab/water spaniel mix, chews on everything and only stops moving when he is crashed out after a hard day’s playing. The neighbors allow us to let him off of his lead and then we play. This time, we had some work to do. Lesson learned…. letting the puppy help just slows you down. He got into the bed, chewed on the straw, ran around and chewed on everything else. And then one of our other neighbors got to talking to us over the fence. And her 3rd grade daughter came over to play with Rugger. The two of them wore each other out. It was pretty fun to watch. But I didn’t get much done for awhile. It was pretty nice taking a break to have some friendly conversation. After the “kids” were all worn out, we took Rugger back to his yard and I got back to work. The little gnats were all over the place, busy biting everyone. Dwayne wimped out and went inside. I finished putting the straw on the bed.
I gave the bed a good soaking. And before the winds pick up later this week, I will put our garlic drying rack on top of the straw to weigh it down.
Garlic is usually planted in the fall in late September to early October. It should be covered for winter with straw, mulch or anything to protect it from the winter winds. Take the cover off in Spring, cut off the flowers (or scapes) before they bloom and when the plants die back, dig everything up. Clean the heads off, dry them for two weeks and then hang them in a cool dry place to enjoy through the winter. The scapes can be used as a seasoning when cooking or just add them to a salad.
Now the hard part. Waiting for that garlicky goodness to be ready for harvest!